Lots of people picking up turkeys at Knight’s Market today.
Behind the counter at Knight’s Market, a portrait in memory of Ray Knight was put up last week – a photo taken of him when he first opened the store. [photo]
Ann Arbor city council meeting (Sept. 4, 2012): The council handled a mixed bag of items at its most recent meeting, ranging from land use to community events funding.
One item was apparently not handled the way that the majority of the council wanted, due to the absence of two councilmembers – Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) and Marcia Higgins (Ward 4).
That item was a $60,000 appropriation – the city’s portion of a $300,000 local match for continued study of the Plymouth/State corridor, from US-23 and Plymouth southward along Plymouth to State Street, extending south to I-94. The local match is needed for a $1.2 million federal grant that has been awarded for the study. This alternatives analysis phase follows a basic feasibility study. The current study is supposed to result in a preferred choice of technology (e.g., bus rapid transit, light rail, etc.) as well as identifying stations and stops.
Because the $60,000 transfer from the general fund was a change to the city budget, it needed the votes of eight members on the 11-member city council. When Mike Anglin (Ward 5) led off the roll call by voting against it, it was clear that the council would have no more than seven votes in favor – because Jane Lumm (Ward 2) had already made plain during deliberations that she’d be voting against it. So some councilmembers voted against the resolution in order to be on the prevailing side. That gives them the right under parliamentary rules to bring back the item to the council’s next meeting for reconsideration. At that meeting it’s possible, but not certain, that supporters of the funding will have the necessary eight votes.
Several items on the agenda dealt with land use. The council gave final approval to a rezoning request for Knight’s Market, which will allow for expansion of the market at Spring and Miller streets. Winning initial approval was a rezoning requested by the developer of proposed townhouses on Catherine Street – from its current planned unit development (PUD) zoning to R4C (multi-family residential). Rezoning for part of a parcel in connection with a planned Speedway gas station at Maple and Miller also got the council’s initial approval. A related site plan for the station got its one and only required approval.
Also connected to land use was the council’s addition of two more properties to the greenbelt, using about $0.5 million in city funds from the open space and parkland preservation millage. The land from the two properties totals around 226 acres. Lumm cast a lone vote of dissent.
The council also authorized disbursements of community events funds to 13 organizations totaling $44,778, the bulk of which went to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park.
And the council set a public hearing for Oct. 1 on a tax abatement for Barracuda Networks. The firm is relocating to downtown Ann Arbor from its current location on Depot Street, in part to accommodate an additional 144 employees it expects to hire by July 1, 2014.
A plan to expand Knight’s Market, at the northeast corner of Spring and Miller, has received its final authorization from the city. The Ann Arbor city council approved the site plan and gave final approval to the rezoning necessary for the plan at its Sept. 4, 2012 meeting.
The market’s owner, Ray Knight, also owns two separate, adjacent parcels. (Knight is perhaps best known for his family’s restaurant, Knight’s Steakhouse, located at 2324 Dexter Ave.) The grocery store has been on land zoned C1 (local business) and M1 (light industrial). Another parcel at 306-308 Spring St. was zoned R2A (two-family dwelling) and M1, and contains two single-family homes and part of a parking lot. The third parcel at 310 Spring St. …
Ann Arbor city council meeting (Aug. 9, 2012) Part 2: Ballot initiatives for the Nov. 6, 2012 election – two about parks and one on public art – were the dominant theme of the council’s meeting. Those are covered in Part 1 of the meeting report.
But the council transacted several other pieces of business as well, some of which could be grouped into the general thematic pattern of land and property use. Most obviously connected to land use was the council’s initial approval of a rezoning request in connection with an expansion proposal from Knight’s Market, at the corner of Miller and Spring streets. The rezoning would allow a house to be converted into a bakery. It would also allow for eventual approval of a site plan to build a 1,200-square-foot addition to the existing grocery store and to expand, reconfigure, and improve the existing parking lot.
The council also passed a resolution to deal with an issue stemming, in part, from land use decisions made decades ago that resulted in residential development in the area of the Malletts Creek drainage district. Recently, residents in the area have been faced with severe localized flooding. The council’s resolution directed staff to start negotiations with the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner to identify “opportunities for stormwater conveyance and stormwater quality improvement in the area of the Malletts Creek drainage district.”
