City of Birmingham
Around Town E-Newsletter
February
Around Town
E-Newsletter
Welcome to the Around Town e-Newsletter from the City of Birmingham. We hope you enjoy receiving the latest City news and forward it to friends or family who may be interested in the City of Birmingham!
Around Town| February
Inside City Hall with Birmingham City Manager,
Joe Valentine
Receive the latest updates from Birmingham in this month's edition of Inside City Hall with Birmingham City Manager, Joe Valentine.
Feb. 10
Regularly Scheduled Commission Meeting - 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24
Regularly Scheduled Commission Meeting - 7:30 p.m.
March 9
Regularly Scheduled Commission Meeting - 7:30 p.m.
Updates on Maple Reconstruction
It will be an exciting month for the Maple Road Reconstruction project as bids for the project are expected to be awarded by the City Commission late February or early March. While bids are due February 7 th , the award date is dependent on the quality of bids received and how quickly the necessary paperwork is obtained from our partners on this project.
Video inspections along the entirety of the construction site will be occurring during the month of February. To stay current on all the latest information regarding this project, sign up for the Maple Road Reconstruction General Information group at http://bit.ly/bhamnews .

Participate in Citywide Master Plan Process

Residents of Birmingham have recognized the value of planning since 1929, when Birmingham was still a village. The very first master plan was primarily concerned with land use, but today’s planning includes multi-modal options, green infrastructure and other issues that affect our living spaces in 2020 and beyond. As we engage in comprehensive planning for Birmingham, input from our residents is essential to success.

The Planning Board has scheduled a series of meetings on key aspects of the master plan draft, beginning in February with an overview of the City’s vision. We invite residents to join us for these meetings. If you are unable to attend in person, all Planning Board meetings are broadcast on the BCTV government access channel and posted to the City’s website. You can get full information on the plan and the planning process at www.thebirminghamplan.com . The site includes relevant data, surveys and documents and an email communication option that allows residents to send comments directly to the planning team.  Please make sure your voice is heard.

THE FUTURE CITY – February 12, 2020
The first meeting seeks input around the overall vision for Birmingham, its downtown, commercial centers and neighborhoods. A key concept is the establishment of the “Neighborhood Unit” as a structural guide for the City. Neighborhoods are defined and areas within are designated low-, medium- and high-density based on the neighborhood fabric, which includes an assessment of housing, residential and “collector” streets, and major arteries. 
The City is also recommending the establishment of three mixed-use land categories beyond downtown. The Future City meeting will consider all aspects of living and working in Birmingham from parking to parks.

NEIGHBORHOOD COMPONENTS – MARCH 11, 2020
The Neighborhood Components discussion will focus on establishing standards and processes to maintain the unique character of each Birmingham neighborhood. Proposals range from aligning zoning districts and regulations to incentives to encourage additions to existing homes rather than new builds.

NEIGHBORHOOD PLANS – APRIL 7, 2020
The Master Plan envisions each Birmingham neighborhood as a community with park and civic spaces and transit options designed to encourage connectivity within the neighborhood and with adjacent neighborhoods. This meeting will discuss the neighborhood components outlined in the March meeting as they specifically apply to our fifteen neighborhoods. 

DOWNTOWN MIXED-USE DISTRICTS, MAPLE & WOODWARD, MARKET NORTH – MAY 13, 2020
Birmingham is fortunate to have several, vibrant mixed-use districts in the City. These districts enhance our quality of life, but growth and utilization must be carefully managed to ensure the district functions for all users. In May, discussion will involve the districts at Maple & Woodward and Market North.

HAYNES SQUARE, SOUTH WOODWARD GATEWAY, RAIL DISTRICT – JUNE 10, 2020
The three additional mixed-use districts in the City – Haynes Square, Woodward Gateway and the Rail District – are still emerging and will benefit from intelligent planning and development. Residents will be asked to review recommendations on issues ranging from additional public parking to enhanced streetscape and landscape improvements.

