Ypsilanti City Council

10:27 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Rates City Manager's Job Performance

Ypsilanti City Council last night approved City Manager Ralph Lange's first performance evaluation.   Council member Brian Robb chaired the committee that oversaw the review.

7:34 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Ypsilanti Hikes Fines for Illegal Dumping

Fines for illegal dumping are going way up in Ypsilanti, in the hopes that it'll help curb a problem that's been costing the Downtown Development Authority money to clean up after.   Mayor Paul Schreiber says one spot in particular has become a haven for illegal dumping. He says people have been leaving things like sofas at the Dumpsters behind businesses along Michigan Avenue. Fines that used to start at $50 for illegal dumping will now start at $2,500 and could go as high as $5,000.

2:03 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Postpones Action on Special Events Policy

It'll be at least a couple more weeks before Ypsilanti City Council approves a new Special Events Policy. Council put the issue off until its next meeting in order to give organizers of events that might be affected by new or increased charges a chance to offer their thoughts.   Amanda Edmonds is Executive Director of Growing Hope, which runs the downtown Ypsilanti Farmer's Market.  Events like the Farmer's Market that run over a period of months could face additional street closure fees than have been assessed in the past, but Edmonds says it doesn't look like the Farmer's Market would pay substantially more than it does now. The city says it wants to do a better job of capturing fees that have "fallen through the cracks" in the past. Council member Brian Robb calls the policy a "no win" for Ypsilanti.

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10:51 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Sale of Public Housing to Private Owner

Credit Images_of_Money / Foter / CC BY

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night approved the second and final reading of legislation to sell the city's remaining public housing stock to a private owner.  

The Ypsilanti Housing Commission will be a partner with the new owner.  

Zachary Fosler is the Housing Commission's Executive Director. He says having the public housing facilities under private ownership will make it easier for the properties to get the renovations and maintenance they need, since federal money for public housing improvements is no longer available.  

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1:14 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Letter of Intent for Water Street Housing Development

Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council has approved a letter of intent to sell a parcel of land in the Water Street Re-Development Area to a company that wants to build a 76-unit affordable housing project there. 

Michael Rodriguez is Development Director for Herman and Kittle Properties.  He says the  3.13 acre parcel on the southern edge of the re-development area is attractive for several reasons, including proximity to the Huron River and Michigan Avenue.

The housing development wasn't welcomed by everyone. 

Downtown businessman Dave Heikkinen expressed concerns that the city needs more market-rate housing rather than housing that caters to low-income residents. 

The city would sell the land for $157,000, with the developer performing about $750,000 worth of infrastructure improvements.  The plan is to have a purchase agreement back before city council in March.

Click here to hear a report from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

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12:40 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Infrastructure Plan for Water Street

Ypsilanti City Council has approved a plan for key infrastructure needs such as streets, water, and sewer lines in the Water Street area. 

Council voted five to nothing Tuesday night to accept the infrastructure plan. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber says the city has now completed a couple of important steps to attract redevelopment to Water Street.  Schreiber says originally the plan was to leave Water Street open for any proposal but he says the city has seen this approach left developers concerned about what could be built next to their project.   He says being able to better define the parcels of land in Water Street should lead to more interest from developers.

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12:35 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Thompson Block Planned Unit Development Agreement

Maintenance efforts on the Thompson Block in July 2013
Courtesy Photo

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ypsilanti City Council approving a planned unit development agreement for the Thompson Block.

Ypsilanti City Council has rezoned the long vacant Thompson Block property in Depot Town and approved the planned unit development agreement for the site. 

Council voted five to nothing on the issue Tuesday night. 

 SEE ALSO: Corner Brewery now Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says the current plan for the Thompson Block is a bigger and better project than the earlier proposal so it needed to be a planned unit development.  Gillotti adds that the changes include adding residential parking behind the building and streetscape improvements along River Street for cafe seating.

Gillotti explained that the actual building permits will likely be similar however to the previous designs, adding the fire has eliminated a bay window from the front of the building and the entrance for the residential portion of the building has moved from the north side to the east side with the addition of the parking lot.

