University Bank Site Modifications OK’d

Following postponement at its Sept. 8, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor planning commission recommended approval of changes to a University Bank site plan for property at 2015 Washtenaw Ave., known as the Hoover Mansion. The proposal will now be forwarded to city council for approval.

The proposal would increase the number of allowable employees from 50 to 59 at the bank’s headquarters and add a new parking lot on the site, with a setback of 24 feet from the eastern property line. A continuous six-foot-high wall is proposed along the eastern and southeastern property lines, to screen the parking lot from 2021 Washtenaw Ave. and 2107-2109 Tuomy. The changes require amending the supplemental regulations of the site’s planned unit development (PUD) zoning district, which was originally approved in 1978.

The planning commission tabled a similar proposal at its Oct. 19, 2010 meeting, asking planning staff to work with bank officials to come up with an alternative proposal for locating new parking. At the time, planning staff had recommended denial of the request, stating that the project impacted natural features and didn’t offer an overall benefit to the city. Although a consensus on changes appeared to have been reached by the Sept. 8 meeting – among planning staff, neighbors and bank officials – the commission was reluctant to make a recommendation, because the final site plan had not yet been submitted.

At Tuesday’s meeting, there was some discussion about requiring a minimum of two “No Parking” signs along the property’s driveway – a request made by owners of an adjacent home, who are concerned about possible parking near the entrance to their driveway. Tony Derezinski initially proposed an amendment to the supplemental regulations, requiring that those signs be added. He later withdrew that amendment, saying that it seemed to be quibbling over a small thing.

This brief was filed from the second-floor city council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron, where the planning commission meets. A more detailed report will follow: [link]