Comments on: 413 E. Huron, Zoning Review: They’re Back it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: john floyd john floyd Wed, 03 Apr 2013 04:58:17 +0000 Dave, this is your usual great work.

Council members focused a lot on replacement trees and other landscaping mitigations. This was a reason given for postponing site plan approval. I suggest, however, that you can’t fix what’s wrong with 413 by tweaking the landscaping.

My comments to the effect that, away from the frontier, no rights are considered absolute, were offered not so much in response to Mr. Reed, as in response to comments from the developer’s attorneys, and from the developer himself. These people expressed the opinion that rights in property use were absolute, and that any impact on neighbors was irrelevant. My rejoinder to them, as you noted, was that the only way to live around other people is if there is balance between the conflicting rights of individuals, i.e. if our rights are bounded. On the playground, this was expressed as “The right of your fist ends where my nose begins”. Even our most precious right, that of free speech, is not absolute: we are not free to yell “Fire” in a crowed auditorium. The developer’s position seemed to be based on a frontier model of human relations, not on what is required for people to live together.

Ms. Friedlaender later acknowledged that the rights of others were affected by this proposed project, and that this mattered, but she did not offer any suggestion that this new acknowledgment would result in any change of position by the developer.

Lastly, an unacknowledged issue in American cities is the role of control of ones own environment. I suggest that THE predominant issue in urban sprawl has been the desire to control what goes on around us. When you can’t control what goes on around you, you move to a place where you can control it, if only by buying as much land around your home as possible.
Linda Binkow alluded to this idea when she suggested that she might wish to stop living in Ann Arbor if developments like 413 are allowed to disrupt her neighborhood.

An irony of the mis-begotten A2D2 “process” is that in the name of density, the Council Party proposes to make leaving town an attractive option for many current – and future – residents.

By the way: why does the former owner care what happens to the property now? Is his sale contingent on approval of 413 by the city? Would that mean that the developer actually has no rights in this property after all, if the sale is not final?

By: Timothy Durham Timothy Durham Mon, 01 Apr 2013 18:47:18 +0000 “Kunselman said that what he was hearing was that the developer had paid too much for the property – and that’s the reason the density had to be maximized.”

One of the most serious downfalls of this D1 zoning- the land becomes so expensive (if not necessarily valuable) that nothing OTHER than maximizing the size of any project becomes financially viable.

If you want to see what that is like carried to its logical conclusion, visit Miami Beach. When I was a kid, there were dozens of small, two floor motels along the beach which were great for family vacations. Every single one of them has been razed and replaced with mega-condos. Awful.

So if they DO revisit ALL the zoning designations, this is something that warrants some serious discussion. Hopefully before the “Connecting William Street” project is set in stone. Or concrete.

By: Timothy Durham Timothy Durham Mon, 01 Apr 2013 15:35:59 +0000 Scott Reed’s strategy seems to be to paint anyone who is against giant high-rises as also being against increased density. Should “density” even be the goal?

Oklahoma City (and Des Moines and Toledo and…) has dozens of high-rises but very little downtown density (in those high-rise parts of town). Same with the Loop in Chicago. Conversely, the Andersonville section of Chicago has a high degree of urban density but very few tall, residential buildings. Sheridan and Lakeshore Dr. have loads of high rises (residential density) but little street activity that is not in cars. The two do not relate necessarily. Street activity is what you want. It’s more than JUST residential density.

What Andersonville (and Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park and Paris and Amsterdam) has that makes it so desirable is active and diverse mixed-use development at the sidewalk level (with a FAR of 200%- far below our towns inappropriately desired 700%, let alone 900%), but this is antithetical to our current system of single-use zoning which has brought us urban/suburban sprawl by ghettoizing land use.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Mon, 01 Apr 2013 13:09:37 +0000 “He contended that the project would bring $1.4 million per year in tax revenue.”

Maybe the heading for that section should be “Legalistic Arguments” in order to cover this inclusion, or would that still be too generous?

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Mon, 01 Apr 2013 11:13:59 +0000 Thanks for organizing the public comment by topic. It makes following the arguments much more feasible.

I’ve been watching Scott Reed’s comments online and in public with some concern. He does seem to have a fixation on “slumlords” and I’m wondering if he has had a bad experience. He is called “Bulldozer” Reed in some circles because of his comments that the neighborhoods like that behind the proposed development should be bulldozed. There doesn’t seem to be much of trying to understand others’ viewpoints.

By: James Jefferson James Jefferson Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:07:27 +0000 This article confirms my opinion of Mr. Scott Reed as a pro-development blowhard. Thanks!

By: David Cahill David Cahill Sun, 31 Mar 2013 20:52:22 +0000 This is an extremely valuable article. Thanks, Dave!