Heritage Row Status Update

At its Feb. 7, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council offered a 90-day window during which developer Alex de Parry could resubmit his planned unit development (PUD) Heritage Row project with a reduction in the required submittal fees from around $5,000 to $2,000. The project has previously been rejected by the city council multiple times in different guises.

That 90-day window ended last Monday, May 9, without a resubmission by de Parry, according to city of Ann Arbor planning staff. The project could still be submitted to the city for review, but would not enjoy the fee reduction offered by the city council in February. A public engagement meeting, which is required by city ordinance for new projects, was held on March 25, 2011 for the Heritage Row project.

At the March 25 meeting, held at the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library, the presentation included the most recent revisions that had been reviewed by city staff. The last proposal reviewed by the city includes the following revisions: (1) the top floor of the new south building would be removed from the design; (2) the density would be reduced from 79 units to 76 units and the number of bedrooms would be reduced from 154 to 147; (3) the project would include five affordable units at the 50% AMI (average median income) level, in addition to six affordable units at the 80% AMI level; and (4) the three new buildings would be LEED certified.

The residential project, located on the east side of South Fifth Avenue, would renovate seven houses and construct three new apartment buildings behind those houses, with an underground parking garage. The council initially rejected Heritage Row on June 21, 2010, with a 7-4 vote in favor. It required an 8-vote majority for approval, due to a petition filed by adjoining property owners. The city council then reconsidered the project at its July 6, 2010 meeting, and it failed again, on a 7-3 vote. Then at the council’s Dec. 6, 2010 meeting, some councilmembers seemed poised to suspend council rules to allow another reconsideration, but the vote to suspend council rules failed.

Instead of resubmitting Heritage Row, another possibility for de Parry is to begin construction on a different project at the same location, which the city council approved as a “matter of right” project on Sept. 21, 2009. That project, called City Place, would include two buildings separated by a surface parking lot with 24 total units, each with six bedrooms.