Stories indexed with the term ‘Ann Arbor city planning commission’

Platt Road Housing Project Partially Delayed

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Aug. 6, 2014): Ann Arbor city planning commissioners took mixed action on a proposed Ann Arbor housing commission (AAHC) property.

From left: Scott Betzoldt of Midwestern Consulting, Ann Arbor Housing Commission executive director Jennifer Hall, and project architect for AAHC's proposed development at 3451 Platt Road.

From left: Scott Betzoldt of Midwestern Consulting, Ann Arbor housing commission executive director Jennifer Hall, and John Mouat, project architect for AAHC’s proposed development at 3451 Platt Road.

They sent the rezoning request for the 3451 Platt Road property – R1C (single-family dwelling district) and R2A (two-family dwelling district) to R4B (multi-family dwelling district) – to the city council with a recommendation of approval. However, commissioners postponed consideration of the site plan for the five-building, 32-unit project, amid concerns about the site’s location in the floodplain and stormwater management.

Zoning and site plan approval must ultimately be given by the city council. However, the zoning approval will require two votes by the council at two separate meetings – because changes to the zoning code are actually changes to a city ordinance. So the delay on the approval of the site plan would not necessarily delay the project, as long at the site plan is put in front of the council for consideration by the time the council takes a second vote on the rezoning.

AAHC is hoping that the zoning and site plan approval can be obtained from the city council by sometime in mid-October, because that will help support a grant application.

Several residents who live near the proposed site spoke against the project during the public hearing on Aug. 6, while advocates for more affordable housing spoke in support of it. That public hearing will be continued when the site plan is next taken up by the commission.

The question of whether those speakers will be allowed to speak again at that same public hearing is the type of issue that was addressed in a different item handled by the commission at its Aug. 6 meeting. The commission approved revisions to its bylaws, including one stipulating that people who have already spoken at a public hearing can speak at a continuation of that public hearing only at the discretion of the planning commission chair – or if a proposal has changed in a material way between the initial portion of the hearing and the continued portion.

Revisions to the planning commission bylaws will be forwarded to the city council for approval. [Full Story]

Commission OKs Arbor Hills Crossing

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Oct. 18, 2011): In its main business of the evening, the planning commission recommended approval of the site plan for Arbor Hills Crossing, a proposed retail and office complex at Platt and Washtenaw.

Action had been postponed at the commission’s June 7, 2011 meeting so that the developer – Campus Realty – could address some outstanding issues with the plan.

Arbor Hills Crossing rendering viewed from northeast at Washtenaw Avenue and Platt Road.

A rendering of Arbor Hills Crossing at the southeast corner of Washtenaw Avenue and Platt Road – three of the buildings front Washtenaw. (Image links to higher resolution .pdf)

Commissioners were satisfied with the revisions the developer had undertaken to the plan in response to their comments made at the June 7 meeting. Commissioner Bonnie Bona characterized the site plan as essentially a disguised strip shopping center, but allowed that it was a good strip shopping center.

Arbor Hills Crossing will next go before the city council for its approval.

The commission also granted three separate requests for flexible application of the new landscape ordinance approved by the city council in June 2011. Those requests were from: (1) Gallup One Stop gas station and convenience store; (2) the University of Michigan Credit Union (formerly the Ann Arbor News building); and (3) Glacier Hills.

The commission meeting included its usual range of updates on city council and planning staff activity. [Full Story]

“No” to Sausage, “Not Yet” to Bank

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Sept. 8, 2011): At its Thursday meeting – held later in the week than usual because of the Labor Day holiday – commissioners had two main business items on the agenda, and did not recommend in favor of the petitioner for either of them. In one case the commission put off a decision, and in the other commissioners took a vote on the issue.

Biercamp Ann Arbor planning commission

Walt Hansen, co-owner of Biercamp Artisan Sausage and Jerky, retrieves a copy of the agenda before the start of the Sept. 8 planning commission meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The commission put off a decision on a proposal from University Bank to increase the number of allowable employees from 50 to 59 at its headquarters on Washtenaw Avenue and to add 14 parking spaces to a new lot on the site. The headquarters is located in what’s known as the Hoover Mansion.

