Zoning for AAHC North Maple Project OK’d

The rezoning required for an Ann Arbor Housing Commission project – a 4.8-acre site at 701 N. Maple Road – has been given final approval by the city council at its Aug. 18, 2014 meeting. The zoning will change from R1C (single-family dwelling district) to R4B (multi-family dwelling district). The site plan, which has been shifted to the Sept. 2 agenda, calls for demolishing 20 existing single-family homes – the public housing complex known as North Maple Estates – and constructing an eight-building, 42-unit apartment complex with a total of 138 bedrooms.

A related item on the Aug. 18 agenda, which was also given approval by the council, was the vacation of a portion of the city’s right-of-way for Seybold Drive.

The Ann Arbor planning commission recommended all three items for approval at its meeting on June 17, 2014. The council gave initial approval of the rezoning at its July 7, 2014 meeting.

North Maple Estates, Ann Arbor housing commission, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of North Maple Estates site, outlined in green.

The project is part of a major renovation effort by the Ann Arbor Housing Commission of several of its properties. The site is on the west side of North Maple, between Dexter Avenue and Hollywood Drive. [.pdf of staff report]

The units in the eight-building, 42-unit apartment complex are proposed to have a total of 138 bedrooms. The units range in size from one bedroom to five bedrooms.

The project will include a playground, community building and 73 parking spaces. According to a staff memo, the buildings will be located along a T-shaped driveway that connects to North Maple Road and Dexter Avenue. The drive extends northward toward Vine Court but does not connect with that street. There would be a new connection to Dexter Avenue through the remaining, undeveloped length of Seybold Drive.

The project also requires the city to vacate a portion of the right-of-way for Seybold Drive. The surrounding land is owned by the housing commission, the land will become part of the housing commission property. In a separate vote, the planning commission also recommended approving that request.

When the project was in front of the planning commission, planning staff noted three issues that need to be resolved before the project gets approval from city council:

The parcel containing two duplex buildings also owned by the Ann Arbor Housing Commission in the northeast corner of the site must be combined with the subject site, forming a single parcel as a requirement for issuance of any permits.

The legal description and comparison chart data must be confirmed to include the duplex parcel.

The northern-most parking stall, nearest the connection to Vine Court, must be relocated outside of the minimum front setback area.

According to the staff memo, after June 3 the city’s traffic engineer reviewed the proposed new connection from Seybold Drive onto Dexter Avenue, and concluded that sight distances from all approaches are acceptable. He suggested that the pavement markings on Dexter should be refreshed.

The reconstruction of North Maple Estates is part of an ongoing effort by the housing commission to upgrade the city’s housing stock for low-income residents. At the planning commission’s May 6, 2014 meeting, AAHC executive director Jennifer Hall had made a presentation about the initiative, which includes seeking private investors through low-income housing tax credits.

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