The Ann Arbor Chronicle » site plans it's like being there Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:59:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AAHC Gets Council Support for Renovations Wed, 03 Sep 2014 04:44:01 +0000 Chronicle Staff The Ann Arbor housing commission’s plan to renovate its properties has been given support by the Ann Arbor city council in three separate actions taken at its Sept. 2, 2014 meeting.

The council approved a $729,879 transfer from the affordable housing trust fund to the AAHC to support the “West Arbor” portion of the AAHC’s renovation plan. And the council also took two actions in specific support of the West Arbor portion of the plan. The council gave initial support to a zoning revision for a project at 3451 Platt Road, which will entail demolishing four 5-bedroom units – because of their current placement in the floodplain – and constructing 32 townhomes and a community center. A third council action on Sept. 2 was approval of a site plan for North Maple Estates, which currently offers 19 units. All those units will be demolished and replaced with 42 townhomes.

The $729,879 transfer from the affordable housing trust fund would leave a $850,920 balance in the trust fund. The trust fund’s current balance stems largely from the council’s decision late last year – on Dec. 16, 2013 – to deposit the net proceeds of the sale of the former Y lot into the trust fund.

By way of background, in 2012 the city was accepted into a new rental assistance demonstration program, known as RAD, offered by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program allows residents in selected housing units to receive rental assistance through long-term Section 8 subsidy vouchers that are tied to the buildings, rather than individuals. The RAD program also enables entities like the AAHC to partner with private-sector developers on housing projects – something the AAHC couldn’t previously do. The Ann Arbor city council gave necessary approvals in connection with the RAD program at its June 3, 2013 meeting. Financing for the RAD program is primarily through low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC).

According to the memo accompanying this item, out of the $16,564,370 project budget for West Arbor, low-income housing tax credits and permanent debt are expected to cover $14,091,491. That leaves a gap of $1,472,879. The AAHC has secured $50,000 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and $293,000 from a Community Challenge Planning Grant. So the AAHC has requested up to $729,879 in capital funding support from the Ann Arbor housing trust fund for the West Arbor portion of the RAD conversion.

The initial approval given by the council for the Lower Platt project is from R1C (single-family dwelling district) and R2A (two-family dwelling district) to R4B (multi-family dwelling district). Final approval of the zoning, as well as the site plan approval, will come before the council at a subsequent meeting, probably in October.

The planning commission had sent the rezoning request for the 3451 Platt Road property to the city council with a recommendation of approval – in a vote taken at its Aug. 6, 2014 meeting. However, commissioners postponed consideration of the site plan for the five-building, 32-unit project, amid concerns about the site’s location in the floodplain and stormwater management. The postponement was supposed to allow time to address staff concerns regarding the impact on natural features.

Zoning and site plan approval must ultimately be given by the city council. However, the zoning approval will require two votes by the council at two separate meetings – because changes to the zoning code are actually changes to a city ordinance. So the site plan’s delay would not necessarily delay the project, as long as the site plan is put in front of the council for consideration by the time the council takes a second vote on the rezoning.

The site includes a property currently owned by AAHC, as well as an adjacent parcel that’s being purchased by the city on behalf of AAHC.

The project calls for demolishing four single-family homes and one two-family building, and constructing a 32-unit apartment complex with five buildings, 61 parking spaces, a playground, and a community building. The new apartments will include: 8 one-bedroom units; 12 two-bedroom units; 6 three-bedroom units; 2 four-bedroom units; and 4 five-bedroom units.

Two of the proposed buildings would be in the floodplain, which raised concerns from city staff. The AAHC is working to address those concerns – possibly by eliminating or reducing the number of buildings in the floodplain. It had been expected that the AAHC could address the issues raised by city staff so that the site plan could return to the planning commission at its Aug. 19 meeting – but that didn’t happen. Nor is it on the planning commission’s Sept. 3 agenda. [.pdf of planning staff report] [.pdf of June 28, 2014 citizen participation meeting report]

The AAHC Platt Road project is different from a Washtenaw County-owned property at 2260 and 2270 Platt Road, the former location of the county’s juvenile center. That site is also being considered for affordable housing.

Other AAHC-related action by the council on Sept. 2 included site plan approval for North Maple Estates. It calls for demolishing 20 existing single-family homes at the public housing complex on North Maple and constructing an eight-building, 42-unit apartment complex with a total of 138 bedrooms.

North Maple Estates, Ann Arbor housing commission, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of North Maple Estates site, outlined in green.

The rezoning of the 4.8-acre site at 701 N. Maple Road already has been given final approval by the city council at its Aug. 18, 2014 meeting. The zoning was changed from R1C (single-family dwelling district) to R4B (multi-family dwelling district).

The Ann Arbor planning commission had recommended the zoning and site plan for approval at its meeting on June 17, 2014. The council gave initial approval of the rezoning at its July 7, 2014 meeting.

The site is on the west side of North Maple, between Dexter Avenue and Hollywood Drive. [.pdf of staff report]

The units in the eight-building, 42-unit apartment complex are proposed to have a total of 138 bedrooms. The units range in size from one bedroom to five bedrooms.

The project will include a playground, community building and 73 parking spaces. According to a staff memo, the buildings will be located along a T-shaped driveway that connects to North Maple Road and Dexter Avenue. The drive extends northward toward Vine Court but does not connect with that street. There would be a new connection to Dexter Avenue through the remaining, undeveloped length of Seybold Drive.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.

