Ann Arbor Buys Land By Bluffs Nature Area

On a 10-1 vote of the Ann Arbor city council, the purchase of a parcel located on the west side of the Bluffs Nature Area has been approved. The cost of the roughly 0.357-acre piece of vacant land located at 1240 Orkney – with a current SEV (state equalized value) of $49,200 – was $115,000. [SEV is based on 50% of market value.] Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) cast the lone dissenting vote.

Parcel on Orkney proposed for acquisition

Map showing a parcel on Orkney approved for acquisition by the city – the narrow parcel that’s highlighted in yellow.

The parcel is located immediately adjacent to the Bluffs Nature Area – in the north part of the city, near the confluence of North Main, M-14 and Huron River Drive. The parcel is intended to provide an additional access point to the nature area, from the west.

The total proposed appropriation of $128,000 in open space millage funds for purchasing the Orkney parcel included $3,000 in closing costs and $10,000 in due diligence. An environmental assessment would be done before the closing.

The vote on the Orkney parcel had been postponed from the council’s Feb. 19, 2013 meeting. Postponement came in the context of objections from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) on the cost of the land, and questions from other councilmembers about the need for access from the west side of the nature area.

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]