City Council Meeting Video and Updates for February 3, 2020

On Monday night City Council discussed public art, road repairs, public notices, the pink bag news papers, the Downtown Design Guidelines, and as always, Marijuana.

Berkley was selected for the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Inside|Out program. At least one piece of art will be installed in a public space from May through November.

The DIA is also working with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), spearheaded by Articipate to bring a permanent public art fixture to the city. They are currently conducting an online survey to find the type of art people may be interested in (e.g. mural or sculpture).

As I reported earlier, council has approved the prep work for starting to use infrastructure millage funds for road repairs. Over the next two years they plan to replace sections of road in poor condition. You might notice that some roads that are in overall bad shape are not proposed for this first round. That is because they will likely get more comprehensive repairs at a future date.

Council has finished its approval of all the necessary components to start accepting marijuana license applications. The application period will likely open in mid-March. I think it is possible we could see the first dispensary by the end of the year, but it very well could take longer.

Council also passed the first reading of an ordinance that would enforce stricter requirements on how we notify the public about public hearings. One of these changes requires that signs be placed on subject properties for a week before the meeting so those passing by will know where to look for more information. This goes along with a recent change where we publish notices in the more widely distributed Woodward Talk. These are things I have advocated for since before running for office. I've also requested that we provide plain English descriptions on the website to help people understand what is going on.

Work was also done to help curtail the "pink bag" newspapers being thrown haphazardly on people's properties. The city cannot stop them because they are protected on First Amendment grounds, but recent court rulings allow us to restrict where they can be delivered. Our new law will require that they be placed near the front door or in a newspaper holder.

Finally, council discussed the proposed Design Guidelines for the DDA district. Council likes the guidelines and wants to allow the Planning Commission to use them for guidance, but wants to do away with the proposed Design Review Board, instead having staff prepare a report for the Commission. We expect this will not increase costs or time for applicants seeking approval for their site plans in the city.

The full meeting packet is available online.