The dispute between Ann Arbor City Council and student government continued at last Monday’s City Council meeting, where representatives from the Michigan Student Assembly and LSA Student Government spoke out against the passage of a parking resolution in the summer, while most students affected are gone.
The resolution passed at the July 18 meeting — despite the protest from MSA members — and created a residential parking district for the residents of the North Burns Park and Oxbridge neighborhoods.
Under the rules of the new district, which includes the area south of Hill Street between Forest Avenue and Geddes Avenue, each house will be allowed four parking permits that allow them to park anywhere in the district for an entire year. Group housing, such as fraternities, sororities and co-ops, will be permitted eight passes apiece.
LSA-SG President Andrew Yahkind said he was worried by the City Council’s actions.
“I’m concerned because the resolution will hurt students, but I’m more concerned about the way the resolution was passed,” said Yahkind. “The issue itself isn’t the parking.”
An amendment to the resolution was passed at the meeting that allows cars with non-Michigan license plates to use the parking permits as long as the owner could provide some proof of residency, such as utility bills or a copy of the lease.
Stuart Wagner and Melton Lee, both MSA representatives, also spoke at the meeting and said that while they supported the amendment to authorize parking permits for cars with out-of-state license plates, the number of permits allowed at each house should be changed from four to six, and that group housing should be allowed 12 permits instead of eight.
Council member Jean Carlberg (D-2nd Ward) said that zoning restrictions in the neighborhoods only allow four people per unit; therefore six permits for one house would not be necessary. She added that conversations with various fraternities in the neighborhood had shown that eight permits per fraternity was a reasonable figure.
“It would be hard to say each fraternity has this number of people and therefore this number of permits would be appropriate,” Carlberg said. “We tried to arrive at a number that meets the needs of those group facilities in this area.”
Council member Kim Groom (D-1st Ward) motioned to amend the resolution to allow six permits per house and 12 per group housing facility, but the motion died when no one seconded it.
Yahkind was upset that no one besides Groom would consider giving more permits to the houses.
“Our proposal was one of resolve and compromise, and they didn’t even want to listen,” Yahkind said. “They didn’t even discuss it.”
Wagner said that City Council lied about the parking resolution, claiming that they consulted with students and did not receive any complaints. He presented the Council with a Pinocchio doll to show that he believed their arguments in support of the resolution were dishonest. Wagner presented the Council with earplugs at the last meeting to show that he thought they were not listening to students.
“Clearly some arguments were made knowingly which were not accurate,” Wagner said as he addressed the Council. “Contrary to your allegations, there were students living in the neighborhood affected who voiced their concerns.”
Yahkind said that the Council’s choice to pass a resolution in the summer that dramatically affects students was becoming habitual — last summer the a resolution to ban couches on front porches came before City Council, but it was not passed.
“Last year it was couches, this year it’s parking. Next year who knows what it’s going to be,” Yahkind said.