Maple Cove Gets Ann Arbor Council OK

At its July 16, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved the site plan for the Maple Cove development 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.

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 project has a somewhat unusual history. Planning commissioners originally approved it at their March 20, 2012 meeting. But that vote was rescinded because Scio Township residents on Calvin Street had not been included in an original public notice mailed out for the commission’s March meeting.

There were no changes to the plan in the interim period, but at their May 1, 2012 meeting, commissioners voted to postpone action to get more information from the traffic engineer about whether the proposed two separate entrances to the property created a health, safety and welfare hazard. According to city planning staff, the city’s traffic engineer raised some concerns, but he subsequently confirmed that the site plan – with two entrances off of North Maple – does conform with city code.

Planning commissioners ultimately approved the project at their June 5 meeting on a unanimous vote, but three of the nine commissioners – Bonnie Bona, Evan Pratt and Kirk Westphal – were absent. Bona and Eric Mahler had dissented on the commission’s March 20 original approval. Part of their objection stemmed from concern that no sidewalks were planned for the private street. At the Sunday night city council caucus held on July 15, the project’s developer indicated the possibility that the private street portion of the project might be sold to another developer – and that developer would have the option to submit a revised site plan that includes sidewalks.

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]