Ann Arbor City Council | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

Ann Arbor City Council

downtown ann arbor
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor voters could see a millage on their ballot this November to increase affordable housing. The ballot language, proposed by councilmembers Chip Smith and Elizabeth Nelson, will be reviewed at the city council meeting tonight. 

 

Downtown Ann Arbor
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Starting Monday, Michigan’s restaurants and bars can reopen to dine-in customers at half capacity. Business districts have welcomed the news, but as customers return, there are also concerns about spreading COVID-19.

Traverse City recently voted to close two blocks downtown to vehicle traffic to allow for more outdoor seating. And last week, the Ann Arbor City Council passed its own plan for some downtown streets.

Ann Arbor at sunset.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The city of Ann Arbor plans to become carbon neutral over the next 10 years. Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously early Tuesday morning to adopt guidelines for community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030.

The A2 Zero Carbon Neutrality plan would significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and offset the remaining emissions so that the community's overall carbon output is zero.

ann arbor city council
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Updated: Friday, February 28, 2020 2:29 p.m.

Ann Arbor Police Chief Michael Cox was put on administrative leave three weeks ago due to allegations that he created a hostile work environment and employees feared retaliation, and a separate accusation of insubordination.

Ann Arbor city hall.
Heritage Media / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The city of Ann Arbor is considering a carbon tax on internal operations that rely on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. This comes three months after the city declared a climate emergency and set a goal of carbon neutrality for the city by 2030.

These trees will have to be removed in order to clean up the bank and bed of the Huron River in Ann Arbor.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor City Council has approved $3.8 million worth of upgrades to improve the city’s water system. $3.4 million of that money will go to UV-treatment upgrades in order to combat a parasite called cryptosporidium.

voting booths
user eyspahn / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Members of Ann Arbor’s city council failed to override a mayoral veto on an initiative to put a proposal to end nonpartisan voting on the November 2019 ballot. The council needed eight votes to override the veto, and the council voted 7-4 for the override.

Ann Arbor city hall.
Heritage Media / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The Ann Arbor City Council decided Monday night between two competing ordinances that would create a  police oversight commission. 

The City Council chose a version proposed by Ann Arbor City Mayor Christopher Taylor and rejected a different version that was written by a citizen-led task force.

This left many at Monday night's City Council meeting vocally dismayed.

Vote Here sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Below are the election results for the races we're watching here at Michigan Radio.

Please go to your county's election page for more detailed results in your area.

Ann Arbor skyline
Gsgeorge / goodfreephotos / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The primary election Tuesday could make a big difference in Ann Arbor's skyline — as well as its future.

The election pits two kinds of Democrats against each other: those who want to slow down the city's growth, especially when it comes to new high-rise development, and those who say continued growth is necessary.

Ann Arbor water bills might increase. Here's why.

Oct 4, 2016
water faucet
Laura Nawrocik / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ann Arbor residents might see an increase in their water bills over the next few years to fund a project that will help continue disinfecting and filtering water. 

In conjunction with Ann Arbor's capital improvement plan, the city will recommend replacing pre-treatment basins, which help disinfect, filter and soften drinking water.

Drinking on pedal trolleys could end in Ann Arbor

May 4, 2016
Courtesy of High Five Pedal Tours

Drinking and trolleying could end in Ann Arbor – at least doing it all at once. 

Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday on the first reading of an ordinance that would regulate pedal trolleys in the city. Among other things, the ordinance would ban drinking while riding on the street. 

This is only the first round for the ordinance – the second reading is scheduled for June 2. 

Governor Snyder approved a state law for drinking on pedal trolleys last summer, but the law allows local governments to make their own regulations. 

kayaker on river
City of Ann Arbor

An official with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will address water contamination in Ann Arbor at a special meeting of the City Council Monday night at 7 p.m.

A plume of 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic chemical, is slowly moving through the city's groundwater.

Ann Arbor City Council member Sabra Briere hopes the state will finally announce how much of the chemical is considered safe.

