Maple Cove Site Plan Gets Planning OK

On a 6-2 vote, the site plan for the Maple Cove Apartments development was recommended for approval by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its March 20, 2012 meeting. The project is located on 2.96 acres at 1649 N. Maple, north of Miller Road between North Maple and Calvin Street on the city’s west side. Voting against the project were Bonnie Bona and Eric Mahler. The project will now be considered by the city council for approval.

The plan calls for combining two sites – 1649 N. Maple and 1718 Calvin – and demolishing an existing single-family home and detached garages there. Two 3-story apartment buildings would be built with a 64-space parking lot and eight bike spaces. The project also includes building a private street to serve seven new single-family houses near Calvin Street, but with an entrance off of North Maple. According to a staff memo, there will be no access to Calvin Street, which “is a private street with a checkered history regarding access rights.” The apartment complex would have a separate entrance, also off of North Maple.

Each apartment building would contain a total of 18 one-and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 745 to 1,057 square feet. The plan calls for each apartment building to have a rooftop patio for use by residents, with the possibility of a vegetated cover (green roof) for the remainder of the roof surface. The staff memo noted that the city has requested a $26,660 parks contribution, but the developer has declined to make that contribution.

The site has two zoning designations, which the project accommodates. The east half of the parcel, adjacent to North Maple, is zoned O (office), but residential uses are permitted as long as the project conforms to the area, height and placement regulations of office zoning. The maximum height allowed is 55 feet, but the proposed apartment buildings would be 44 feet tall. The western half of the site, where the single-family homes are planned, is zoned R1C (single-family residential).

Site plans for two previous projects had been approved by the city – in 2005 and 2008 – but neither project was built. Planning staff had recommended approval of this current project. It will now be forwarded to the city council for consideration.

A homeowner from the neighborhood spoke during a public hearing on the project and raised several concerns about the apartment portion, including concerns about crime. Bona floated the possibility of postponing action on the proposal until crime statistics could be provided by the Ann Arbor police department, but she did not make a formal motion to that effect. Some commissioners expressed dissatisfaction with other aspects of the project – which conformed with the city’s zoning codes – including the fact that no sidewalk will be built along the private lane.

This brief was filed from the second-floor council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron St., where the planning commission holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link]