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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

Residents pile on City Council over snow fines

Photo by Jim Cavanaugh

Director of Administrative Services April McGrath told City Council Tuesday night the contractor did not follow correct procedure in all snow removal abatement cases. Several residents who spoke said they did not get notices.
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City addresses community concerns

By Tom Brandt
Mar. 4, 2009    ·    11:52 a.m.


Ypsilanti City Council passed every resolution it addressed without objection at its meeting Tuesday night.

The assembled city residents, however, while also unanimous in their views, unleashed a storm of their own objections over the way officials have enforced the city’s controversial new snow removal ordinance.

Councilmembers swiftly passed resolutions amending the city’s animal code to conform to Michigan’s Right to Farm Act, relinquishing the city’s Roosevelt Boulevard easement, approving new Adopt-A-Park applications and recognizing Eyesight Productions as a nonprofit organization.

But they encountered a blizzard of complaints from frosty homeowners over Ypsilanti’s new sidewalk snow abatement amendment, which they had approved last year.

“I received a bill for a hundred bucks, and I just want to figure out what’s happening,” said Ypsilanti resident Steve Hylkema before councilmembers had returned from their initial 90 minute closed session.

“Same with me,” said Hylkema’s neighbor Dan Meikle. “I received two invoices in the mail for $83 – no notice, no warnings. The bills said ‘snowfall over one inch to be cleared within 24 hours after the snow event,’ but does that mean during the event, after the event, or what? The ordinance doesn’t say.”

The public comment segment of City Council’s meeting was moved forward to address the audience’s complaints. In fact, as Mayor Paul Schreiber later noted, every resident who spoke during this period took exception to some element of the city’s new snow removal policy.

Before weathering the avalanche of citizen complaints that lay before them, councilmembers first received a lengthy review of exactly how city employees have implemented the new policy from April McGrath, Ypsilanti’s director of administrative services.

“A list was assembled of 441 properties on Jan. 26, an ordinance officer placed notices on doors Jan. 29 and the contractor then took pictures,” McGrath said. “We focused on dangerous properties with snow and ice and the ordinance officer constantly spot-checked to ensure proper abatement occurred.”

These three issues of abatement notices, photographs, and actual snow removal were the chief concerns of area residents. McGrath said the snow removal contractor, A.M. Services, “have done abatement for over seven years, and they have always done a great job.”

The comments of North Grove Street homeowner Lynne Fremont were typical of the skeptical public responses to McGrath’s upbeat portrayal of the city enforcement efforts.

“I got a bill for not removing snow but I never got a notice, and I never saw anybody come to shovel. I know there was no salt because I walk my dogs regularly, and they are sensitive to salt,” Fremont said.

Although confused and upset by the city’s actions, Fremont still managed to remain positive about the snow abatement measure.

”I do like the ordinance because I have fallen on the ice – so I think its great – but a notice would be helpful to ease my frustration,” Fremont said.

Olive Street resident Julie Brown echoed the sentiments of many citizens in attendance when she asked, “Why haven’t we seen our council people?

“You’re supposed to represent us, but nobody has ever come around. Did you talk to any of these people? If you’re our representatives, then come by and have coffee, and we we’ll work this out,” Brown said.

David Sellars of North River Street also struck a conciliatory tone by first commending the City Council for taking on such a difficult issue.

“I’m sure we will be able to work through this, but I shoveled and I didn’t get a notice. My suggestion is that if we could have gotten emails or cell phone calls or something, I would have been out there shoveling at midnight,” Sellars said.

Sellars concluded his comments by mentioning to councilmembers that if there were city positions available paying $93 dollars for five minutes of shoveling, “I’d like to have that job.”

Although he believes the city’s new snow removal amendment is good public policy, Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, said he had expected a larger crowd of residents lined up to complain about the city’s new snow removal ordinance.

“There were some good suggestions tonight about how we can move forward on this issue,” Murdock said after the meeting. “But the simple fact that there is snow on the ground should be enough notice for you to shovel your sidewalk.”

Related Stories:

Community reeling from snow removal invoices



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