Stories indexed with the term ‘Sigma Phi Epsilon’

Preschool, Gas Station Expansions Approved

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (April 17, 2012): Action items at the recent planning commission meeting were dispatched with relative speed – the session lasted less than an hour.

Eric Mahler

Eric Mahler, chair of the Ann Arbor planning commission. (Photos by the writer.)

Approval was given for (1) zoning changes allowing an expansion of the Shell station’s retail store at Ann Arbor-Saline and West Eisenhower Parkway, (2) a site plan and special exception use for the Allen Creek Preschool, located at 2350 Miller Ave.; and (3) a slight revision to the special exception use for the Michigan Alpha Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon house at Tappan and Hill – increasing by one the number of beds allowed at the fraternity.

The brevity of recent planning commission meetings will be offset by packed agendas anticipated in May. The May 1 agenda items will likely include: (1) review of a possible revision to the city’s medical marijuana zoning ordinance, as directed by city council at their April 2 meeting; (2) update of the city’s capital improvements plan (CIP); (3) a master plan review; and (4) reconsideration of the Maple Cove project, after it was discovered that notices hadn’t been mailed out to all nearby residents for the previous planning commission meeting.

Two other major items that have been in the works since 2009 will be making their way back to planning commissioners soon. A draft report from the R4C/R2A zoning district advisory committee is nearly completed and might be reviewed as soon as the commission’s May 8 working session. Also, a consultant’s report on a zoning ordinance reorganization effort known as ZORO will be presented to planning commissioners in the coming weeks. Rampson told commissioners that the consultant described Ann Arbor’s current zoning ordinances as some of the worst he’s seen – complex, convoluted, and conflicting.

After being briefed on upcoming topics at an April 10 working session, planning commission chair Eric Mahler quipped, “The days of the marathon meetings are back.” Commissioner Diane Giannola gave this advice to the newer commissioners: “Come prepared with snacks.”

At least one new member will be joining the commission this summer. Following the April 17 regular meeting, commissioner Erica Briggs told The Chronicle that because of other time commitments, she would not be seeking reappointment when her term ends this July. She said she wanted to alert others who might be interested in applying for the position. [Full Story]

Fraternity’s Special Exception Use Tweaked

A slight revision to a special exception use for the Michigan Alpha Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon – increasing by one the number of beds allowed in its house at 730 Tappan – was granted unanimously by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its April 17, 2012 meeting. The change now allows for 45 beds, including an additional separate bedroom for the required in-house manager.

The commission had granted the original special exception use more than a year ago, at its March 1, 2011 meeting. That had allowed the fraternity to convert a church at the northwest corner of Tappan and Hill into a fraternity house. The building previously had been the home of the Memorial Christian Church, which is now located … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Landscape Ordinance Approved

The Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (March 1, 2011): Conducting its business in front of an audience that included more than a dozen Skyline High School students on a class assignment, the planning commission quickly approved revisions to a landscape and screening ordinance that have been in the works for years. They had debated the ordinance extensively at a meeting in December, when they ultimately postponed a vote and asked the staff for additional changes.

Skyline High students at the March 1, 2011 Ann Arbor planning commission meeting.

A cluster of Skyline High students at the March 1, 2011 Ann Arbor planning commission meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

On Tuesday, the issue of screening for privacy came up as commissioners discussed a request from the Michigan Alpha Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, which had asked for a special exception use that would allow it to convert a church at 730 Tappan into a fraternity house. The building has been the home of the Memorial Christian Church, which plans to move.

Three people spoke during a public hearing on the issue, including a representative from the neighboring sorority, who raised concerns about lighting and privacy – specifically, about the fraternity having “visual access” to the sorority’s sleeping rooms, which face the current church. However, she said she supported the project overall, and commissioners unanimously voted to grant the request.

During her staff communications, Wendy Rampson – head of the city’s planning staff – noted that city administrator Roger Fraser had announced his resignation the previous evening, at a city council working session. His last day with the city will be April 29 – he’s taking a job with the state of Michigan as deputy state treasurer for local government services. Rampson said she’d alert commissioners as soon as a date is set for his farewell gathering.

Rampson also mentioned that at the city council’s March 7 meeting, they’d be voting on a resolution of support for the state’s Complete Streets policies, saying that the city had been following similar policies for decades. Later in the meeting, however, commissioner Erica Briggs expressed some disappointment that the city wasn’t taking additional steps beyond what’s set by the state. “It certainly doesn’t establish us as a leader,” Briggs said. [Full Story]

Low-Income Housing Project Planned

Documents filed on Monday with the city of Ann Arbor’s planning staff show details of an affordable housing project at 1500 Pauline that includes tearing down the existing apartment buildings and rebuilding a combination of apartments, townhomes and a community center.

Apartments at 1500 Pauline

Entrance to the apartment complex at 1500 Pauline in Ann Arbor. (Photos by the writer.)

The project is being proposed by the Ann Arbor nonprofit Avalon Housing, though the property is still owned by the Washtenaw Affordable Housing Corp. Avalon took over operations of several WAHC properties, including 1500 Pauline, in 2009.

Also filing with the city on Monday was the Michigan Alpha Chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which is seeking a special exception use to transform the Memorial Christian Church building at the corner of Tappan and Hill into a fraternity house. [Full Story]