During their meeting Monday evening, the Ann Arbor City Council approved measures regarding new housing developments and improvements to Ann Arbor streets and sidewalks.
The Council approved a resolution to rezone 31.77 acres of land on Pontiac Trail from multiple-family dwellings to single-family and multiple-family dwellings for the North Sky Development. This new housing development is one of three proposed large residential housing units in the area.
Though it passed, many Council members, such as Councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2), expressed concern over the potential impact on the area from a large influx of new residents
“If this were the only residential housing development proposed in northeast Ann Arbor I would not have any of the reservations and concerns I have,” Lumm said. “We are talking about almost 1,000 new residential units in this area — let me pause when I say that — 1,000 units, that’s a huge amount of new traffic volume.”
Transportation was also a central theme during the evening’s Council meeting. City Council approved a resolution directing the City Administrator to prepare a proposal to include a street and sidewalk millage on the upcoming August municipal election ballot.
Councilmember Chip Smith (D–Ward 5), a sponsor of the resolution, noted that the current millage for street and sidewalk expires in November, emphasizing the importance of continuing to fund road repairs.
“Also, I think it is worth noting how important the sidewalks millage component is — we put in over 22,000 slabs of sidewalk since this was first passed by voters,” Smith said. “I think this is a really elemental tool to making our streets and sidewalks better — keeping them up to the standard we expect.”
Councilmember Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) said she she thought it was crucial that the resolution appear on the August primary ballot as opposed to the November ballot. Though there will be a lot of people voting in the November election, Briere said the new implementation of straight-party voting in that election will mean a lengthy ballot that may overwhelm voters.
“August however is a primary,” Briere said. “It’s focused on local issues; there will be most likely other initiatives on the ballot that are also focus on local initiatives.”
Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5) expressed some concerns over current restrictions on millage funds.
“I support the resolution as written because it will allow us if we so choose to have flexibility in terms of how the millage funds would be used,” Warpehoski said. “Right now it is difficult to use millage funds to address things like our ability to put in handicapable accessible ramps, improve crosswalks or fill sidewalk gaps — key features that all of our community use — and my hope is that when the millage is passed we will have some of that additional flexibility.”