Planning Group OKs MichCon Remediation

A site plan for remediation of the MichCon property at 841 Broadway was unanimously approved by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its May 15, 2012 meeting. The proposal was made in conjunction with a site plan for a new DTE Buckler electrical substation on the opposite side of Broadway. Planning commissioners voted to postpone action on that site plan at the same May 15 meeting. MichCon is a subsidiary of DTE.

The MichCon site plan approval is contingent on three things: (1) obtaining variances from the city’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA) to exempt MichCon from providing a new stormwater management system; (2) obtaining a Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) permit for work within the floodplain and Huron River; and (3) indicating water main and storm sewer easements on the site plan and providing the city with legal descriptions for those easements prior to the city issuing grading permits.

The remediation site plan entails removing 1,155 cubic yards of earth on the MichCon property, including the site’s most heavily contaminated soil. The company would get another 55 cubic yards of “floodplain mitigation credit” as a result of removing a building on the site. The remediation is intended to offset impact on the Huron River floodplain that’s expected when DTE brings in 800 cubic yards of soil to build raised transformer pads at the new Buckler substation.

According to a staff memo, a ZBA variance is needed to exempt the company from building new stormwater detention systems. Because contaminated soil will remain on the site after remediation, the company has indicated that installing new detention systems would be harmful to groundwater and the Huron River. Detention systems would not be required if impervious surfaces were removed on the site. However, removing impervious surfaces would allow contaminants in the soil to leach into the Huron River and groundwater. The proposal calls for leaving the existing impervious surfaces in place to provide a cap on contaminated soils.

The MichCon remediation requires only approval of the planning commission, and does not require action by city council.

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