A2 ‘New West Side Association’ In the News

See the coverage on ArborUpdate of the group (which I posted about last week). The Daily story includes a mention of this website, and ArborUpdate.com (a community website I founded):

After
the proposed couch ban that the Old Forth Ward Association brought to
the Ann Arbor city council last summer, many students began discussions
on blogs and other websites to counter the idea that house fires are
related to the couches many students and renters keep on their porches.
Because homeowners in the ward have been organized, they have been able
to promote their agenda in the community. But since students and
renters have in the past been highly disorganized, they have normally
only associated with one another through school programs, not through
neighborhood associations — giving them limited capacity to voice their
concerns for the neighborhood itself. …

The New West Side is
also working toward legalization of accessory dwelling units, sometimes
called “granny flats.? The association said these add-ons could be
rented out, creating affordable means of living and a source of extra
revenue for the homeowner. …

Students and renters are able to
communicate using blogs created and utilized by many of the
participants of the West Side, including arborupdate.com and goodspeedupdate.com,
as a tool to get informed about local issues and get their opinions
heard by other students, renters and leaders of the community.

“These
tools in no way replace seeing our neighbors on a regular basis. They
serve to augment and improve these relationships,? Winling said.

West
Side’s first call to action is its endorsement of a counter-proposal to
a bill introduced by Rep. Chris Ward (R-Brighton) to the Michigan House
that could potentially limit the ability of cities to have house
inspections. Ward’s bill would change the Ann Arbor’s current
inspection policy, which mandates inspections every two years, to a
minimum of one inspection every five years and a maximum of one every
three years.

“This merely loosens protection on the poor,? said
Dan Faichney, LSA senior, and West Side member. Representatives from
West Side said if Ward’s proposal passed, it could decrease the
frequency of follow-up inspections to make sure houses are up to code,
causing houses to remain dilapidated for much longer than they would
under current limitations.

> See more on the couch ban and how the internet is changing Ann Arbor politics here

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Author: Rob Goodspeed