All Planning Board meetings are broadcast on the BCTV government access channel and are available on the City’s website. Please visit www.birminghamplan.org for complete information on the plan and planning process, and an email option that allows residents to provide comments directly to the planning team. We encourage residents to attend the meetings whenever possible and we welcome your comments at any and all points of the process. 
New State Rules on Water Service Lines

Under new State of Michigan requirements, the City of Birmingham inventoried all water service lines connecting city service to individual properties. That inventory is complete and out of our 9,000 residences, just 730 were found to have lead service lines.   The City is now launching a testing and replacement program for those homes.

This program is not being implemented because of any problem with the City of Birmingham’s drinking water or its delivery system, but we are taking immediate steps to inform our residents and assure them that we are taking swift and appropriate action. As we start the new year, the City has notified all 730 affected homeowners and is offering free water filters to homeowners with lead-service lines. Those residents will also be included in a comprehensive water-testing program to help us develop a prioritized service line replacement plan. Upon completion of the testing residents will be notified of the results and the replacement plan. The City is already exceeding State mandates by testing all properties immediately. While we have 20 years to replace lead service lines under the State rules, our goal is to complete replacement well in advance of the deadline.  We do not plan to raise water rates for this effort, but instead will utilize existing reserves and participate in cooperative purchasing contracts with other agencies to earn the best rates. 

Property owners who would like information on their water service lines can visit the City’s website to query their property. You can download a  summary of the City's action plan here . If you wish to review the information for your property in more detail, please contact the Engineering Dept. at 248-530-1850.
The City Commission Wants to Hear from You

To better serve our residents, the Birmingham City Commission has moved public comments to the beginning of its meetings. The Commission recently approved a three (3) month trial period moving public commentary to immediately before the consent agenda. 
For more information on citizen participation in City Commission meetings, please visit https://www.bhamgov.org/government/commission/rules_of_procedure.php .
Latest News re. Parking Initiatives in Birmingham

Parking in Birmingham. It’s a different scenario for residents, business owners, employees of downtown businesses and visitors. The City’s Advisory Parking Committee is committed to convenient, accessible, safe parking throughout the central business district, and continues to work on several projects to ensure that Birmingham parking is the best in Southeast Michigan.  Here’s an update on on-going projects:

The City is currently conducting a structural assessment program at all five downtown structures. With a contract awarded in December, work began immediately to assess the drainage system at the Pierce Street structure. The City hopes to have all decks assessed by late Spring.

The Advisory Parking Committee continues to investigate a mobile parking app that will provide real-time parking availability at both on-street and in-structure parking and will likely begin beta-testing in February or March.  We are also continuing a system-wide evaluation of parking technology . The most frequent challenge for users of our parking decks involve the entry/exit gates. On-street parkers sometimes have difficulty reading meter displays and credit card validation may be slow. Technology has outpaced our current software. Our goal is a fully-integrated system that will serve customers easily and efficiently. Staff is planning a full technology report for the Advisory Parking Committee within the next few months.
City Seeks Election Inspectors for Upcoming Elections

The City Clerk's office is seeking Election Inspectors as it prepares for the upcoming elections: the Presidential Primary on March 10th, the State Primary on August 4th, and the General Election on November 3rd. City election inspectors are essential in the functions of democracy. Their duties can include: processing voters when they arrive at their polling location; assisting voters while they cast their ballots; helping to close a precinct when voting is complete as well as other assorted tasks throughout Election Day.

Candidates must be at least 16 years old (the voter registration requirement is waived for inspectors under 18), be a registered voter in the state of Michigan, and be able to attend a paid election inspector training session. Upcoming training sessions are set for February 23-25 and March 2-4. Knowledge and familiarity with computers is also helpful. Full and half-day shifts are available. The pay rate for inspectors is $11.00/hour. Inspectors can anticipate working a total of about 17 hours, with the bulk of their time dedicated to activities on Election Day.

If you'd like to be a part of democracy in action, please complete the  Election Inspector application . For more information, please log onto  www.bhamgov.org/voting  or call the City Clerk's office at (248) 530-1880.

