DTE Landscaping Buffer Gets Parks OK

At its Feb. 28, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission unanimously recommended approval of a 15-foot landscaping buffer in Riverside Park, next to a proposed new DTE substation that abuts the park. DTE also needs to secure a variance from the city’s zoning board of appeals and planning commission, as well as final approval by the city council.

DTE is seeking a variance of the city’s conflicting land use buffer. The buffer is required for any commercial site that’s adjacent to a park – without the variance, that buffer would be located on DTE property. According to a city staff memo, DTE is building the new Buckler substation in the utility company’s Ann Arbor service center at 984 Broadway, to provide an increase in electrical power to the downtown area due to increased demand for electricity. Because of physical constraints on DTE’s property, the utility is asking the city to place the buffer – which will include 23 new trees – in Riverside Park. The property would remain city parks property. The parks staff recommended approval of the plan.

PAC amended the resolution to request that DTE provide an additional 10 trees in landscaping for a parking lot in the park.

This brief was filed from the PAC meeting in the second-floor council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]