Council hears task force plans for Ford Field
Posted on 06/10/2021
City Hall City Council recap of June 7, 2021 meeting

The Ford Field Task Force presented an update
to City Council that focused on priorities and explained that the group was subdivided for greater efficiencies in getting work done. High-priority projects include replacing Fort Griswold play structure with a newer, safer play area; creating a new entrance from the west side of the park from downtown; adding a restroom and a pavilion. The cost of these items may be covered or defrayed by grants, which the task force is seeking. Otherwise, costs might need to be covered through fundraising since the city hasn’t allocated significant funding to park improvements for the next two years aside from matching funds to replace Fort Griswold. See the PowerPoint presentation on the city website.

Recreational marihuana business establishments – Council approved the second reading, agreeing to eliminate the sunset clause yet still “opt out” of allowing marihuana establishments within the city limits of Northville. In response to concerns that the City Council should periodically review this issue, City Manager Pat Sullivan proposed that one of the city’s annual goals will be to monitor the law and its revenues and impacts.

A proposed amendment to the tree preservation ordinance would not require mitigation if a tree that needed to be removed was causing damage to a structure (house, garage, office, etc.). Mitigation would still apply if a tree was causing damage to underground utilities, driveways, sidewalks or other landscape elements. Mitigation requires that a new tree be planted or the citizen pay into the city tree fund, proportionate to the size of the tree being removed. The first reading cleared council and the second hearing and possible adoption is scheduled for the June 21 meeting.

A special meeting was called for Tuesday, June 8, at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Council will go into closed session at that meeting.

Public comments

State Rep. Matt Koleszar provided an update to council on the status of budget talks in Lansing. He is seeking to obtain $35 million in funding to rehabilitate the Hawthorn Center, a state-run facility that provides inpatient psychiatric services to children and adolescents. The building dates to 1956 and has not been significantly updated in more than 50 years.

Bob Sochacki, 223 Linden, said he was concerned about the selection process of those who apply to the Planning Commission. He listened to all applicant interviews recently and thought there might be age discrimination because he heard interviewers reference “youth” as a criteria. He told council that he has contacted the Michigan Department of Civil Rights for clarification on whether age discrimination also applies to volunteer positions and he was told that it does. The opening came with the retirement of Ann Smith, and was filled by William Salliotte (see details below).

Council comments:

Mayor Brian Turnbull reminded citizens that the State of Michigan lifted outdoor restrictions (to reduce the spread of COVID-19) on June 1 and will lift all restrictions on July 1. Mayor Pro Tem Marilyn Price asked whether council would return to in-person meetings at that time. The mayor said the current plan is to hold online meetings for council and boards and commissions through August, based on the Local State of Emergency law. Several council members talked about the possibility of holding hybrid meetings (both in person and online) or streaming the meetings with potential call-ins from viewers. This topic may be on a future agenda.

The mayor said the 4th of July parade will be held this year on a smaller scale with a shorter parade route. He expressed pleasure with this year’s new prom proceedings in downtown Northville (complete with a red carpet in front of the theater and special prom-night dinners at local restaurants) and would like it to become an annual event, along with the graduation car parade that began in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Task force updates: Council Member Barbara Moroski-Browne said the Rouge Restoration Task Force applied for an EGLE grant to study the feasibility of daylighting a portion of the river on the Northville Downs property but did not get the grant. Council Member Andrew Krenz said the Farmers’ Market Task Force toured 17 potential sites in the city for a future market and narrowed it down to three. He said a report will be presented to City Council, and the task force will disband soon after since its mission is complete. There was no update from the Sustainability Team.

Two members appointed to volunteer board positions

from the consent agenda

William Salliotte was appointed to the Planning Commission for a three-year term through June 30, 2024. He earned a Master of Science degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University and a BA in Architecture with a minor in Architecture History from Pennsylvania State University. His professional background includes 15-years’ experience in development, design, and implementation of complex commercial real estate projects. As director of Development (Real Estate) for the Taubman Centers, he understands the developer’s perspective. Yet, as a resident he recognizes the importance of proper land use for new development in a small town.

Krista Siefert was appointed to the Beautification Commission for a two-year term that expires June 30, 2023. A school psychologist and realtor, she previously volunteered at a community garden plot in Perrysburg, Ohio, and at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor. Through those efforts and by working with master gardeners, she learned about organic gardening, companion planting, invasive plants, permaculture, native plants, and pruning methods. At home, she maintains a pollinator/native garden and a dahlia garden. She holds a B.A. in Psychology/Journalism from Otterbein College and an MEd and EdS from the School of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati.

View the meeting video here.