Category Archive : Northeast Ann Arbor Community Coalition

neA2cc – the North East Ann Arbor Community Coalition

Please refer to the Northeast Ann Arbor Community Coalition website and social media sites for the most up to date information on the No Bus Yard initiative.

The active link may be found at this URL: https://nea2ccdotorg.wordpress.com/

3/5/16 NEW MESSAGE from neA2cc Leadership team

What You Can Do!
Thank you for joining us at last week’s community meeting.  A new group, the Northeast Ann Arbor Community Coalition, has been formed to lead protest efforts.  The group includes all 5 neighborhoods being impacted by UM’s plans.
A discussion forum has been set up at
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/nea2cc.
The new website with Letters to the Regents, Updates, and more can be found at http://www.nea2cc.org.

 

Please keep up the pressure and write letters to the UM Regents and President Schlissel if you haven’t already done so.  We know that the Regents are re-evaluating their votes and construction plans based on your letters.  Consider having your children write letters, as well.
EVERY LETTER COUNTS!  

neA2cc

We have task forces organizing on several fronts.  Please contact team leaders if you would like to volunteer.

Linh Song – Political Outreach
Susie Bowers – Site Planning
Daniel Beard – Environmental Impact & Sustainability
Sara Zocher – Social Justice
Mark Flanner – Health Impact
Hide Sano – General Counsel

 

Background on athletic campus Marquee and Solar Panels

ATHLETIC CAMPUS MARQUEE

As background, the marquee along Stadium was first proposed and discussed in July of 2012 by the Regents.

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/u/umregproc/acw7513.2012.001/00000024?page=root;size=100;view=image

The announcement of the marquee was subsequently issued by the Ann Arbor news.

http://www.annarbor.com/news/u-m-football-2013-expect-a-28-million-electronic-marquee-outside-michigan-stadium/

When asked about details: “Associate Athletic Director Dave Ablauf declined to comment or offer additional information on the marquee, saying he couldn’t discuss the project unless it was approved by regents.”

The full bid was approved in May of 2013 and subsequently installed.

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/u/umregproc/acw7513.2014.001/00000397?page=root;size=100;view=image

By October, residents noted that it was very distracting to drivers but it was already installed.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2013/10/ann_arbor_officials_want_to_sh_1.html

SOLAR PANELS

The approval and installation of solar panels along Plymouth Road was even less transparent and came as a surprise to many local residents.

http://www.annarbor.com/news/northeast-ann-arbor-residents-frustrated-with-university-of-michigan-over-solar-panels-along-plymout/

Jim Kosteva, University of Michigan Director of Community Relations, said the project was considered an infrastructure improvement, not new construction, and therefore wasn’t announced to the nearby community, outside of media reports.

“What I will concede is that a specific location [of the panels] were not as clear as some would have preferred,” he said.

BUS YARD

What are we to expect out of the proposed bus yard?  Concerned citizens have already written down their disappointment with the process and many questions in numerous Letters to Regents thus far.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BxXFVC_weLK7QVdCWVVJeEZtRlk&usp=drive_web

Details have been scant and the community was not involved until the first public forum for residents to raise the many questions and concerns they had to University administrators.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/02/northeast_ann_arbor_residents.html

Out of this confusion and frustration, the North East Ann Arbor Community Coalition has formed. Ann Arbor may be at a tipping point that could actually spur on an improved relationship for city and university relations by putting forth the expectation of community engagement PRIOR to any major projects. You are invited to join in the dialogue.

3/3/16 neA2cc Petition effort underway along with ongoing Letters to Regents

University of Michigan Planner’s Solar Panels on Plymouth Road and the billboard sign in front of the Big House were formal announcements to the Ann Arbor community AFTER the bids had been approved with no community input or comment. Now they want to install an industrial bus yard in proximity to a residential neighborhood. (For further background on the first two issues, you may refer to this additional link that includes previous media coverage.)

After a brief presentation to the Regents with no information regarding the location’s proximity to residential areas, University officials finally provided a public forum. They had not anticipated the tense mood and huge community response they were to encounter by the overcapacity room and still no published traffic study or sustainability report.

Citizens are asked to:

The new Northeast Ann Arbor Community Coalition is now formed. See the websites for more information and ongoing organizational efforts.

www.neA2cc.org and Facebook at www.facebook.com/neA2cc.

