AAA Gets Initial OK for Parking Zoning

At its April 16, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave initial approval to a proposal from AAA Michigan to rezone half of a parcel located at 1200 S. Main to P (parking). To take effect, the initial approval from the city council will need to be followed by a second and final approval following a public hearing at a subsequent meeting.

The rezoning to P (parking) is part of a two-parcel site plan proposal – for which the city planning commission provided a positive recommendation at its March 6, 2012 meeting. At that meeting, the commission took two votes on the 1200 S. Main parcel – the site plan and the rezoning proposal. And on both votes, the planning commission split 6-3. For the other, adjacent parcel at 1100 S. Main, the city planning commission voted unanimously to recommend the site plan for approval.

In front of the city council on April 16, however, was just the resolution to rezone a portion of the 1200 S. Main parcel to P (parking). The council’s initial approval of the rezoning was unanimous.

The two parcels, at 1100 and 1200 S. Main, are across from Michigan Stadium. An AAA branch built in the 1950s is located there. The owner wants to build a new branch on a different part of the site, tear down the existing building, and reconfigure parking spaces.

The two parcels are part of a 1.5-acre site containing four parcels owned by the auto club and all zoned O (office). Located on the 1200 S. Main parcel is the current one-story branch building with walk-out basement and 36 parking spaces, with exits onto South Main, Berkley and Potter.

The 1100 S. Main site is a surface parking lot, which has 72 spaces and exits onto both Potter and Keech. The owner is requesting to build a one-story, 5,443-square-foot new branch building on the northeast corner of that site, with parking for 21 spaces. A second phase of the project would include an eventual 2,230-square-foot addition to the south side of that building. There are six landmark trees on the site, and the plan would require removal of two that are located along South Main, near Keech. Other trees would be added elsewhere on the site.

After the new structure is completed, the old building at 1200 S. Main would be torn down and a 14-space parking lot would be put on that parcel. And to do that, the proposal asks that the northern 123 feet of that parcel – about half of the parcel – be rezoned from O (office) to P (parking), so that parking could become the principal use for that site. A site plan for that parcel is also required. The rezoning to P (parking) is what the city council considered on April 16.

The owner’s overall plan called for a total of 35 spaces – a reduction from the current parking on the site, which was approved in the mid-1970s but no longer conforms with existing zoning. The 35 spaces would be four more spaces than the 31 maximum number permitted under the O (office) zoning, based on the new building’s square footage in both phases. That’s why the owner requested that a portion of the overall site be rezoned for parking – in the P (parking) district, there is no maximum.

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]