Stories indexed with the term ‘sorority’

Brigham Home To Get Upgrade, Expansion

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (April 15, 2014): A revised version of renovations and expansion at 515 Oxford – a house originally designed by architect George Brigham in 1940 – will move to the city council for approval, following action by the city’s planning commissioners.

Robb Burroughs, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Robb Burroughs, architect for renovations at 515 Oxford. (Photos by the writer.)

At a meeting with a third of the nine-member commission absent, the group voted unanimously to grant a special exception use that will allow the building to be used by the Delta Gamma sorority. It will be limited to 20 residents, and will be used as an annex to the main sorority house down the street.

The commission also recommended approval of a “planned project” site plan, which will now be forwarded to city council for consideration. Unlike a preliminary version of the project – when the architect had been unaware of the building’s historical significance – the current proposal works to preserve the integrity of the original design. The new design keeps the existing structure, but nearly doubles the square footage with an addition in the back.

During deliberations, some commissioners mentioned the relatively large amount of correspondence they’d received about this project, including letters from several preservation groups – a2modern, Detroit Area Art Deco Society, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Board, and the Washtenaw County Historic District Commission. The house is not located in an historic district, and is not protected by any other historic designation.

City planner Jill Thacher, who serves as support staff for the city’s historic district commission, said she appreciated that the renovations are sensitive to the history of the structure, keeping the front design in tact and minimizing the overall visual impact of the rear addition.

This was the only major agenda item in a relatively brief meeting that lasted about an hour. The commission’s next regular meeting is on May 6 and will be held at the county administration building at 220 N. Main. The second floor of city hall, where the commission’s meetings are typically held, will be used by election staff for the May 6 transit millage vote.

Before then, the commission will hold a retreat on April 29 starting at 3 p.m. at the NEW Center, 1100 N. Main. It will likely last until about 8:30 p.m. and will include a walking tour of the area. [Full Story]

Site Plan for Sorority on Oxford OK’d

Ann Arbor planning commissioners acted on two requests related to converting a house at 515 Oxford for use as an annex to the Delta Gamma sorority. The action took place at the commission’s April 15, 2014 meeting.

Delta Gamma, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view showing the location of 515 Oxford, south of Geddes and at the eastern end of South University.

First, commissioners granted a special exception use to allow the house to be used as a sorority. The main sorority house is located nearby at 626 Oxford.

In a separate vote, commissioners recommended approval of a “planned project” site plan, … [Full Story]

Rezoning for Delta Gamma Moves to Council

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Jan. 23, 2014): Only one project was on the agenda for consideration by the planning commission on Jan. 23: rezoning and an area plan for a house that the Delta Gamma sorority wants to convert into a residential annex.

Delta Gamma, Robb Bourroughs, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Members of the project team for 515 Oxford, which will be an annex to the Delta Gamma sorority. (Photos by the writer.)

The 515 Oxford property is near the main sorority house at 626 Oxford, and is currently split into three apartment units. Planning commissioners recommended approval of the request to rezone the parcel from R4A (multi-family dwelling) to R2B (two-family dwelling and student housing).

Additional approvals for the project itself will be required before the project’s construction work can begin.

The proposal for a renovation would accommodate a maximum of 20 residents, including a required resident manager. A special exception use will also be required to allow for a sorority use. That request will be made to the planning commission at a later date, along with a more detailed site plan.

The house was designed by architect George Brigham and built in 1940 as his home and studio. He designed over 40 houses in Ann Arbor, including many in Arbor Hills and Barton Hills. Planning staff reported that they were contacted about this site by a2modern, a group created to highlight mid-century modern architecture in Ann Arbor. On Jan. 23, the group posted a “statement of concern” about the proposal on its website.

At the planning commission meeting, Robb Burroughs, the project’s architect, said that until they were alerted by a2modern, the design team hadn’t been aware of the site’s history. They’ve now done research at the Bentley Historical Library and have met with a representative from a2modern, and are working on the site plan to preserve to the greatest extent possible the exterior view of the house.

The rezoning request and area plan, which commissioners also recommended for approval, will now be considered by the city council.

In other action on Jan. 23, commissioners voted to recommend that the city council reappoint Kirk Westphal as the planning commission’s representative to the environmental commission. Westphal, who chairs the planning commission, did not participate in the vote, and vice chair Wendy Woods led the meeting as the commission acted on that item.

During communications time, planning manager Wendy Rampson noted that the city council had passed a resolution at its Jan. 21, 2014 meeting regarding the downtown zoning review. The council has directed the planning commission to develop ordinance language that would enact the commission’s recommendations for zoning revisions, with a deadline of Oct. 20, 2014. The commission’s ordinance revisions committee will meet on Feb. 4, before the regular planning commission meeting, to start figuring out how to implement these council directions.

In other communications, Bonnie Bona reported that the energy commission plans to propose a commercial energy disclosure ordinance for the city council’s consideration. They’d like the planning commission to consider a resolution in support of that. An energy disclosure ordinance would require owners of certain properties to report how much energy their buildings use. [Full Story]

Rezoning Recommended for Delta Gamma Annex

At its Jan. 23, 2014 meeting, the Ann Arbor planning commission recommended approval of a rezoning request and area plan for 515 Oxford, to convert a house for use as an annex to the Delta Gamma sorority. The main sorority house is located nearby at 626 Oxford.

Delta Gamma, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view showing the location of 515 Oxford, south of Geddes.

The request, supported by the city’s planning staff, is to rezone the parcel from R4A (multi-family dwelling) to R2B (two-family dwelling and student housing). Most of the surrounding parcels are also zoned R2B. The building is currently a rental property with three … [Full Story]