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City Council to discuss Uber and Lyft

By Emma Kerr, Daily Staff Reporter
Published August 16, 2014

City Council meets this week to approve multiple land-use and zoning-related resolutions, consider a deer management plan, and discuss the first readings of taxicab ordinances that will directly affect the future of Uber and Lyft, car pick-up services using non-professional individuals as drivers, in Ann Arbor.

First Look: Taxicab Ordinances

Modifications to taxicab ordinances for the City of Ann Arbor are being considered to include non-limousine services such as Uber and Lyft. Addressing city council members’ concerns, if approved, these new resolutions would require all Uber and Lyft drivers to be registered with the city, a requirement that currently applies to taxicab drivers but not to other drivers for hire. The updated ordinances would also revise the limitations set on a driver’s rate.

These changes follow cease-and-desist orders sent to both companies from city council, in response to which Uber has initiated an online petition for Ann Arbor residents to sign in support of their continued services. As of Sunday afternoon, the petition had 2,614 signatures.

The Taxicab Board, which includes Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D-Ward 3) and Rackham student Michael Benson, met in July on the issue.

Resolution: Appropriation of $20,000 to develop a deer management plan

Following a report on the issue submitted by City Administrator Steve Powers, city council will review suggested deer management options, estimated to cost $20,000. The report, created in partnership with the University, among other parties, states that the number of deer-related vehicle collisions reported to the City of Ann Arbor Police has increased this year. Among driving safety concerns, the report also addresses health concerns and damage to personal property as a result of the increasing deer population.

The city has the option of considering both lethal and non-lethal methods of deer management. The harvesting of 45-50 deer from the city of Ann Arbor is estimated to cost $25,000-$27,000, a process which would involve trapping and euthanizing, as city ordinances do not allow hunting or firearms within the city. Non-lethal options include trapping and relocating, fertility control, sterilization, or repellants, among others.

Resolutions: Land use

For final approval, council will vote on rezoning land for the Ann Arbor Housing Commission project, which will demolish the existing homes on N. Maple within the site to build a 42-unit apartment complex. Other zoning approvals include the State Street Villa project and initial consideration for the renovation of 128 W. Kingsley. Additionally, council will vote to approve the city’s lease of the Fuller parking lots to the University. If approved, the University will pay the city $78,665 annually.


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