Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (March 6, 2012): Site plans for two food chains – a Tim Hortons at State and Ellsworth, and Noodles & Co. on West Stadium Boulevard, south of Liberty – were recommended for approval at the most recent planning commission meeting.
A car pulls into West Stadium Boulevard from a driveway next to the former Sze-Chuan West restaurant. The Ann Arbor planning commission recommended approval of a proposal to tear down the structure and build a Noodles & Co. restaurant there. (Photos by the writer.)
Much of the discussion about the Tim Hortons site focused on a proposed roundabout at that intersection. Though the coffee and donut shop will likely be built by late summer – about a year before the roundabout is expected to be in place – a spokesman for the company said they’ll be designing the site with the roundabout in mind.
Commissioners also recommended approval of a new AAA branch on South Main, across from Michigan Stadium. The plan calls for rezoning a portion of the site to accommodate more parking than the current office zoning would allow – a total of 35 spaces. That’s a reduction from the amount of parking currently on the site, which was approved in the mid-1970s, but it no longer conforms with existing zoning.
Commissioners Bonnie Bona, Erica Briggs and Kirk Westphal expressed concerns about rezoning an area along Main Street for parking. They also wondered whether 35 spaces were necessary, especially when there are alternative parking options – at a park-and-ride at Pioneer High, and in the nearby neighborhood. Briggs noted that it ran counter to the city’s efforts to encourage alternative transportation. Those three commissioners voted against the rezoning, but the resolution passed on a 6-3 vote. It will still require city council approval.
Also at the March 6 meeting, commissioners postponed action on a request from owners of the Shell service station at the northeast corner of Ann Arbor-Saline and West Eisenhower Parkway. Owners of the station hope to build additions onto the existing 1,000-square-foot convenience store, but planning staff recommended postponement in order to gather additional information and analysis about the plan. [Full Story]