Seven to Four
A council seat changes hands.
From the September, 2017 issue
"With me on council, there's no more supermajority," Anne Bannister says proudly. "Residents may not have known about me beforehand, but they were sure they didn't want eight people voting unanimously together on development projects."
Bannister defeated Ward One councilmember Jason Frenzel in August's Democratic primary. "They framed the election [as a referendum] on development," says Frenzel, "and the charge stuck to me."
Critics of council's current majority also came close to unseating incumbents in Wards Three and Five. Frenzel was the most vulnerable, though, because his ward is a hotbed of development--precincts off Pontiac Tr. and Nixon Rd. went heavily for Bannister.
Mayor Christopher Taylor points to the survival of incumbents Zach Ackerman, Jack Eaton, and Chip Smith as evidence that "people generally think Ann Arbor is going in the right direction." But Eaton, the election's biggest winner, voted No on council's most contentious decision, the sale of the "library lot." Unless Democrat Jared Hoffert beats independent Jane Lumm in November, Taylor's activist coalition will lose the supermajority required to buy or sell property, amend the budget, or rezone property over neighbors' opposition.
While the library lot site plan doesn't require rezoning, the revived "Lower Town" project at Broadway and Maiden Ln. will. Taylor says he wants to think more about the current proposal but notes "the site has been fallow for years, and it ought to be utilized."
Bannister says she also favors redeveloping the site, but is "not pleased with the project as it's been approved by the planning commission. I am not for the rezoning."
[Originally published in September, 2017.]
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