Related at least tangentially to land use at the level of a specific parcel was a resolution the council passed establishing the property at 317 Maynard in downtown Ann Arbor as an industrial development district. The move sets the stage for an expected application from the future tenant of the space, owned by First Martin Corp., for a tax abatement that would be worth around $85,000. The tenant is Barracuda Networks.
And the council took another step in implementing a strategy to eliminate blight. The city had previously set aside funds that could be used to demolish blighted buildings – if the city is unsuccessful in getting property owners to demolish them. The council’s action last Thursday authorized the city to sign contracts with four different companies to do such demolition work on an as-needed basis. It was announced at the meeting that the houses on North Main – at the site of the planned Near North affordable housing project – will likely be among the first to be demolished under the contracts authorized by the council.
To the extent that transportation systems have an impact on future land use, another item related to land use was a reapproval of the articles of incorporation for a possible new countywide transportation authority. The articles of incorporation are part of a four-party agreement to establish a framework for possibly expanding the governance and service area of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.
The four-party agreement is between the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County and the AATA. The Ann Arbor council changed the minimum threshold of votes required on the proposed new 15-member transit authority board, an action that brought the council in line with a version that the Washtenaw County board of commissioners had approved earlier this month. That threshold was increased from a 2/3 majority (10 votes) to a 4/5 majority (12 votes).
In other business, the council authorized the hiring of three additional firefighters for the next two years, using a federal grant. It also authorized the purchase of a new aerial fire truck.
Nominations to city boards and commissions made at the meeting included reappointment of Sandi Smith, Roger Hewitt and Keith Orr to the board of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. And Sally Petersen, who won the Ward 2 Democratic primary on Aug. 7, was nominated for the city’s commission on disability issues.
The council also heard public commentary on a range of topics, including smart meters and the idea of corporations as people.
A rezoning request that would allow for expansion of Knight’s Market was given initial approval at the Ann Arbor city council’s Aug. 9 meeting.
The market is located at the northeast corner of Spring and Miller. The market’s owner, Ray Knight, also owns two separate, adjacent parcels. (Knight is perhaps best known for his family’s restaurant, Knight’s Steakhouse, located at 2324 Dexter Ave.) The grocery store is on land zoned C1 (local business) and M1 (light industrial). Another parcel at 306-308 Spring St. is zoned R2A (two-family dwelling) and M1, and contains two single-family homes and part of a parking lot. The third parcel at 310 Spring St. is zoned R2A and MI, and contains the other half of the store’s parking …
Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (June 19, 2012): A proposal to build townhomes on a parcel along Ellsworth Road drew harsh criticism from nearby residents, who argued that this part of Ann Arbor already has more housing units than the city’s services and infrastructure can support.
The annexation request for the site of the Summit Townhomes project was recommended for city council approval by the planning commission. However the planning commission postponed action on a related zoning and area plan proposal.
The 2.95-acre site at 2081 E. Ellsworth Road, east of Stone School Road, is currently located in Pittsfield Township. The developer wants to remove an existing single-family home and detached garage, and build 24 townhomes in four, two-story buildings, with attached single-car garages for each unit. The plan calls for R3 (townhouse dwelling district) zoning.
Several residents from the nearby Forest Hills Cooperative townhouse complex came to the June 19 meeting to speak in opposition to the project. They argued that this area is already densely developed, with several major housing developments and a lack of services, like places for children to play. Traffic along Ellsworth was also a concern, especially in light of the soon-to-open Costco on that road, west of South State Street.
In part based on that feedback, commissioners unanimously voted to postpone the zoning and area plan proposals, and asked city planning staff a range of questions that they’d like to have answered before considering those requests. The concerns related to zoning options, traffic volume, the location and amount of parkland in that area, and the capacity of utilities to handle increased density. However, the annexation request will move forward to be considered by the Ann Arbor city council. It was recommended for approval on a 6-1 vote, with Erica Briggs dissenting. Eric Mahler and Wendy Woods were absent.
Briggs also dissented on another request considered by the the planning commission at its meeting – to approve the rezoning and site plan for an expansion of Knight’s Market, and Spring and Miller. The proposal – which had been originally discussed, but ultimately postponed, at the planning commission’s May 15, 2012 meeting – won approval from the other six commissioners, and will be forwarded to the city council for their consideration. Several commissioners expressed concerns, but felt comfortable enough to approve the rezoning and site plan. Briggs said the potential for future commercial expansion and other issues made it impossible for her to support the project.
