Chelsea City Council Summary 01-04-21

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By Doug Marrin

A summary of the Chelsea City Council meeting on January 4, 2021.

Consent Agenda

In its consent agenda, the City Council approved

  • Meeting minutes for its December 14, 2020, regular meeting.
  • Payment for invoices totaling $140,712.12 for December 11-30, 2020.
  • Payments made weekly in the amount of $708.317.99 for expenses authorized under the City’s Bill Approval policy for the same period. A detailed listing of these invoices is available on the City website under the City Council packet link.
  • Bi-weekly payroll of $116,852.30 for payroll dated December 18, 2020, and $130,486.61 for payroll dated December 30, 2020.

Public Hearing

The Council held a public hearing for comment on renewing the expired PUD plan for Heritage Point. Afterward, the Council voted to renew the PUD. More detail can be found in the article, Chelsea Housing Development Rises from the Grave.

Appointment to the Planning Commission

The Council considered an application to fill an open seat on the City’s Planning Commission.

“We have received an application from Mr. Kyle Brayton, who has background in serving on a planning commission, is also an engineer, and brings his skills working with utilities that I think will be useful for our planning commission,” said Mayor Johnson introducing Brayton to the Council. “I do want to note that his wife does serve on our Parks and Recreation Commission. I would also note that Mr. Brayton has volunteered over the past several years, this year excluded because of COVID, for our parks cleanup day and has shown prior commitment and dedication to the City.”

Brayton and his family have lived in Chelsea for 11 years. With his children older, he feels he can spend more time serving the community.

“I think it's very important to understand what our community wants to look like, how we want to exist as a city, and what we want to be in the next five to ten years,” Brayton told the Council. “We've got a great Master Plan on file, but we do need to continuously update those things every five years or so. It's an ideal time, I think, to get involved in Chelsea's Planning Commission. We're about to have a new zoning ordinance passed, and then we can look at what we want to do for the next decade.”

The Council unanimously approved Brayton’s appointment to the Planning Commission. His term expires on June 30, 2021.

Appointment to Downtown Development Authority

The Council unanimously voted Robert Mida in to fill an open seat on the DDA Board. Mida manages The Ugly Dog Distillery and has experience serving on city boards and commissions. He graduated from Chelsea High School and Ferris State University. Mida’s reason for wanting to serve on the Board is “giving back to the community I was born and raised in.”

DDA Board Reduction

The Council passed a motion amending the DDA’s bylaws to require a Board of seven members. This move reduces the number from nine members. The reason for the reduction is a long-standing challenge of filling nine seats. The new DDA Board will mirror the City Council in that it consists of the Mayor and six community members.

Letter to Washtenaw Co Commissioners Regarding Courthouse

Washtenaw County is contemplating closing and/or relocating the 14A-3 District Court from its current place in downtown Chelsea to a location out of the City. The County is looking at security concerns and outdated facilities as the main reasons to consider a move. The most likely outcome would be combining it with the 14A-4 courthouse in Saline, built in 2009.

The Council voted to have City Manager John Hanifan write a letter to the Board of Commissioners expressing the Council’s desire to keep the Court within the City. The City points to the State’s Judicare Act of 1961, which reads in part, “In districts of the third class, the court shall sit at each city having a population of 3,250 or more and within each township having a population of 12,000 or more and at other places as the judges of the district determine.” According to State statute, the County is required to have a court in Chelsea.

Zoning Ordinance Work Session

The Council voted to have a work session on January 25, 2021, at 7:00 pm to finalize with the Planning Commission draft amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.

Council Reports

Councilmember Albertson summarized the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings she had attended.

Councilmember Wiseley reported how much he enjoyed raising his children in Chelsea.

Councilmember Iannelli reported no meetings over the holidays but that the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority and Human Rights Commission would be meeting soon. He also expressed appreciation for the public works department and the work they’ve done through the inclement weather to keep the roads and sidewalks clear and safe—a sentiment other council members echoed.

Councilmember Kwas reported on a meeting with Chelsea High School regarding a future cybersecurity class.

Councilmember Pacheco reported on an upcoming CAPDART meeting that would take a closer look at a recently released Opportunity Index Report.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Johnson reported a recent phone conversation with Chelsea Schools Superintendent Dr. Julie Helber about the ongoing educational complications from COVID and the new construction project at the high school. Chelsea POP, the painted crosswalks, have been well received, and the community would like to see them expanded to all the school zones.

With national traffic fatalities on the rise, the Mayor implored everyone to drive safely—simple things such as stopping at the white line before proceeding and keeping within the speed limit. She also reminded folks it is their responsibility to keep their sidewalks cleared and safe through the winter.

The full audio of the City Council meeting and meeting packet can be found on the City’s website.

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