The city of Ann Arbor’s automatic email delivery system sent a message today that the developer for the City Place residential project on South Fifth Avenue has submitted proposed revisions to a site plan already approved by the city council on Sept. 21, 2009.
The development calls for the demolition of seven houses and the construction of two apartment buildings separated by a parking lot, with 24 total dwelling units – each with six bedrooms.
In a telephone interview, Wendy Rampson, head of planning for the city, indicated that the revisions currently proposed can be approved administratively, without coming before the planning commission or the city council. Pre-construction meetings were held two weeks ago, she said, and the intent is to begin work on the project this construction season. The administrative amendments still await sign-off from city staff. Rampson said that staff had encouraged the developer to devise a plan for communicating with neighbors about the construction.
Proposed amendments include the following – from the city planning office’s communication: “… reconfigured internal floor plan including the optional loft levels for the 3rd floor apartments; elimination of a redundant hydrant; revisions to the parking lot landscaping and photometric plans; addition of rear porches; expansion of lower level window wells; and minor window placement and exterior material changes.”
Proceeding with the City Place project means that Heritage Row – an alternative planned unit development (PUD) project by the same developer – would not be built. That proposal would have rehabbed the six houses and built three apartment buildings behind them.
The last proposal reviewed by the city for Heritage Row included the following revisions: (1) the top floor of the new south apartment 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.
A last-ditch effort to reconsider the Heritage Row project, after being rejected multiple times in multiple versions, failed at the council’s Dec. 6, 2010 meeting. At that meeting, councilmembers seemed poised to suspend council rules to allow another reconsideration, but the vote to suspend council rules failed.
Then at its Feb. 7, 2011 meeting, the city council offered a 90-day window during which developer Alex de Parry could resubmit the Heritage Row project with a reduction in the required submittal fees from around $5,000 to $2,000. That resulted in a March 25, 2011 public participation meeting, but did not lead to a resubmittal of the project.