In other action, the commission unanimously approved their annual work plan, as well as a resolution affirming the city’s master plan. Both actions are required annually under the planning commission’s bylaws.
It was the final meeting for Briggs, who is ending her term this month. She did not request reappointment. Her colleagues on the commission praised her work, with Bonnie Bona saying: ”You may not realize it, but you’ve had a strong influence on all of us.” Ken Clein – a principal with Quinn Evans Architects – has been nominated to replace her and will likely receive city council confirmation at the council’s July 2 meeting.
An expansion plan for Knight’s Market – which includes converting a single-family home into a bakery – won a recommendation of approval from the Ann Arbor planning commission at its June 19, 2012 meeting. The vote was 6-1, with Erica Briggs dissenting. Commissioners Eric Mahler and Wendy Woods were absent. The rezoning and site plan requests will be considered next by city council.
The project had first been discussed, but ultimately postponed, at the commission’s May 15, 2012 meeting. The market is located at the northeast corner of Spring and Miller. The market’s owner, Ray Knight, also owns two separate, adjacent parcels. (Knight is perhaps best known for his family’s restaurant, Knight’s Steakhouse, located at 2324 Dexter Ave.) The grocery store …
Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (May 15, 2012): At 3.5 hours, the most recent meeting of the Ann Arbor planning commission reflected a trend that city staff say will likely continue: An uptick in projects coming through the city’s planning pipeline.
The city’s fiscal year ends June 30. Year to date, 10 zoning or planned unit development (PUD) applications have been received, compared to one in fiscal year 2011. Twenty-one site plans have been submitted this year, compared to 13 in FY 2011. And 494 zoning compliance reviews have been completed this year for building permits, up from 215 in FY 2011 – a 129% increase.
At the commission’s May 15 meeting, five projects were considered. The one drawing most interest from residents was a proposed expansion of Knight’s Market at the corner of Spring and Miller. The plan calls for an addition on the current market building, which has been run by the Knight family since 1952. Three parcels would be combined into one that would be rezoned as C1 (local business), allowing the Knights to turn one of two single-family homes next to the market into a bakery. The bakery wouldn’t have a retail space – it would be used to make products for the market and the family’s restaurants in Ann Arbor and Jackson.
Ten people spoke during a public hearing on the project, mostly residents of the neighborhood. They expressed support and gratitude for the Knights and their business, but raised concerns about increased truck traffic and “commercial creep.” Residents were also cautious about the future of the site, if ownership changes hands after the property is rezoned for commercial uses.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Sherry Knight Bedolla assured commissioners that there are no plans to sell to a developer – the family simply needs to meet demand for its baked goods, she said. The bakery would also be used to repackage food from the restaurant into ready-to-eat meals that would be sold in the market. At the planning staff’s request, commissioners ultimately voted to postpone action on the project to allow time for additional review.
Also postponed was action on the site plan for DTE Energy’s Buckler electrical substation at 984 Broadway near Canal Street. DTE hopes to build the substation in the utility company’s Ann Arbor service center to provide an increase in electrical power to the downtown area, due to increased demand for electricity. The project is expected to be back on the planning commission’s June 5 agenda. A companion project – a site plan for remediation of the nearby MichCon property on Broadway – was unanimously approved, assuming that a list of contingencies are met.
Two other projects were also unanimously approved: (1) an expansion of parking for the Wintermeyer office complex on South State; and (2) a temporary retail sales special exception use for Phantom Fireworks, to sell fireworks in the parking lot of Colonial Lanes at 1950 South Industrial Highway.
Ann Arbor planning commissioners, following advice from city staff, voted unanimously to postpone action on a request from Knight’s Market. The rezoning and site plan proposal – which would allow the neighborhood market to expand and add a bakery – was on the agenda for the commission’s May 15, 2012 meeting.
Knight’s Market is located at the northeast corner of Spring and Miller. The market’s owner, Ray Knight, also owns two separate, adjacent parcels. (Knight is perhaps best known for his family’s restaurant, Knight’s Steakhouse, located at 2324 Dexter Ave.) The grocery store is on land zoned zoned C1 (local business) and M1 (light industrial). Another parcel at 306-308 Spring St. is zoned R2A (two-family dwelling) and M1, and contains two single-family …