Finding a Path to Geddes Ridge

Explanation of relevant codes will be topic of Sept. 10 community meeting at Angell Elementary

There’s an asphalt path that runs from the entrance to Gallup Park along Geddes westward toward the Arb. Along the way it becomes a sidewalk.

Geddes Ridge private development

Geddes Ridge private development near the entrance to Gallup Park on Geddes Road.

Two weeks ago I pedaled east out Geddes Road to the Gallup Park entrance in search of a bench – or possibly just a plaque – that indicated the path was created in memory of someone. Even though I’d run past that marker many times, I no longer had a clear recollection whether it was a bench or a plaque, much less the actual name of the person. I think it was “Kahn.”

My thought was to put together a small feature for The Chronicle on the person the path was named after, if only to help populate the archives before we launched the publication. When I arrived at the place where I remembered the marker, I found the land cleared for a new development: Geddes Ridge. I searched the length of the path, but I could not find the marker. Perhaps it’s still there and I missed it. Perhaps it’s been moved.

I was reminded of my failure to find it, and how I had simply punted on the project last night at the city council meeting. On the agenda of the meeting was the new citizen participation ordinance [.pdf of full text of the ordinance] as well as a new ordinance on private streets, access, and land use control [.pdf. full text of the ordinance].

These ordinances, which were both approved, do not bear on projects like Geddes Ridge. However, there was some sentiment expressed both at Sunday caucus and at council on Monday (Sept. 8) that the ordinance mandating citizen participation does not articulate with enough specificity what other projects – besides PUDs, planned projects, and projects requiring site plan review – could trigger the ordinance. And from what The Chronicle understands, the Geddes Ridge project could still be built because it involves land division of two parcels into four parcels apiece, but could not be built if the eight resulting parcels had come from a division of a single parcel.

Stephen Rapundalo, in his communications from council, announced there would be a meeting at Angell Elementary School on Wed., Sept 10, starting at 7 p.m during which city planning staff will be on hand explain what the applicable codes are.

We invite readers to examine the new ordinances in detail and explicate how they do not bear on Geddes Ridge, or attend the Angell School meeting and report back on anything they heard or saw there. Comments are open.


  1. By Morton
    September 10, 2008 at 7:31 am | permalink

    There is a posting by HD on Ann Arbor is Overrated,, where the Dina and Reuben Kahn Memorial Parkway is mentioned.

    The Grex website has a picture on the sign, (scroll down to the bottom of the page), but does not mention its exact location.

  2. By Dave Askins
    September 10, 2008 at 8:15 am | permalink

    Morton’s comment got my morning off to a pleasant start, because it will help me document when exactly my mental slide started. I knew I had collected that information at some point, but could not find it on any of the hard drives here at home. I’d completely forgotten leaving that 2.5-year-old comment on AAiO.

    A tip of the hat to you, Morton, for tracking that, plus the photo down.

  3. September 10, 2008 at 9:51 am | permalink

    I updated Arborwiki

    so that this is incrementally easier to find next time.

  4. September 12, 2008 at 2:10 pm | permalink

    I eagerly attended the meeting at Angell School. I was impressed that Mark Lloyd the Planning Manager was present as well as Connie Pulcipher, A Senior Planner, in addition to Alexis Marcarello, Planner, Councilmen Joan Lowenstein and Stephen Rapundalo. Ethel Potts a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission was present also but not in an official capacity. City staff outnumbered the residents. These meetings are potential powder kegs that can quickly get out of hand and the fact that Mark Lloyd was there alerted me that the City sensed some trouble brewing.

    Two major issues emerged from the meeting. The first was that the developer appeared to be insensitive to the surrounding residents and callous when he or she “clear cut” the swath of trees as shown in your picture without any warning to residents. It turns out the developer went way beyond what was required by the current law and that plenty of forest remained to maximize the value of each of the eight parcels of land. After we observed aerial photos of the project most felt satisfied that our quality of life was not jeopardized.

    The second issue was more problematic as neighbors envisioned major traffic snarls with the traffic exiting from Geddes Ridge at the base of the hill and pedestrian entrance to Gallup Park. After letting us all “vent” our safety concerns, it was decided that additional hearings would be held to discuss optimizing motorized and non-motorized transportation on Geddes Ave. from Riverview Dr. to Huron Parkway. Most of the attendees including myself were satisfied with this solution.

    The unanswered issue is why these “public hearings” have to be held after the fact when we are almost powerless to affect any change in the plans? Ann Arborites are smart and want to be involved in the development of our City. As most new new development will be infilling inside the existing City boundary we need to get better at working together to promote development that that does not jeopardize our quality of life or environment.

    As a parting comment, Joan Lowenstein commented to me that this project will generate tax revenue to help pay for road and bike improvements that will benefit us all and help fill Angell and Tappan Schools with students that will insure that they remain open. She is exactly right. We can have our cake and eat it too.

  5. October 2, 2008 at 1:30 am | permalink

    Stewart, if these homes do generate more tax revenue for the city, they will be more productive than any development in the DDA zone. All revenues from new development downtown go to the Downtown Development Authority, not to the city’s general fund. Residents are funding the basic services of downtown developments (police, fire, etc). It is a great irony that in-fill single family homes produce more tax revenues than downtown highrises.