Still Time to Enjoy Birmingham Restaurant Week
Seconds, anyone? There's still time to take advantage of Birmingham Restaurant Week! Join us February 3 - 7 and treat yourself to three-course lunches and three-course dinners at discounted prices during this culinary extravaganza. Visit  www.AllinBirmingham.com/RestaurantWeek  for participating restaurants and event menus. Bon appétit!
Obtain Life-Saving CPR Training from Birmingham Fire Dept.
The Birmingham Fire Department consistently looks for community risk reduction opportunities. One area that remains a focus is early bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) administration. 

The Birmingham Fire Department wants to reach as many community members as possible for this type of training. Positive outcomes for people suffering cardiac arrest increases tremendously when early CPR and AED administration takes place prior to emergency medical services (EMS) arriving. 

The Birmingham Fire Department offers a basic “Friends and Family” 1-hour CPR training on the second Wednesday of every month. This training teaches basic CPR concepts and performance, but does not include CPR certification. 

For those residents wishing for a more in-depth CPR training, we offer an American Heart Association certification course for CPR quarterly. Save the date for these upcoming certification courses: April 25, July 25 and October 24. These courses are typically four hours. 

Please contact Station 1 at (248) 530-1906 for any questions or to register for a CPR course.  
Birmingham Green Article from the Planning Department
Are you an avid recycler? As a SOCRRA community, the City of Birmingham contributes to the 13,000 tons of paper, plastic, metal, and glass recyclables collected at the curb each year. However, more important than being an avid recycler…is being a conscious recycler. With the tremendous amounts of consumer product packaging in today’s marketplace and the convenience of mixed recycling comes an added responsibility to be conscious of what is, and what is not, recyclable. Recycling contamination can come in many forms. Food residue, plastic bags, loose shredded paper, hazardous materials, and non-recyclable plastic are the most common recycling contaminants that end up in curbside carts. Recycling contamination can force more waste to landfills, damage costly machinery, create unsafe working environments, and devalue the recyclable material and the industry itself. If you are an avid recycler, make sure to take the next steps to becoming a conscious recycler! If you have any questions, SOCRRA’s Waste Wizard tool can help you along in the process…download the application or visit the website at www.socrra.org/waste-wizard !
Work Underway at N. Old Woodward Parking Structure

Crews are working to replace the barrier façade on the North Old Woodward parking structure. Engineers have identified structural issues with the concrete façade, and the City is moving immediately to replace existing concrete with a new steel-cable barrier. Approximately 120 parking spaces will be lost during construction, which is expected to take about three months. The City is requesting that permit parkers consider re-locating temporarily to the Chester Street structure. Chester Street can accommodate additional parkers. Permit parkers interested in moving to Chester Street to avoid construction are asked to call 248-540-9690. The North Old Woodward structure has been stabilized in preparation for construction and to ensure the safety of parkers and pedestrians. The City regrets any inconvenience construction may cause, but safety remains our primary concern. We will keep you posted as work progresses, and appreciate your cooperation.
It's time to get REAL
A message from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Your Michigan driver’s license or identification card may not get you through airport security later this year.

Oct. 1 is when the federal government will fully enforce the post-9/11 REAL ID Act, and standard state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards will no longer be accepted to board domestic flights within the United States, or when entering certain federal facilities, such as military bases or nuclear power plants.

Many people already have a REAL ID document, such as a valid U.S. passport, a DHS Trusted Traveler Card or an Enhanced Driver’s License. A full list of acceptable REAL ID documents is available at TSA.gov . Those who don’t can make their Michigan license or identification REAL ID-compliant by visiting a Secretary of State branch office and presenting the required documents. And, if you make an appointment, you’ll be in and out in 30 minutes or less.

