W. Liberty Townhomes Get Planning OK

A large townhome development at the northwest corner of West Liberty and South Maple is moving forward, following a recommendation of approval for its site plan from the Ann Arbor planning commission at its Dec. 18, 2012 meeting.

Blue Heron Pond is a planned project of 64 units on a 7.8-acre site that’s zoned R4B (multi-family dwelling). It’s the site of a development formerly called West Towne Condominiums that was started in 2005 but never completed. A building with 11 units is on the site, although the original developer – the Concannon Company – had planned to build 87 units. [.pdf of map showing site location]

The new owner, Norfolk Development, bought the property in the spring of 2012. The new $4.2 million project calls for constructing nine buildings in two phases. The first phase will include construction of four buildings along West Liberty, with the five other buildings in the site’s interior to be constructed at a later date. The complex will have a mix of two- and three-bedroom rental units ranging in size from 980 to 2,577 square feet, each with an attached one-car garage. Rents are expected to be in the $900 to $1,800 range.

The proposal is a planned project – rather than a by-right development – because a modification is being requested to the zoning requirements. Rather than the 20 feet between buildings that’s required in R4B zoning, the developer wants to reduce that amount to 15.7 feet between two of the buildings along West Liberty.

A large wetland in the center of the site will not be disturbed. A contribution of $26,000 to the city’s parks system has already been made, with the funds used for improvements at South Maple Park.

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