Based on the multiple letters to the Regents already, it is apparent residents want to be heard BEFORE the University does something that will have an impact on our community and neighborhoods. The tipping point may be now. This not just a nuisance along Stadium or Plymouth. For many who have expressed their concern, this plan could threaten the very lifestyle and environment we enjoy as neighborhood communities together as Wolverines and Ann Arborites.

3/1/16 – neA2cc Informational and Social Media sites up and running!

Thanks to the new leadership team, the neA2cc networks are fully operational!

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/nea2cc/
WEBSITE: www.nea2cc.org

Pay attention to the immediate tasks at hand including:

  1. WRITE A LETTER TO THE REGENTS. Feel free to browse these EXAMPLES. CC A COPY TO letters@nea2cc.org.
  2. SIGN THE PETITION.
  3. STAY TUNED FOR ANY INVOLVEMENT NEEDED PRIOR TO THE MARCH 17TH REGENTS MEETING VIA ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE ABOVE WEBSITES.

2/28/16 – Northeast Ann Arbor Community Coalition is formed to engage University leaders

Over 60 members of the surrounding community joined together tonight in Green Wood Church to form a new coalition of stakeholders from various residential communities that would be affected by UM’s proposal to move its transportation center and maintenance operations to a site that directly abuts several neighborhoods. Members in attendance included residents from the Green Road corridor of Green Brier, Baxter Court, Glacier Highlands, Waldenwood, and Vintage Valley. Local political representation included State representative Adam Zemke and Ward representatives Jane Lumm and Kirk Westphal. The coalition will be led by a number of interested leaders from the various groups as well as subject matter experts in air quality, noise, light and traffic studies, site planning and visual impact, environmental and sustainability analyses, and social justice issues.

IMG_20160228_205350046

The resounding conclusion from the discussion was that Regents may not have been fully aware of the aforementioned concerns prior to their approvals based on the material they were originally given. Therefore, they probably did not know about the proximity of the planned industrial park to surrounding neighborhoods. As a result, the coalition will continue informational efforts by performing the following tasks:

  • Utilize community networking and encourage neighbors and other stakeholders to write letters to the Regents.
  • Sign the petition that is circulating to raise awareness of the coalition and its cause.
  • Assign and designate individuals that will engage with the Regents at their upcoming meeting on March 17th.
  • Designate a leadership team that will coordinate further efforts and outreach to the community at large.

Traffic

Excellent community dialogue and discussion ensued during this meeting including brainstorms on different topics via sticky note comments for the many issues of concern. To the left are the questions and thoughts that came up just regarding traffic.

Further details regarding any future meetings will be communicated via established e-mail lists and announcements in social media. The GHNA website will also continue to highlight this effort through ongoing posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/26/16 – Responses from President Schlissel to Linh Song, Councilman Westphal…and many others!

Many people have received letters in response to our inquiries thus far including Linh Song, GHNA President and Councilman Westphal:

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BxXFVC_weLK7YTBNSmZBdjU4Z0U&usp=sharing

Send any responses to glacierhighlands@gmail.com so we can add them to the archives.

If you have not done so, be sure to continue sharing your concerns to President Schlissel and the Regents per these links and instructions.

http://glacierhighlands.org/wp/?p=220

SAVE THE DATE – Greenwood Church (FUMC) on Green Road – Sunday, February 28, 2016, 7:00 p.m.

We are looking at a meeting of interested stakeholders from the various affected neighborhoods to meet this Sunday at the Greenwood Church (of the FUMC) on 1001 Green Road. We recognize the short notice nature of this effort but also have received a lot of feedback on willingness to provide additional feedback in a neighborhood-based forum and keep things moving forward.

We have already seen some nice press coverage to raise everyone’s awareness.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/02/northeast_ann_arbor_residents.html

https://www.michigandaily.com/section/news/university-and-locals-meet-discuss-new-transportation-center

We also recently received a response from President Schlissel acknowleding our concerns. Keep the feedback flowing to both the President and the Regents.

