City Council OKs The Varsity Ann Arbor

At its Nov. 10, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave approval to a residential project on East Washington Street: The Varsity Ann Arbor. The Varsity is a “planned project” consisting of a 13-story apartment building with 181 units at 425 E. Washington, between 411 Lofts and the First Baptist Church.

The city planning commission recommended approval of The Varsity at its Oct. 4, 2011 meeting.

Intended for students, it’s the first project to go through the city’s new design review process. The Varsity was first considered at the planning commission’s Sept. 20 meeting, but postponed.

A “planned project” allows modifications of the area, height, and placement requirements related to permanent open space preservation, if the project would result in “the preservation of natural features, additional open space, greater building or parking setback, energy conserving design, preservation of historic or architectural features, expansion of the supply of affordable housing for lower income households or a beneficial arrangement of buildings.” However, all other zoning code requirements must still be met – including the permitted uses, maximum density, and maximum floor area.

The Varsity was submitted as a planned project in order to make the plaza area off Washington Street larger than what would have been required by the zoning code.

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]