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City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Chickens get another look

Photo by Christine Laughren

Several spoke on behalf of urban farming at Tuesday night's City Council meeting as it approved on first reading to amend the Animal Control section of the City Code to incorporate the Right to Farm Act after it was sued by Peter Thomason.
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City Council discusses animal ordinance after civil suit

By Dan DuChene
Feb. 20, 2009    ·    8:49 a.m.


City Council unanimously passed language to strengthen its animal ordinance for court, after coming away victorious from an urban farming lawsuit.

The decision to approve the language on the first reading was reached unanimously by City Council to bring the ordinance in line with the Michigan Right to Farm Act.

“This ordinance change doesn’t change anything going on,” Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, said at the meeting.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr told City Council the language allows farms determined to have protection under the act to continue farming without any interference from the city. He said only farms that adhere to “generally accepted agricultural and management practices” and existed prior to changes in land usage within a 1 mile radius come under protection from the act.

“We’re not under any knowledge that someone currently complies,” Barr said.

He said the original intent of the legislation was to protect farms in rural areas with expanding residential development from nuisance complaints from people not happy living next to a farm.

The language was presented after Judge Kirk Tabbey submitted an opinion in the city’s favor after Ypsilanti resident and urban farmer Peter Thomason brought suit against the city, arguing the local animal ordinance was in violation of the state act.

Barr said the change is just to make the ordinance stronger in court if there is ever an appeal.

After the meeting, Thomason said he does intend to file an appeal. He said he has already taken steps to do so.

Thomason, who owns 40 chickens and four goats, said local government can not supersede an existing state law. He said only the agriculture regulation should come from the state.

“This is a cutting edge issue,” Thomason said, in agreement with a statement Barr had made during the meeting.

Barr said this issue, incorporated with this state act, is a new question posed to the courts.

“There is no case law on point today,” Barr said at the meeting.

After a presentation made by Amanda Edmunds, executive director of local non-profit Growing Hope (see video), City Council discussed the merits of residents keeping chickens, bees and goats in the city.

“I grew up with goats right in my back yard right there on Harriet Street,” said Councilmember Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1.

Richardson, along with Councilmember Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2, said the issue could be treated much like the city’s parking ordinance, where people could get permission from residents on their block to keep the animals.

Mayor Paul Schreiber said the ordinance could also be changed to allow chickens under the same auspices as dogs, with city licensing and permits.

“I think we need to do it in a way that does not put an extra burden on staff,” Schreiber said. “That’s the issue, making sure it’s not a nuisance.”

After the discussion, Schreiber directed city staff to look into allowing the keeping of chickens and bees in the city.



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