EMU issues discussed by city council

Eastern Michigan University came up several times in Tuesday evening’s Ypsilanti City Council meeting with respect to petroleum contamination at the site of the College of Business, the value of an intern to the Historic District Commission and the impact of the proposed new city income tax on EMU employees.

Contamination at the College of Business site was contained as of 1999, according to Frank Bernard, a lawyer from Shell Oil, which had owned a gas station there.

But Bernard said Shell’s technical experts feel there is potential danger should someone create a well in the area bounded by West Michigan Avenue, North Hamilton, Washington and Pearl Streets.

Hence, the city is in the process of passing an ordinance forbidding new water wells of any kind. At Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved the ordinance on first reading, five to one with one abstention.

The City of Ypsilanti’s Senior Planner, Teresa Gillotti, provided the council with a report on the year’s work of the Ypsilanti Historic District Commission.

She cited the importance of Eastern Michigan University student Connie Locker, who serves as an intern for the HDC, providing 15 to 20 hours a week to “enable the Commission to fulfill its responsibilities.” Gillotti also reported on the work of the Planning Department and Planning Commission.

The Commission considered 33 applications, including 11 site plans, seven special use permits and six text amendments.

Significant reviews include the former Ford/Visteon/ACH property at 128 Spring Street, a Planned Unit Development for the former Parkview, now Hamilton Crossing Project, the Corner Brewery expansions and the expansion of the Gilbert Residence on S. Huron Street.

The proposed income tax ordinance came up on a technicality: correcting a typographical error in reference to the underlying Michigan statute. The proposed ordinance would impose a 1 percent tax on Ypsilanti residents and a .5 percent tax on non-residents. It would, according to Council minutes for the Feb. 21 meeting, affect EMU employees.

The council approved, on first reading, changes to the FEMA flood insurance rate map, after hearing a report from Marcus J. McNamara of Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment, Inc. that described the changes as minor. Properties are neither added to nor taken out of the flood plain or floodway, according to McNamara’s report.

Those who drive on the battered pavement on Grove Road from I-94 to the city limits just south of Emerick Street should appreciate the council approved the proposal for design engineering services with Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment, Inc. The cost is not to exceed $51,200. This design work will enable the City, according to Mayor Schreiber, to proceed with the work when sufficient funds become available.

According to the report from Public Services Director Stan Kirton, the cost for the work, which would be done during the 2014 construction year, will be $440,000 for paving, less $352,000 of federal funds. The cost to the city will be $88,000 plus $131,000 for design, for a total cost of $219,000.

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