County Board Sets Three Public Hearings

At its April 20, 2011 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners set three public hearings for meetings in May. Two public hearings, scheduled for May 18, relate to brownfield plans that are being proposed for developments in the county: (1) Packard Square, a complex off of Packard Street on the site of the former Georgetown Mall, and (2) the LaFontaine Chevrolet redevelopment at 7120 Dexter-Ann Arbor Road in Dexter.

The Packard Square site plan, approved by the Ann Arbor planning commission in March, calls for 230 apartments and 23,790-square-feet of retail space in a single building. The project will entail an estimated investment of $48 million and projected to create 45 new jobs. The brownfield plan would allow the developers to use tax increment financing to pay for environmental due diligence, contaminant removal, demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, site preparation activities and new public infrastructure development.

LaFontaine Chevrolet is redeveloping its site into a new LEED-certified Chevrolet dealership – an estimated $5.3 million investment that will include contamination removal, demolition, asbestos and lead abatement. The project is estimated to retain 74 jobs and add 50-100 jobs. The brownfield plan would allow the owner to use tax increment financing for contaminant removal and other environmental response activities, demolition, and lead and asbestos abatement.

The county board also set a public hearing for its May 4 meeting to allow commentary on the county’s 2011-12 annual action plan for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The plan – for the period from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 – lays out how the county plans to use federal funds from community development block grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program grants, and Emergency Services Grants. The grants are administered through the joint city of Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County office of community development, and overseen by the Urban County executive committee, a consortium of 11 local governments.

This brief was filed from the boardroom in the Washtenaw County administration building, 220 N. Main St., Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]