Gillotti maintains developers have two years to complete a PUD, however the Thompson Block faces a deadline in about 15 months for a finished building under the city's dangerous building ordinance.

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3:05 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Former Elbow Room Building Gets New Life

6 S Washington St, home of the Former Elbow Room has sat dormant since 2010

The former site of Ypsilanti's Elbow Room bar is being put back to use, with a Mexican restaurant moving into the South Washington Street building. 

City Planner Teressa Gillotti explains that the building has been empty since the bar closed in 2011, adding that having a strong entertainment district would play a critical role in redeveloping Ypsilanti.

The restaurant's expected to open next spring following renovations.

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5:22 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Ypsilanti Police Chief Finalists Identified

After a flurry of concerned emails from city council members, Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange has released the names of the two finalists to be Ypsilanti's next Chief of Police. 

Ypsilanti Deputy Chief Tony Digiusti is a finalist.  He's served as interim Chief since Amy Walker's retirement in October

Also a finalist is former East Lansing Police Captain Kim P. Johnson, whose resume indicates he was with that department until June of last year but lists no more recent work experience. 

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Local News
4:54 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Ypsi Council Members want Chief Finalist Names Released

Some Ypsilanti City Council members aren't happy with City Manager Ralph Lange's decision not to identify the two finalists to be the city's next Chief of Police. 

The finalists will appear at a public forum one week from tonight, but Lange has opted not to identify them.  

WEMU news has obtained emails between several council members and the City Manager's office. 

Council members express concerns over the names not being released, as well as confusion over plans to have three finalists to bring before the public rather than two. 

Local News
12:04 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Ypsi Heritage Festival asks City to Cap Fees

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board Chair David Nickerson addresses City Council
Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival made a plea to City Council Tuesday night to put a cap on the special event fees the city charges it. 

David Nickerson is Chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board of Trustees.  He told council those fees represent 18 percent of festival expenses.

Nickerson requested that the city cap fees charged the festival at between $18,000 and $20,000.  Nickerson estimates next year's fees at between $25,000 and $28,000 otherwise. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he'd like to see the city make a contribution to the festival as a sponsor rather than just cap fees.

Council member Daniel Vogt said the city can't afford to subisidise the Heritage Festival unless the city can break even, perhaps by helping the festival find other areas in which to make cuts.

City staff will study the issue and come back to council with a recommendation at a later date.

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Local News
12:42 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Ypsi City Council approves First Reading of Snow Removal Changes

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange (l) and Mayor Paul Schreiber
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti property owners would have 24 hours instead of 48 to clear snow from their sidewalks under an ordinance approved on first reading Tuesday night by city council. 

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says with Ypsilanti trying to be a walkable city, snow on sidewalks can be a problem.

Gillotti says she checked with a number of surrounding communities, and found that most give property owners 12 to 24 hours to clear snow. 

The ordinance approved by city council also calls for giving violators one warning per season, rather than one warning each time there’s an inch or more of snow, as the law is currently written.

The ordinance is expected back for a second reading an final approval at council's next meeting.

Click here to hear WEMU's Bob Eccles' report.

3:24 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Growing Hope Executive Director Announces Ypsilanti Mayoral Bid

Growing Hope's Amanda Edmonds

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber hasn't said whether he'll run for re-election in 2014, but if he does, he'll face a challenge from Amanda Edmonds. 

The Growing Hope Executive Director is also vice-chair of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority. She's vice-chair of the Washtenaw Food Policy Council, and was appointed by the Governor to a similar organization at the state level.

The 36 year-old is running as a Democrat.

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Local News
7:38 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Plans for County Recreation Facility on Water Street Moving Forward

Work on a proposed Washtenaw County recreation facility on Ypsilanti's Water Street property is rolling along. WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story. 

Hear Bob's report here.

Local News
11:58 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Ypsi Planning Commission approves Master Plan Revision

The Ypsilanti Planning Commission last night approved the city’s revised master plan.  WEMU’s Bob Eccles has the story.

