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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

New definition for ‘city chicken’

File photo - This Ypsilanti chicken's photo was taken on resident Peter Thomason's farm last summer. Now, city residents can apply to own up to four hens in the city. Photo by Christine Laughren

File photo - This Ypsilanti chicken's photo was taken on resident Peter Thomason's farm last summer. Now, city residents can apply to own up to four hens in the city.

Permit ordinance approved on second reading

By Dan DuChene
Jul. 22, 2009    ·    4:39 a.m.

Urban farming hopefuls will now have the chance to own up to four chickens in the city of Ypsilanti.

City Council unanimously passed an ordinance establishing a permit process to keep the animals Tuesday night. Mayor Pro-tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, and Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2 were absent from the meeting.

Both Swanson and Bodary had opposed the measure on its first reading earlier this month. Councilmember Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1, had as well, but she reversed her decision Tuesday.

The ordinance, which was amended, allows city residents to apply for a permit to keep four hens in a coop in their back yard. The principal use of the permit must be for one or two-family units. It does not allow for the keeping of roosters, and does not permit slaughtering on property.

Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, proposed the amendment that was unanimously passed. The amendment stipulates that the chickens must be kept in a structure at least 20 feet from a neighboring dwelling, unless the neighbor provides written consent.

Additionally, the amendment removed the $10 fee, which will likely be put on the city’s existing fee structure, allowing City Council the ability to change the fee without having to post another ordinance.

Finally, Tuesday night’s amendment sets permits to expire in two years, with the option for renewal. However, the ordinance sunsets in one year, requiring City Council the revisit the issue in 2010. Previously, the ordinance would have sunset after a year, but existing permits would have been grandfathered in indefinitely.

Five audience members, including an Ann Arbor resident, spoke in favor of the ordinance. Four audience members, including former mayor Cheryl Farmer, spoke out against it.

Several Council members said they had been overwhelmed by residents’ input after the City Council meeting earlier this month.

“I’ve gotten more calls on hens than on any other issue we’ve faced,” Richardson said.

Councilmember Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2, said he was able to categorize the arguments he had received against adopting the ordinance into four areas. He said those categories include the potential impact on ordinance enforcement, diseases, attracting predators and what he called the “Peter Thomason syndrome.”

Thomason, an Ypsilanti resident, has been involved in a lawsuit with the city after he began keeping dozens of chickens and rabbits, as well as several goats, on his property. At the meeting, he said it was a separate issue, as he is attempting to operate an actual farm inside the city.

Nickels said chickens would likely have little impact on ordinance enforcement, which was Farmer’s main argument, as ordinance enforcers have to maintain the city’s current ban on chickens now. He said if people were interesting in breaking city ordinances as Thomason has, they could have already done so, at the expense of fees and other penalties.

From his research, Nickels said the diseases chickens carry are similar to those that are carried by other birds that live in the city. He said the attraction of predators would be curtailed the requirement of a chicken coop.

At the end of the meeting, Ypsilanti resident Kenneth Harrison expressed his “disappointment” with City Council for their adoption of ordinance, especially his representation on City Council. He said Richardson had “flip-flopped” on the issue.

Harrison hinted at a recall effort for those City Council members who voted to support the ordinance.

Related story:
Urban chickens in Ypsilanti

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