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Development: Council OKs 3 Site Plans Tue, 22 Apr 2014 01:17:34 +0000 Chronicle Staff Three different site plans were approved by the Ann Arbor city council at its April 21, 2014 meeting: Concordia University’s proposed gym expansion; an expansion of an office building on Collingwood; and the overhaul of a Shell station on South State.

A site plan to expand the existing Concordia University gym was approved by the city council with scant discussion, but with thanks expressed by Jane Lumm (Ward 2) Concordia University CEO Curt Gielow.

Concordia University, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of Concordia campus.

The plan also includes reconfiguring nearby parking lots and stormwater management features on the 187-acre site at 4090 Geddes Road, just west of US-23 and north of the Huron River. The city planning commission recommended approval of the site plan at its March 4, 2014 meeting.

Planning commissioners granted a special exception use for the project. That’s required because the private university is located on a site zoned R1B (single-family residential district). The site plan requires city council approval, but the special exception use does not.

The proposal calls for a three-story, 34,391-square-foot addition to the current 22,021-square-foot gym that was built in the early 1960s, located on the west side of Concordia’s main campus. [.pdf of campus map] The addition will include men’s and women’s locker rooms, athletic office space, classrooms and an auxiliary gym.

A second phase of the project entails constructing a single-story, 5,280-square-foot athletic training room. An existing gravel parking area west of the gym will be paved and landscaped, and another lot north of the gym along Geddes will get new landscaping and bioswales. A total of 92 new parking spaces will be created, mostly in the former gravel lot.

A new stormwater management system will be completed to address a 100-year storm event, including a detention pond with an outlet into a bioswale south of the developed area. The site plan is for a planned project, which allows variations in height and placement. The proposed addition would be 39 feet high. The site’s zoning has a height limit of 30 feet. The existing gym is about 33 feet high, measured at the midpoint of the roof.

In other action on land use approvals at its April 21 meeting, the council approved a site plan that expands an office building at 278-280 Collingwood. The proposal received a recommendation of approval from the Ann Arbor planning commission at its March 18, 2014 meeting.

Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view indicating location of 278-280 Collingwood Drive.

The site plan calls for removing the existing second floor on the east side of the office building and constructing a 2,451-square-foot second floor over the entire building for office use.

A new staircase will be added at the southwest corner of the building. The second floor will overhang the first floor along the front of the building and along part of the north side. An existing curbcut on the north side of the property will be removed. The current 22 parking spaces on the site will be reduced to 17.

Planning commissioners approved modifications to the city’s landscaping requirements for this site. Total construction cost for this project is estimated at $300,000. The office building is located in Ward 4. Collingwood Drive is a street off of West Stadium Boulevard, just south of West Stadium’s convergence with South Maple Road. [.pdf of staff memo]

Finally, the council approved a site plan for the overhaul of a Shell station and a new drive-thru restaurant at 2991 S. State. The site is located at the northeast corner of the East Eisenhower Parkway and South State Street.

Shell, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of the site for a Shell station and drive-thru restaurant at the northeast corner of South State and East Eisenhower.

The city planning commission recommended approval of the site plan at its March 18, 2014 meeting. The plan calls for demolishing the current one-story convenience store and car wash on this site, which total 2,435 square feet. In its place, the owner – Joseph Kafi of JAK Cubed LLC – would put up a single building with a 1,250-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and 3,000-square-foot convenience store.

The existing gas pump island canopy will remain in place, and two pumps will be relocated to spots under the canopy. According to a staff memo, a single lane drive-thru would be primarily accessed from the existing East Eisenhower Parkway curb cut. Vehicles would move in an east-to-north direction before exiting onto either South State or East Eisenhower.

The drive-thru lane provides stacking for up to nine vehicles and would be screened to the west by the proposed new building. A total of 22 parking spaces are proposed for the site, including eight that are located at the four gas pump islands. The project, located in Ward 4, is estimated to cost $800,000. The business is expected to remain open during construction. The existing convenience store will then be demolished after the new building is finished.

The specific restaurant to be located there is still being negotiated. [.pdf of staff report]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.

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Plans OK’d: State Street, 544 Detroit, Packard Square Tue, 18 Jun 2013 05:24:42 +0000 Chronicle Staff At its June 17, 2013 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave approvals in connection with three developments.

First, the council approved the site plan for the State Street Center, near the intersection of South State and Ellsworth. The project calls for demolishing a vacant 840-square-foot house on this site. In its place, the developer plans a one-story, 1,700-square-foot drive-thru Jimmy John’s restaurant facing South State Street. The rezoning of the parcel for this site plan was given final approval at the council’s June 3, 2013 meeting.

The council also gave approval for the 544 Detroit St. site plan. It’s planned to be a three-story building at 544 Detroit St. with offices on the first floor and residences on the upper two floors. It’s a “planned project” to allow an additional 3.5 feet of building height for a “decorative parapet” on the building’s north end and a stair enclosure to access a roof deck. [.jpg image of proposed design]

For the 544 Detroit St. project, the council also approved a brownfield plan. According to a staff memo, the brownfield component – which allows tax increment financing (TIF) to reimburse the developer for eligible costs – includes a total of $698,773 in eligible activities. Some of those eligible activities include soil remediation ($174,620), infrastructure improvements ($70,350), and vapor mitigation ($32,000).

The planning commission gave the 544 Detroit St. project a recommendation of approval at its Dec. 18, 2012 meeting.

And finally, the council approved an amendment to a previously-approved brownfield plan for Packard Square, at the former site of the Georgetown Mall. The amendment adds to the list of eligible activities – including underground parking and urban storm water management. The total cost of eligible activities is not changed. Demolition at the site began a few weeks ago.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]

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