DDA: Varsity Gets 7 Parking Spaces

The Varsity, a residential high-rise building at 425 E. Washington St. in downtown Ann Arbor, has been granted the right to purchase five additional monthly parking permits in the public parking system, bringing its total to seven.

The right to purchase monthly parking permits – under the city’s “contribution in lieu” program – is administered by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. The action came at the DDA board’s June 5, 2013 meeting.

The DDA had previously approved two permits for The Varsity, which is a 13-story, 173-unit, 178,380-square-foot apartment building for approximately 418 people. Construction is nearing completion, with plans to open by the fall.

The project needs to provide a total of 76 parking spaces. That parking is required in order to qualify under the city’s zoning code for the additional floor area that the project contains, beyond a basic 400% floor area ratio (FAR). If the parking is not provided onsite, a developer can 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 Varsity’s developer had originally planned to meet part of the 76-space requirement with spaces that were assigned to a car-sharing service. That arrangement fell through. And the developer lost a space due to physical constraints related to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance.

That led to the request for an additional five spaces, for a total of seven for The Varsity, which the DDA board approved at on June 5. DDA board member Keith Orr offered the sole vote of dissent. He characterized it as a “gadfly” vote to remind the board that it needs to formulate a general policy on the issue.

The Varsity is the second project to use the parking CIL. On Oct. 3, 2012 the DDA board voted to approve the purchase of up to 42 monthly permits by the 624 Church St. project, another residential development.

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]