Ann Arbor City Council discussed several measures involving housing and zoning at its meeting Tuesday night.
Council members contemplated a resolution at length to add to the city’s affordable housing grant, the pool of money that allocates proceeds from sales of city-owned properties toward cheaper homes for Ann Arbor residents.
The group eventually decided to postpone a decision, pending a review by the budgetary committee.
Councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2) began the discussion by reminding the council that it has not contributed to the housing trust since 2009, adding that some contributors, such as developers, would now provide housing units.
Some councilmembers raised concerns that the housing market is too expensive and that development would be too costly. Councilmember Chris Taylor (D–Ward 3) noted that the council has outstanding debt from downtown developments.
Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) said he felt the program was mismanaged in the past, noting that funding had previously been improperly allocated.
“I would support this if all the money went to Ann Arbor Housing Commission,” Kunselman said.
Most council members stated their support for continuing the trust, but requested it be sent to the budget committee before making a decision.
Before the councilmembers’ remarks, several residents appealed to the council for affordable housing reform.
Ann Arbor resident Ingrid Ault, a member of the Housing and Human Services Advisory Board, was the first to speak, urging the council to approve additional funds for the affordable housing trust.
“It’s a community goal to provide services that meet the human needs of the impoverished and disenfranchised residents,” Ault said. “ … Last month the Ann Arbor Housing Commission received 18,000 applications for only 1,400 housing vouchers. Clearly the need exceeds the capacity.”
Council members discuss creation of new committee
The council also discussed a resolution to create a committee to study proceeds from sales of downtown city properties located in the Downtown Development Authority’s district boundaries. Councilmember Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5) sponsored the resolution.
During the discussion, there was some confusion as to which properties within the DDA would be available for sale.
Anglin said a citizen-appointed group would address these questions in an unbiased manner.
The resolution was approved unanimously.
Council passes funding for AAFD emergency vehicle
The council also approved funding for a fire suppression and emergency vehicles to be added to the Ann Arbor Fire Department fleet. The addition is part of the department’s recent restructuring, which includes closure of selected fire stations and a decreased number of fire trucks used in emergency responses.
Councilmember Lumm brought forth the proposal and it passed unanimously. The cost of the vehicle was $264,597.
Lumm said she cast support for the grant, citing a study by the International City/County Management Association — an organization dedicated to aiding the management of local governments — conducted earlier this year that endorsed the vehicles.
“I think by having a smaller vehicle for medical response rather than using the larger, more costly piece of equipment obviously makes sense,” Lumm said.