Land Use Buffer Changes Delayed

At its March 5, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council postponed a vote on changes in landscaping and land use buffer requirements in the city code. The postponement is until the council’s March 19 meeting.

The first change would restrict some requirements that have been added recently just to those plans that require city planning commission or city council approval: (1) providing landscaped islands for every 15 parking spaces; and (2) providing bioretention areas in 50% of the interior landscaping areas. Administrative amendments to existing plans would not trigger the requirements.

The second change involves requirements to provide buffers between parcels with conflicting land uses. Recent amendments added requirements that properties in R3 (townhouse dwelling) and R4 (multiple-family dwelling) districts include a buffer along the side and rear property lines if the parcel is immediately adjacent to a property that is principally used or zoned as residential.

The amendment postponed on March 5 would remove the R4C zoning district from the recently-added land use buffer requirement. The rationale for exempting the R4C sites from the requirement is characterized in the staff memo as due to the fact that the R4C sites “are typically located on small lots in older neighborhoods near downtown. Most R4C lots are too small to accommodate a 15 foot wide conflicting land use buffer along the entire side and rear property lines.”

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]