Varsity Allowed to Purchase Parking Permits

The Varsity residential development has been granted the right to purchase two monthly permits in Ann Arbor’s public parking system, in order to satisfy the project’s 76-space parking requirement under the city’s zoning regulations. The project, located on East Washington Street, is a 13-story, 173-unit, 178,380-square-foot apartment building for approximately 418 people. Construction on the project is well underway.

The vote by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board came at its Jan. 9, 2013 meeting. The DDA manages the public parking system – including parking permits – under contract with the city. The DDA in turn subcontracts out the day-to-day parking operations to Republic Parking.

The developer of The Varsity had originally planned to satisfy its parking requirement through a contract with Zipcar, a car sharing service. That arrangement turned out not to be feasible.

The purchase of the two monthly permits will be arranged through the city’s contribution in lieu (CIL) program, which allows a developer to meet a parking requirement by making an upfront payment of $55,000 per space or by purchasing monthly permits in the public parking system for an extra 20% of the current rate for such permits – with a commitment of 15 years.

The D1 zoning district where The Varsity is located does not have a parking requirement for construction that has less than a 400% floor area ratio (FAR). However, if a development exceeds 400% FAR – which is allowed for projects that include residential units – then parking spaces must be provided. The number of spaces provided is based on a formula of 1 space per 1,000 square feet in excess of 400% FAR.

The approval of the Varsity’s monthly permits is just the second time the CIL program has been invoked. On Oct. 3, 2012 the DDA voted to approve the purchase of up to 42 monthly permits by the 624 Church St. project, another residential development.

The specific parking structure where the permits can be purchased has not been determined for either of the two projects. The topic of location – and the idea that a general policy should be developed to guide the choice of parking structure for permits sold under the CIL program – was part of the DDA’s operations committee meeting on Dec. 19, 2012.

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301 – where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]