She says the state has postponed making that rule for eight years. 

Ackerman for Council

Ann Arbor’s getting a new city council member. He’s 21 and a student at the University of Michigan.

Zachary Ackerman says no one was more surprised than he was this week, when he beat incumbent city council member Stephen Kunselman in the Democratic primary – by just 40 votes.

User: PunkToad / flickr

Sabra Briere (D-Ward 1), Zachary Ackerman (D-Ward 2), John Eaton (D-Ward 4) and Chip Smith (D-Ward 5) won their primary election races. Currently, the four Democratic candidates face no opposition in the November general election. 

Facebook

Zoning laws.

Those two words alone might not grab your interest.

But watch residents pour into city commission and council chambers when there is some proposed change to the zoning laws in their neighborhood.

Maybe it's deciding whether to allow big-footprint houses and extra-large garages. Maybe it's deciding whether to permit residential and commercial buildings to coexist or how many stories a building may be.

But what one person thinks is a great idea, such as allowing more shops or restaurants into an area, might be a horrible idea to that homeowner who wants to come home to a peaceful street.

Grand Rapids recently implemented a new zoning policy that allows more mixed uses. Director of the Grand Rapids Planning Department, Suzanne Schultz, and University of Michigan Urban Planning Professor Dr. Jonathan Levine joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Just what do you want your city, your community, to look like? Crowded bustling streets? Quiet, residential homes only? Zoning laws determine these things, and although those two words don't sound altogether exciting, zoning laws are creating debate all over the state. We found out more on today's show.

Then, what was that noise outside today? Did you hear it? Sounded like thunder? Well, in this crazy Michigan weather, we're getting thundersnow. We found out about this winter novelty.

And, we spoke with the man who designed and painted the masks on the U.S. Olympic hockey teams. 

Also, we checked in with Daniel Howes on the UAW bid to unionize workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

And, head to Ford Field on Saturday if you want to be part of a world record. ComePlayDetroit is organizing the world's largest indoor yoga session at the home of the Detroit Lions.

First on the show, the state of Michigan is ending its exclusive contract with the Education Achievement Authority to oversee the worst-performing schools in the state.

Michigan School Superintendent Mike Flangan sent a letter to the EAA saying the state will pull out of its exclusivity agreement with the Authority one year from now.

Martin Ackley is with the Michigan Department of Education. He says the state still intends to use the EAA to help turn around struggling schools.

“Now, this is in no way a statement or an indication of a lack of confidence in the EAA or its academic strategies. This is just an action that needed to be taken in order to provide flexibility and to provide options other than the EAA in which to place these most-struggling schools.”

So, what are the other options the state might use to help failing schools? And what's ahead for the controversial EAA?

Jake Neher, who covers Lansing for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.

nick see / flickr

It may soon become more difficult to smoke outdoors in Ann Arbor.

A proposed city ordinance would prohibit smoking at bus stops and parks designated by the city administrator.

It would also prohibit smoking near the entrances, windows and ventilation systems of city-owned buildings, which is already banned by a Washtenaw County ordinance.

The ordinance, introduced by council member Chuck Warpehoski, D-5th Ward, is on the agenda for Monday night's city council meeting.

Natural Area Preservation staff

You read that right.

A twenty pound carp that was pulled out of a pond in Ann Arbor's West park last November is making a run for city council.

The carp was initially removed from the pond because it was destroying the ecosystem.

Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation workers relocated it to the Huron River, where it is now running a write-in campaign for Ann Arbor City Council.

The carp has not yet responded to our interview requests, but it has engaged with other media outlets and even some current Ann Arbor City Council members on Twitter. (I suspect the carp has hired a social media director -- tweeting with fins seems difficult.)

The carp says the campaign is going well, and even has yard signs posted around town.

Adam Fagen / Flickr

The Ann Arbor City Council Thursday night approved a plan for a bike share program. It's a collaboration with the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and the Clean Energy Coalition.