Stories indexed with the term ‘dog day care’

University Bank Project Postponed

Ann Arbor planning commissioner meeting (Oct. 19, 2010): Three projects were considered at the Oct. 19 planning commission meeting, and commissioners voted to postpone two of them.

Hoover Mansion

The headquarters of University Bank, in the building known as the Hoover Mansion on Washtenaw Avenue. A request to increase parking on the site was postponed by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its Oct. 19 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

One of those projects – related to an expansion of Arbor Dog Daycare – has already appeared before the commission multiple times. Most recently, the proposal was rejected by commissioners in September, primarily due to concerns about noise generated by dogs using the outdoor dog run. Owners Jon and Margaret Svoboda had asked that their request be reconsidered, and commissioners agreed to the reconsideration. But after an hour of discussion on Tuesday evening, commissioners voted to postpone again, asking staff to explore possible conditions – such as an annual review or written policy requirement – that could be added to the special exception use to address the problem of continuously barking dogs.

Also postponed was a request to add more parking to the site of the University Bank headquarters in the building known as the Hoover Mansion on Washtenaw Avenue, and to allow up to 10 additional employees to work at that location. The planning staff had recommended denial of the request, stating that the project impacts natural features and doesn’t offer an overall benefit to the city. However, commissioners asked planning staff to work with bank officials to come up with an alternative proposal for locating new parking.

During a public hearing on the project, bank president Stephen Ranzini told commissioners that if the bank can’t get the additional parking, it could trigger a decision to leave that location and expand elsewhere. He noted that the building, which he said sat vacant for nearly three years before being acquired by the bank, is extremely expensive to maintain, and described himself as a good steward for the property.

A third proposal considered by the planning commission on Oct. 19 – adding parking spots to the Briar Cove Apartments complex on the city’s southwest side – was approved unanimously. [Full Story]

Medical Marijuana Zoning Heads to Council

Ann Arbor Planning Commission meeting (Oct. 5, 2010): Zoning for medical marijuana businesses was the main agenda item for the commission’s Oct. 5 meeting. The issue drew more than a dozen people to council chambers, and six people spoke at a public hearing on the topic.

Jill Thacher, Bonnie Bona

Jill Thacher, left, of the city of Ann Arbor's planning staff, has been the point person in drafting a zoning ordinance to address medical marijuana businesses. She outlined changes to the draft ordinance at the Oct. 5 planning commission meeting. Next to Thacher is planning commissioner Bonnie Bona. (Photos by the writer.)

The draft ordinance that was ultimately approved unanimously, and forwarded to the city council, contained several changes from the version that the commission considered at its Sept. 21 meeting. During the Oct. 5 deliberations, commissioners also approved three out of four proposed amendments, some of them in response to input from the public.

In a separate vote, the commission approved a motion to recommend that the city council institute a medical marijuana business license. Eric Mahler cast the lone vote of dissent. There was little discussion and no details about what the license would entail, aside from a general intent “to address issues that fall outside the scope of the zoning ordinance, such as building security and code compliance for electrical use, fire suppression, and ingress/egress.”

Commissioner Jean Carlberg questioned Kristen Larcom of the city attorney’s office about whether the license would only apply to dispensaries, or if it would be required of cultivation facilities and “home occupation” businesses as well. In reply, Larcom said she didn’t know – they hadn’t yet drafted it. Commissioner Kirk Westphal asked if the license might include a cap on the number of dispensaries in the city – Larcom said that it might.

In their final item of business, planning commissioners unanimously agreed to reconsider a petition they had rejected at their Sept. 21 meeting – to a special exception use that would allow for the expansion of Arbor Dog Daycare, a business located at 2856 S. Main St., near the corner of Eisenhower. They then immediately tabled action on the item until their Oct. 19 meeting. The owners spoke during public commentary urging commissioners to reconsider, but later in the meeting commissioner Jean Carlberg said she’d spent more than an hour in the neighborhood near the business, and was disturbed by the level of noise coming from barking dogs there. [Full Story]

Fuller Road Station Plan Gets Green Light

Ann Arbor Planning Commission meeting (Sept. 21, 2010): In a marathon meeting that lasted past midnight, the planning commission handled two major projects: Site plan approval for Fuller Road Station, and a medical marijuana zoning ordinance.

Rita Mitchell

Rita Mitchell and Peter Zetlin talk during a break at the Sept. 21 Ann Arbor planning commission meeting. Both spoke against the proposed Fuller Road Station during a public hearing on the site plan. (Photos by the writer.)

City council chambers were packed with people wanting to address the commission on those two issues, which were the final two items on the night’s agenda.

Before getting to those, commissioners dealt with several lower-profile items. One was a request by the owners of Arbor Dog Daycare asking for permission to expand their business. A neighbor came to oppose it, saying “to expand the operation means more barking.” The commission voted on it twice – an initial vote, then a reconsideration at the end of the meeting at the request of commissioner Evan Pratt, who arrived late and missed the first vote. In both cases, the project failed to get the necessary six votes for approval.

The commission also approved the site plan for a Lake Trust Credit Union branch at the southeast corner of West Stadium and Liberty, despite some concerns about tearing down the existing building.

Later in the meeting – after three hours of staff presentations, a public hearing and commissioner deliberations – Fuller Road Station’s site plan did win approval, with two commissioners dissenting. The project will now move to city council for a vote.

And the final public hearing of the night – on zoning changes that would regulate dispensaries and “home occupations” for medical marijuana – drew 15 speakers. All of them, to varying degrees, urged commissioners not to restrict safe access to medical marijuana. The planning staff had recommended postponement, and commissioners followed that advice. They voted unanimously to postpone action on the proposal, allowing time to incorporate feedback heard during the meeting’s public hearing. The commission is expected to take up the issue again at its Oct. 5 meeting. [Full Story]