Action Postponed on U-Haul Expansion

A vote on a proposed expansion to the U-Haul business at 3655 S. State St., south of the I-94 interchange, was postponed by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its July 2, 2013 meeting. The city’s planning staff had recommended postponement so that the owner can address outstanding issues that had been raised by planning and engineering staff members.

The project calls for building a 1,246-square-foot addition to the front of the existing retail building. The expansion includes a new 4,994-square-foot, one-story warehouse and an 11,696-square-foot, one-story self-storage building. Both of the new buildings would be at the rear of the site and not visible from South State Street. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

A staff memo notes that this site was part of the area covered in the South State Street corridor plan, which the planning commission had voted to add to the city’s master plan at its May 21, 2013 meeting. That plan calls for office uses at that location in the future.The plan also recommends “enhanced non-motorized access to buildings, and aesthetic improvements recognizing State Street as a gateway corridor to the City,” according to the memo. The city council would also need to approve adding the corridor plan as a master plan element. However, councilmembers postponed action on that at their July 1, 2013 meeting, after Marcia Higgins said she had some concerns.

On July 2, planning commissioners spent about an hour raising concerns and asking questions before voting unanimously to postpone. Many of the issues related to landscaping, site visibility, and how the site will look from South State Street after the changes are made. A nearby property owner, Zakhour Youssef, sent an email to the commission complaining about the upkeep of the site, and said the property would be better used for an upscale development. [.pdf of Youssef email]

This brief was filed from the second floor council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]