Bob Eccles Reports

Government, Transportation
8:12 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Ypsilanti Township Moves Closer To Joining the AAATA

Credit TheRide / Ann Arbor Transportation Authority

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority is a step closer to adding another member community.  As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the AAATA Board last night voted unanimously to approve Ypsilanti Township's request to join the authority.

AAATA accepts Ypsilanti Township's request to join "The Ride."

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10:53 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Ypsilanti's Mayor Pro Tem Marks Civil Rights March Anniversary

Ypsilanti Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson.
Credit Bob Eccles

As marchers descend on Washington, D.C. this weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march, Ypsilanti Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson is among them.

WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

Click here to listen to Bob's report.

Ypsi Council
3:21 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Ypsi City Council Approves Street Light Special Assessment District Roll

Ypsilanti City Council has voted unanimously to have the city Assessor create a tax roll for the city-wide Streetlight Special Assessment District, and to file the roll for public examination. 

The cost of replacing streetlights with more efficient LEDs will be covered by the $58 every parcel of city land would pay each year for two years.  That's a big change from the original proposal, which had residents paying for the replacement and operation of the lights for the next 18-years. 

Ypsi Council
11:23 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Ypsi City Council Adopts Resolution Supporting Repeal of 'Stand Your Ground' Law

Opponents of "Stand Your Ground" address Ypsilanti City Council.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night adopted a resolution seeking the repeal of Michigan's "Stand Your Ground" law.  WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

Click here to listen to Bob's report.

12:59 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Ypsi City Council Approves Medical Marijuana Restrictions

Credit “Caveman Chuck” Coker / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Ypsilanti City Council has voted to limit the number of medical marijuana licenses it accepts or renews in a given year. The second and final reading of an ordinance to that effect was approved Tuesday night.

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12:54 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Ypsi Property Owners Protest Proposed Streetlight Fees

Residents voiced their objections to the Ypsilanti's plan to charge land owners a fee to replace the some of the city's street lights with new LED models at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Under the proposal, each parcel of land was to be charged a $98 fee for the first year, with the fee steadily declining over the following years to around $70 by 2031.  AnnArbor.com says council amended the proposal so that residents would not have to pay to power the streetlights during that period, and instead would pay about $58 a year for just two years.

The most commonly-voiced objections to the plan included its cost, the perceived value attained from the switch, and having to pay an additional fee for something that has previously been payed for by property taxes.

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange says the city has worked hard to make the project as affordable as possible. 

The cost over converting older, less efficient streetlights to LED's over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years is estimated at over $555,000.   Converting the lights is expected to save the city over $100,000 a year.

Public discussion about the street lights will continue at the at the next council meeting, scheduled for August 20.

7:27 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Ypsilanti Moves Forward With Plan to Limit Medical Marijuana Facilities

Credit “Caveman Chuck” Coker / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

In the City of Ypsilanti, there are currently six medical marijuana dispensaries and one grow-operation. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, City Council is moving forward with a plan to officially limit the number of these kinds of facilities.

Ypsilanti City Council takes the next step in putting a cap on medical marijuana facilities in town.

7:26 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Ypsilanti City Council To Consider Limiting Medical Marijuana Facilities

Credit “Caveman Chuck” Coker / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

It's an issue that has been before Ypsilanti City Council, and tonight, it appears on the agenda once again. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, the issue of potentially limiting medical marijuana facilities in Ypsilanti is back on the council table.

Preview of the 7/16/13 Ypsilanti City Council meeting.

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7:27 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Ypsilanti Moves Closer To Creation of Special Assessment for Street Lights

Ypsilanti City Council last night took another step toward creation of a special assessment district to help pay for street light replacement. WEMU's Bob Eccles was there.

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7:18 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Ypsi Council Considers Replacing Streetlights Through Special Assesment District, Parking for AATA

Credit Bob Eccles

Preview of Ypsilanti City Council meeting for 7/2/13

  The City of Ypsilanti is moving towards establishing a city-wide special assessment district to help pay for modernizing its older streetlights.

As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, city council tonight is expected to take the next step in the process.

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