City Council Update, November 20, 2023

City Council Update, November 20, 2023

Council discussed a lot of new items including the city's strategic plan and new pet store licensing ordinances, we welcomed a new Council member, plus much more.

Topics include:

Council Updates

Outgoing Councilmember Mike Dooley was recognized for his service.

Mayor Bridget Dean and Councilmembers Ross Gavin, Greg Patterson, and Clarence Black were sworn in.

Council appointed Ross Gavin as Mayor Pro Tem (second in line to the Mayor) and adopted their rules of order.

Council adopted the three-year Strategic Plan they and city staff have been working on. This sets the goals and priorities for the city and a framework for tracking progress and evaluating success. Some of the next steps include community engagement to hear what your priorities are.

Pet Store Licensing

The first reading requiring licensing for retail pet sales passed unanimously. It sets standards, reporting requirements, and a licensing process. This will allow consumers to make a fully informed decision when purchasing a pet. Further, if a license is granted but the conditions of the license are violated, after full due process is given, the license could be revoked.

Public Works and Community Development

Council approved annual senior snow removal services. Even if the program is full, you are encouraged to call in and share your contact info so you can be notified in future years. For more details contact Dan McMinn at [email protected] or 248-658-3470.

A contract was approved for combined sewer system planning assistance. The goal is to find affordable goals for making our stormwater system more resilient.

Part of this will also involve researching and evaluating backwater valve programs that are in place in other cities for potential adoption by Berkley.

As a reminder, our restricted covers are meant to hold water in the street instead of your basement and then allow it to slowly flow into the drains. If you see water coming up over the curbs you can contact DPW (248-658-3490) or, after hours, the Public Safety non-emergency line (248-658-3380). Otherwise, let the water drain on its own. 

We also entered into a contract to modernize our engineering standards. This includes requirements for stormwater management

The first reading of an ordinance was passed that expands construction fencing requirements to commercial as well as residential construction projects.

Another ordinance passed the first reading that would allow "parklets." These are small outdoor eating areas that would be allowed in some circumstances in the parking spaces along 12 Mile or Coolidge. Parklets became popular during the pandemic.

Public Works will not collect live Christmas trees after the holidays. Residents can bring their trees to SOCRRA recycling center in Troy to dispose of them free of charge. We are also looking to see if SOCRRA will allow a closer drop-off point.

Public Safety

DPW employees, Brian LaPine, John Beach, and Brad Daugherty, were recognized for helping save two lives after warning the residents their home was on fire.

Public Safety received their Accreditation Certificate from the Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. This is a great achievement showing the professionalism of our force. Only about 10% of police agencies in the state are accredited. This will be an ongoing process to continue to improve and maintain the accreditation. 

Zoning Ordinance Re-write

The Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Committee has been drafting minimum parking standards and rules for signs. The Steering Committee packets with draft regulations are available at the Rebuilding Berkley's Zoning Ordinance section of our website. The Steering Committee is guiding draft text, which will be reviewed and recommended by the Planning Commission and then adopted by City Council.

On Thursday, November 30, the City Council and Planning Commission will have a joint meeting to provide input and direction to the rewrite.

Public input is welcome at all meetings. Public workshops on key topics will be held in January at Berkley High School from 6-8 PM:

  • January 8: Zoning Districts: Change or Stay the Same
  • January 17: Duplexes and Multiple Family: Where, What, How
  • January 24: Parking: The Berkley Shuffle
  • January 31: Development Review: How a Plan Becomes a Building

Boards and Commissions

Stephen Bard and Jeremy Coan were re-appointed to the Beautification Advisory Committee.

Catherine Pasanen was appointed as an alternate for the Zoning Board of Appeals. There is still one vacancy left. I'm the liaison to this board so feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Council also passed the first reading of an ordinance that updates the operations of the library board.

At the Tree Board's last meeting, they heard a presentation on Spotted Lantern Fly. It is a new pest entering the area. It will not kill your trees but is a real nuisance. If you see one, take a photo, immediately kill it, then report it to the state. You can learn more or make a report at

Michigan Municipal League

Most of Council was able to attend the Michigan Municipal League Conference in October. It is always good to learn in sessions and from peers. My two biggest takeaways were some ways to be a more effective communicator and ideas for attracting and retaining talent.

I also serve on the League's Elected Officials Academy. We provide learning opportunities for elected officials statewide so they can become more effective leaders. My peers re-elected me to vice president on that board.

Upcoming Infrastructure Projects

Huntington Woods is adding a traffic light at 11 Mile and Mortenson. They will also add a crosswalk.

Consumers Energy is planning a main and service line replacement project on Bacon Ave from 12 Mile to Catalpa. The project has the potential to impact traffic near Angell Elementary, and communication will be shared with the school district to mitigate this impact.

Other Items

The search for a finance director continues, with several first-round interviews having already been completed.

Remember, you can always subscribe to get these updates emailed directly to you.

The meeting packet.