Here’s a quick recap of Monday’s Saline City Council meeting:
Council Meets Faurecia Officials
An official from Faurecia North America spoke to City Council Monday night. Raymond Boufford, Director of Special Projects for Faurecia NA, introduced members of council to the company, which recently acquired the Ford/Visteon business at the Automotive Components Holdings facility. Boufford said he knew it was difficult for council to hear that Saline facility will be downsized from 2,100 to 1,100 workers as Faurecia and a partner shift work to a newly formed company called Detroit Manufacturing Systems. But, he said, Faurecia is committed to building a world class manufacturing plant in Saline.
He invited members of city council to tour a Faurecia facility in Fraser. He also said Faurecia would be a good citizen in the community.
Council Approves Special Land Use for Assisted Living Development
Council voted 6-0 with one abstention to approve a request for special land use that helps pave the way for an assisted living senior housing development on the southwest corner of Maple Road and Woodland Drive. Reenders Inc., and Saline Area Schools made the application. The school district is selling the land to the developer, which plans 112 units on 6.89 acres of land. Council also gave preliminary site plan review for the project. The approval of the special land use came under the condition that the project was built in conjunction with design guidelines specified in the city’s master plan.
The project now goes back to planning commission for final site plan review. The applicant will also need variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Council Votes to Pay for Fire Service From General Fund
Despite a budget crunch, the city will continue to pay for its share of the Saline Area Fire Department using its general fund. The city has the ability to assess a levy that would raise $322,000 to pay for fire service. Council is considering using that levy starting next year.
Council Send Form-Based Code Back to Planning Commission
Saline City Council voted to send the form-based code ordinance back to planning commission for further review. City council members David Rhoads and Dean Girbach disagreed with some of the designations made in the ordinance, which sees to allow more mixed-use development downtown.
City Council Rejects Ordinance that Loosens Restrictions on Home-Based Businesses
City council voted 5-2 against a new ordinance that loosened the restrictions on home-based businesses. Rhoads said he thought the ordinance could damage the quality of life in residential neighborhoods. Council members Brian Marl and Gretchen Driskell voted in favor of the ordinance. The ordinance would have allowed more home-based business activity with a special use permit. Driskell said she was in favor of the ordinance to strengthen the economy across all tiers and said the special use requirements would have prevented undesirable home-base businesses.
SDMA Brings Sports Cars to Saline June 23
The Saline Downtown Merchants Association received council’s permission to bring a popular event back to Saline. Sports Cars to Saline returns to Ann Arbor Street June 23 from 3-8 p.m. Ann Arbor Street will be closed north and south of Michigan Avenue. The SDMA will partner with the Huron Valley Corvette Club. The show is open to owners of two-seat sports cars. Entrants will be asked for a $15 fee. The event is free to the public.
City Council Sets Budget Hearing for June 4
At a meeting prior to Monday night’s regular meeting, city council continue to hash out the numbers in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Council member Jim Roth has advocated raising property taxes instead of bonding to raise money to cover a budget shortfall. But Roth doesn’t appear to have much support on the issue. The city is also looking at asking employers to pay 3-5 percent of their retirement benefits, reducing the DPW workforce from 14 to 10 through attrition, eliminating the deputy police chief’s position and putting off purchases for a year.
Yarn Bomb Arts Event Approved
Saline Area Girl Scout McKenzie Sullivan received permission to “Yarn Bomb” downtown Saline with a fiber art beautification project that will be installed June 11. Sullivan’s project takes place on International Yarn Bombing Day. She and other volunteers will use yarn to decorate benches, bike racks, light poles, fence posts and more. The work will be up until June 25. Sullivan, a Girl Scout, is aiming for her Silver Award. 212 Arts Center is going to assist Sullivan with the project. Remnants of the project will be stitched together for art that will be on display at the library.
Students Make Pitch for Recycling Bins
Saline High School students Colin Cederna and Eric Williams appeared before council asking for support for a plan to place a recycle bin next to every garbage receptacle in the city. Cederna, inspired by an environmental class he took at the high school, said he got the idea while in Boulder last summer. Williams said the project would make Saline more attractive, improve Saline’s image, help the environment and help support a growing $236 billion industry. They were asked to bring their idea to the city’s Environmental Committee meeting at 7 p.m. May 16.
Council Learns About Fracking
DEQ official Ray Vugrinovich made a 30-minute presentation on fracking and oil and gas drilling. He told council recent advances in seismic imaging has made easier for drilling companies to determine if the conditions for oil appear in the rock. Vugrinovich said that Michigan does a good job protecting Michigan’s water supply while supporting the industry.
Here’s other news from the meeting:
• The meeting ended at 11:02 p.m. Prior to the regular meeting, which began at 7:30 p.m., council had a budget work session which began at 6 p.m.
• Council member Linda TerHaar was absent.
• Council member David Rhoads reported that the city’s Environmental Committee gave away 300 trees during the electronics recycling event and Saturday’s Farmers Market.
• Council member Dean Girbach reported that the city’s historic commission has instructed the city building inspector to determine whether or not a homeowner in the district replaced windows without permission.
• Council member Jim Roth reported that the person who replaced windows at the Rentschler Farm would be giving a free demonstration on restoring windows at the Farm on May 30.