Visit Michigan.gov/RealID for more information and to view a list of things you need to do to get your REAL ID.
Understanding the Snow Ordinance
Take measures to ensure you don't find yourself in violation of the ordinance regarding snow removal and snow parking bans. Here are the two most important requirements:
  
1) You are required to clear snow and ice on sidewalks that abut your property. If the snow stops falling during the day, your sidewalks must be cleared by no more than 12 hours later. If the snow stops falling during the night, all sidewalks must be cleared by 6 p.m. the following day. Sidewalks that are not cleared of snow and ice will be shoveled by the city and the property owner will be fined.
 
2) When a Snow Emergency is declared, residents must remove their cars from city streets so the snow plows can get through. Cars in violation of this ordinance will be ticketed.
 
View more information about snow removal on the  city's website .
February News from The Birmingham Museum
Museum lecture series continues with “Wonder Women of Birmingham: the Ladies’ Library Association,” Thursday, February 27 at 7 PM at the Baldwin Public Library

The Baldwin Public Library is one of the most important and beloved cultural institutions in Birmingham and has been a model public library for more than a century. But although it would be almost impossible to imagine Birmingham without its library, it wasn’t always a sure thing. In fact, the roots of the Baldwin Library go back to the Civil War era, when bringing the enlightenment of books to the quaint farming village was almost a radical notion that did not have wide support. Enter Martha Baldwin and eleven women colleagues, who stepped up to organize the Ladies Library Association. They pooled their financial resources, faced down the opposition of their own husbands and village leaders, and after a struggle of almost 40 years, brought a free public library to Birmingham. Find out more about these spunky and determined women on February 27 at 7 PM. Register free at www.baldwinlib.org/calendar/

The Birmingham Museum is located at 556 W. Maple, and open Tuesday through Saturday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Admission is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under five and seniors. For more information, visit us online at www.bhamgov.org/museum or www.facebook.com/TheBirminghamMuseum
February News from the Baldwin Library  
Winter Reading Challenge
Stay cozy this winter with BPL’s Winter Reading Challenge. Check off goals on the Youth bookmark, Teen bingo card, or Adult bookmark and return your completed entry to the Library. The challenge ends February 29, 2020.

Seed Saving, with Small House Farm
Wednesday, February 12 at 7:00 p.m.
Are you curious about seed saving? Expert Ben Cohen will teach you how and why it’s important and enjoyable to save seeds. Registration required.

The Laugh Factory
Saturday, February 22 at 11:00 a.m.
Doug Scheer is back with his family comedy magic show filled with nutty wackiness, nonstop laughter, and crazy hilarity. Recommended for elementary age students. Registration required. 

The Baldwin Public Library is located at 300 W. Merrill Street. For more information visit www.baldwinlib.org   or call (248) 647-1700. 
Next: A Community Center for Boomers & Beyond
Coming to Next in February:

OSTEOPOROSIS:  Risk Factors, Diagnosis,
Prevention & Treatment
Thursday, February 20 at 1:00 pm
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by low bone mass, a reduction in bone strength, and an increased risk of fractures. Dorothy A. Nelson Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology at Oakland University will explore risk factors, methods of diagnosis, approaches to prevention, and various options for treatment.
 
IMMIGRATION 101
Thursday February 20, 6:00 pm
Melanie Goldberg, Attorney for Justice for Our Neighbors Justice for Our Neighbors assists with humanitarian cases, family reunification and other immigration services.
Ms. Goldberg will provide a clear background on immigration law, policies and current issues. Immigration law and policies are changing daily under the current administration.
Since immigration law is as complex as tax law, it is hard to know what the changes mean if you do not have a point of reference. This presentation provides that point of reference.
 
MANRESA JESUIT RETREAT HOUSE
Thursday, February 27 at 1:00 pm
You are warmly invited to this presentation by Grace and George Seroka, who will provide us with a brief history and the offerings of Manresa Jesuit Retreat House. Come join us to learn more about Manresa, located on 39 acres at the corner of Woodward and Quarton in Bloomfield Hills.
Thank you for reading Around Town, a monthly e-newsletter from the City of Birmingham. We hope you find the information timely and useful. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to friends and neighbors who may be interested in Birmingham.
151 Martin St. P.O. Box 3001 Birmingham, MI 48012
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tel: 248-530-1800