Council OKs $600K for Ann Arbor Housing Commission

Three resolutions supporting the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s work to renovate its housing stock have been given approval by the Ann Arbor city council: a $600,000 transfer from the city’s affordable housing fund to AAHC; approval of a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for AAHC properties; and approval of a 50% waiver of fees for capital improvement projects to be undertaken by AAHC.

The three actions were taken at the city council’s April 21, 2014 meeting.

By way of background, at its March 3, 2014 meeting, the council had directed the city administrator to prepare a budget resolution that would allocate $600,000 from the city’s affordable housing trust fund to support the AAHC’s plan to renovate its properties.

That allocation was to be contingent on the closing of the sale of the former Y lot to Dennis Dahlmann, as the net proceeds of that sale were to be deposited into the city’s affordable housing trust fund. The sale of the property closed on April 2, with net proceeds of roughly $1.4 million. So the $600,000 transfer out of the affordable housing trust fund was approved by the council at its April 21 meeting.

Also approved by the council at the same meeting was the reduction of planning and development fees associated with two of the capital renovation efforts being undertaken by the AAHC – at North Maple Estates and Platt Road.

Rendering of North Maple Ann Arbor Housing Commission property after renovation.

Rendering of North Maple Ann Arbor Housing Commission property after renovation.

The current AAHC complex at 701-739 North Maple – north of Dexter Avenue, on the west side of North Maple – consists of 19 single-family homes with a total of 85 bedrooms, as well as two three-bedroom duplexes with a total of 12 bedrooms. AAHC executive director Jennifer Hall has described the 21-unit complex as the busiest of AAHC’s properties.

The housing at North Maple was built at the lowest portions of the site, while an asphalt basketball court is at the highest point. The current configuration does not make sense from the perspective of drainage and stormwater management.

The AAHC is proposing to demolish the existing buildings at North Maple site and replace them with a small community building and 42 new units ranging in size from 1 bedroom to 5 bedrooms.

A community center would be centrally located on the west side of the site, and parking will be located adjacent to each of the buildings.

Rendering of Lower Platt Ann Arbor Housing Commission property after renovation.

Rendering of Lower Platt Ann Arbor Housing Commission property after renovation.

The AAHC property described as Lower Platt is located at 3451-3457 Platt – on the east side of Platt Road, north of Belvidere. Currently, there are four single-family houses at that site, each with five bedrooms.

Three of those houses are in the floodway, and the water table is higher than the basements. When it rains, the properties flood. The plan is to tear down the existing buildings, and rebuild 12 new townhomes further north on the same site, on land that’s currently vacant.

In addition, there’s a strip of vacant city-owned land on the west side of Platt, north of Verle and south of Sharon. The land runs from Platt over to Springbrook. The development plan calls for building four duplexes there – a total of eight units – with two duplexes accessed from Platt, and the other two accessed from Springbrook.

For the North Maple and Lower Platt projects, the city would ordinarily assess fees for site plan approval, zoning approval and street vacation. Those charges break down as follows, for a total of $22,705:

  • North Maple: $8,995 for site plan approval; $1,425 for zoning approval; and $2,565 for street vacation.
  • Lower Platt: $8,295 for site plan approval; $1,425 for zoning approval.

But under Chapter 55, Section 5:108 of Ann Arbor city code, those fees may be reduced by resolution of the city council by up to 50% of the specified fees – if the reduction is based on a finding that the development would provide affordable housing for lower-income households. That’s what the council agreed to do.

At its April 21 meeting, the city council also authorized a payment in lieu of taxes for AAHC properties at North Maple Estates, North Maple Duplexes, Lower Platt, Broadway, and White/State/Henry apartments. The period for which property taxes are being waived – under Section 15(a) of the State Housing Development Authority Act and Chapter 19, Section 1:651 of Ann Arbor City Code – is 50 years. In lieu of taxes, a $1 service charge must be paid.

The $600,000 authorized by the city council in support of AAHC’s renovation efforts comes after the April 2, 2014 vote by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board to grant $600,000 over a three-year period to AAHC for renovation of its downtown and near-downtown properties at Baker Commons and Miller Manor.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.