Tentative Agenda –  Green Wood Church (FUMC), 1001 Green Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

1. Introductions
2. Review of Public Forum held on 2/25/16
3. Development of Shared Goals among Neighborhood Stakeholders
4. Action Item determination and taskers
     a. Regents
     b. University
     c. Press
     d. Website maintenance
     e. Petition
     f. Others
5. Conclusion
6. Determination of Next Meeting

2/25/16 Great neighborhood turnout for the FIRST EVER public forum on the UM Bus Barn!

Thanks to the great efforts by our ward leaders, Kirk Westphal and Jane Lumm, we finally had the public forum we have been asking for over the past two years! We were able to confirm a lot of the points we already made both yesterday in our letter to the Regents and this morning in our original blog post about the background to this meeting. Here were some of the confirming findings and other surprising comments we heard:

-Jim Kosteva, Director of Community Relations, confirmed the Regents have yet to see a summary of an environmental impact study or a traffic analysis. He noted they do not necessarily see these studies routinely prior to approval of contingent plans but acknowledged some projects do have them.

– Steve Dolan, Executive Director of Parking and Transportation Services, noted the following points:

  • Hours of operation are from 5:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. every day. Volume is less on weekends but still has the same hours.
  • During peak hours, there are 140 vehicles / hour that come in or go out of the area.
  • Buses idle each morning prior to going out on their runs for an operations check by the bus driver.
  • The projected bus depot would not have buses backing into it on a routine basis.
  • Service vehicles would still have back-up signals.
  • There are a total of 1000 vehicles that need to be serviced over the course of a year. Their volume each day is approximately 16-20 Monday through Friday. Many of them are staged in other places across the University campus so they are not all in the proposed location.

– Sue Gott, University Planner, noted they had considered many different sites and felt the Green/Hubbard corner best served the purposes of centralizing the bus activity near North Campus. The green space further to the west toward Huron Parkway would have required a high cost to re-shape the hills to level out the grade for the purposes of mass transit and servicing.

There were a lot of targeted questions regarding concerns about noise, traffic, fumes, and water management but the staff acknowledged that our neighborhood integrity concerns ran deeper. The most cogent comments came from two retired neighborhood members (one city planner and one campus planner). They noted this site plan is not consistent with what should normally be a University of Michigan standard and that it clearly violated the zoning patterns that are commensurate with the rest of the community. (We will leave it up to each of you to express your background and expertise regarding your questions, concerns or comments to Regents. Please Cc glacierhighlands@gmail.com in your e-mail so we can catalogue each of them over time. You may also add comments to this Blog Post as well.)

– Hank Baier, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations, concluded the session by saying “It’s a broader issue” regarding the overall mood in the room. In an informal straw poll, all hands went up when asked who was opposed to the current proposal. Mr. Baier stated his team will take our messages back to their leaders for further review. When asked, it was inconclusive as to where the bidding process currently is.

In the meantime, we drew the conclusion that the Regents need to hear more about our concerns in as many ways as possible. A separate link is available for you to send any e-mails to them: http://glacierhighlands.org/wp/?p=220. As above, please Cc glacierhighlands@gmail.com for our awareness as well.

Our friends and neighbors clearly rallied tonight, demonstrating solidarity in how we do not appreciate the lack of input we had in the process and the short-sighted plan for the University of not recognizing and respecting the special place we have in Ann Arbor.

Special thanks go to our elected leaders including Council members listed above and Andy LaBarre, our County Commissioner, who also attended! We greatly appreciate their support and insight.

2/25/16 – UM Bus Yard background prior to Public Forum

IMG_20160223_165512047

UM’s Back Door is proposed to be at our Neighborhood’s Front Door!

Thursday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in Building 520 of the North Campus Research Complex

Over the course of the past two years, University planners have put forth a proposal to move their current Fleet, Garage and Transit Services to the corner of Hubbard and Green roads. On February 23, 2016, Mr. Jim Kosteva, UM Director of Community Relations, wrote the following: “I would invite any neighbors to visit the Kipke Drive location and assess the noise and emission from the existing operations.” Today, February 25, 2016, is when he had arranged for the first publicly-advertised forum to discuss neighbor questions about potential noise, air quality, hazardous substance discharge, or other impacts on nearby homes (including Glacier Highlands neighborhood and low-income, minority residents) and the local watershed and environment. This invitation was portrayed in an e-mail to City Council members on February 8, 2016 and outlined that neighbors within 500 feet of the facility would be the primary designees for the invitation.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/02/u-m_to_hold_informational_meet_1.html

IMG_20160223_184522813Significant efforts have been made by interested neighbors and local elected officials to highlight this issue to University of Michigan authorities as a problematic plan from the start but this is the first meeting we have been given to gather more information and voice our concerns. We would encourage any/all members of the neighborhood to attend this forum to inform yourselves on the issue.

