Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Oct. 1, 2013): With three members absent, the planning commission quickly dispatched its main agenda item – an addition for the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church at 1717 Broadway St.
Ann Arbor planning manager Wendy Rampson, center, talks with students in the University of Michigan masters of urban planning program. About 30 students attended the planning commission’s Oct. 1, 2013 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)
Five existing buildings at the back of the church – originally built as classrooms for a private school that moved out in 2003 – would be torn down and replaced with a 12,850-square-foot, two-story addition to be used primarily for the church’s educational activities.
Bonnie Bona urged the church to consider ways the space could be used as much as possible, not just for Sunday school and evening programs. Sabra Briere encouraged the church to explore adding permeable pavement to at least some of the parking area.
Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval of the site plan, which will next be considered by the city council. A special exception use was also unanimously granted, and does not require additional council approval.
In updates from the planning manager, Wendy Rampson reported that the Traverwood Apartments proposal – which was postponed at the commission’s Sept. 17, 2013 meeting – won’t be coming back to the commission for a few weeks. The developer, First Martin Corp., now wants to donate the two-acre high-quality woodland portion on the north end of the site to the city for parkland. So before the apartment project moves forward, the process of acquiring the parkland will unfold. That includes working through the park advisory commission’s land acquisition committee, she said, and then through city council.
Rampson also reminded commissioners that they’ll be getting a draft report on the downtown zoning review at their Oct. 8 working session. Then, based on feedback from that meeting, the report will be revised for commissioners to consider formally at their Oct. 15 regular meeting.
And a project on which commissioners had been briefed during their Sept. 10 work session – the city’s effort to be certified in Michigan’s “Redevelopment Ready Communities” program – will be on the city council’s Oct. 14 work session agenda.
The commission’s Oct. 1 meeting was notable for the crowd it drew, including about 30 University of Michigan students and at least one student from Skyline High. The UM students were in the masters of urban planning program. [Full Story]