For videos of the Kipke station, please visit the Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCJqJGpngicWVSHv5Jpb1xg

IMG_20160223_165259898_HDROne of the major drivers cited by the University is not only cost cutting measures and safety concerns for their employees but also that they will gain 185 parking spaces at the Sports Complex near Crisler arena for commuter and event parking. These parking spots are currently being taken up by the University’s significant number of fleet vans and cars.

 

Here is a better schematic of what has been proposed and how it is better portrayed in the context of our neighborhood.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/89fb0xwoqyvxi7w/Bus%20Depot%20Image.pptx?dl=0

See the following summary of Regent’s meeting minutes and approval items provided by one of our neighborhood association members:

Here is a summary of the discussion at the original May 15, 2014 Regents meeting:

Transportation Operations and Maintenance Facility – On a motion by Regent White, seconded by Regent Richner, the regents unanimously approved the Transportation Operations and Maintenance Facility as described and authorized commissioning URS for its design.”

Oh, but they probably had a whole packet of information to consider, right?  Uh, maybe not so much – Materials from May 14, 2014 Regents meeting.  In the materials presented to the Regents, do you notice anything missing (from the picture of the site?  Weird how they cropped it, huh?)
Also, here is the sum of the discussion from the minutes of the Regents from April 15, 2015 meeting:
Transportation Operations and Maintenance Facility Christopher D. Vogelheim, of AECOM (formerly URS) presented the schematic design for the project that will replace the current Transportation Services building to accommodate larger buses and equipment in a more centralized location. After Transportation Services has been relocated, additional parking spaces will be available for commuters and events. On a motion by Regent White, seconded by Regent Bernstein, the regents unanimously approved the schematic design for the Transportation Operations and Maintenance Facility.”
Here are the documented considered by the Regents in April of 2015 before the most recent vote (Materials from April 15, 2015 meeting) – don’t laugh.
 From the University Record:
“The new operations and maintenance facility will accommodate current and future maintenance space needs, including the flexibility to handle larger articulated buses. It also will house heavy-equipment maintenance operations that are currently in a separate building.”
Here is the upside: “Departing the current site will make available nearly 185 spaces on the Ross Athletic Campus for commuters and event parking.”

https://record.umich.edu/articles/regents-approve-design-new-transportation-facility-north-campus

 

As for parking and traffic concerns for the site, Jim Kosteva noted in an e-mail to elected officials on February 9, 2016 that “A traffic analysis was commissioned for the project, I don’t know if the draft report has been finalized, but we should be able to share and discuss the preliminary findings at the February 25th meeting.”

Essentially, the University has already admitted to NOT performing a traffic analysis or environmental impact study prior to putting forth the proposal and bid process to the Regents. As of this writing at 8:30 a.m. on 2/25/16, they have yet to release a sustainability summary either:

http://www.umaec.umich.edu/projects/major-projects/transportation-operations-and-maintenance-facility/sustainability/

The other nearby outdoor facility, M-City, does have a very detailed sustainability plan available.

A letter (hyperlinked) was submitted yesterday to the Regents from the Neighborhood Association voicing concerns that they may have not have received all of the information they needed to know regarding the facts surrounding this proposal prior to their votes.

This situation is fairly ironic in that the University’s own statements and values are to be the “Leaders and Best” including the following quotation from their designated website:

The University’s location in the heart of beautiful Ann Arbor offers unrivaled access to the cultural richness of the University and the community, with exceptional museums, galleries, performance venues, entertainment, sports, and outdoor spaces.

It’s apparent the University wants to highlight the heart of our beautiful city to their students and donors but the periphery of their campus may be utilized for industrial sites, even when it is co-located with neighborhoods where their own professors, staff, physicians, alumni and supporters live.

Again, we would urge all of you to attend the meeting this evening if you are able. Additional information will be forthcoming following this forum.