In October 2010, the commission had put off a decision on University Bank’s proposal as well, faced with a recommendation against approval from city planning staff and opposition from some neighbors. This time around, a consensus appeared to have been reached – among planning staff, neighbors and bank officials – to accommodate neighbors’ concerns. However, the commission was reluctant to make a recommendation, because the final site plan had not yet been submitted. The consensus had been achieved only a week ago, on Sept. 1. The vote to postpone, likely until the commission’s next meeting on Sept. 20, was unanimous.

The commission did make a recommendation on a proposal from Walt Hansen and Hannah Cheadle – the owners of Biercamp Artisan Sausage and Jerky – to rezone the property at 1643 and 1645 S. State St., south of Stimson and next to the Produce Station. The parcels currently house the couple’s sausage business as well as an auto repair shop and furniture manufacturer. The commission found the proposed rezoning inconsistent with the city’s master plan and recommended against it.

In connection with the property’s annexation into the city from Ann Arbor Township, the Biercamp owners had wanted to rezone the property to C3 (fringe commercial district). That zoning designation would allow their business to sell a wider variety of merchandise, in addition to the sausage and jerky products they make on site. The recommendation against approval will be forwarded to the city council.

Commissioners offered a glimmer of possibility that commercial zoning for the Biercamp parcel could result from a study of the entire State Street corridor and a revision to the city’s master plan.

At the meeting, commissioners also got an update on future planning-connected events, including a Grand Rapids planning conference that commissioners might want to attend, and visitors from Indonesia that the city is hosting through an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) sustainability fellows program.

The commission also received a heads up that on their Sept. 20 agenda would be a proposal for The Varsity at Ann Arbor, a proposed 13-story, 173-unit, 178,380-square-foot apartment building for approximately 418 students. It would include 77 parking spaces, and would replace the two-story office building and parking lot currently on the site. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor OKs COW for Football Games

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Aug. 3, 2011): On the day after city council primary elections, the planning commission had a light agenda, which featured only two action items.

View from Tower

View from the planned location of the "cell on wheels" – the northeast corner of the Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club parking lot – looking north toward the football stadium. (Photos by the writer.)

First, the commission approved a site plan by Verizon for a temporary cellular tower to be set up on the property of the Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club, near Main and Stadium. The cell on wheels (COW) will boost service during the University of Michigan home football games.

Second, the commission approved a minor revision to its bylaws. Instead of reviewing its work plan in December, the work plan review will come in May each year.

The commission also got an update from its city council representative, and a heads-up on future issues through an announcement of public hearings.

The hearings include one on zoning and annexation into the city of property on South State Street where Biercamp Artisan Sausage and Jerky has opened for business. [Full Story]

Carlberg Exits Planning Commission

After a 16-year tenure, Jean Carlberg attended her last meeting as an Ann Arbor planning commissioner on Tuesday, June 14 – a working session held in the city council workroom at city hall.

Carlberg is a Democrat whose 12 years on city council  (1994-2006) representing Ward 3 overlapped with her time on the planning commission. She will not be serving on any other city government boards or commissions, at least for the moment. She is a board member of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of groups working to end homelessness in the county.

Carlberg indicated that she had talked with mayor John Hieftje about a year ago about her decision not to seek reappointment. The mayor is responsible for … [Full Story]

Design Review Changes to City Code OK’d

At its April 5, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor planning commission unanimously recommended approval of amendments to the city code that establish a design review board and design review procedures for certain downtown properties.

The city council had approved design guidelines at their Feb. 7, 2011 meeting, as well as a temporary design review committee, but asked the planning staff and planning commission to draft ordinances that would lay out details of a design review program in the city’s code. The review process would take place before the mandatory citizen participation meeting, so that the design review board’s comments could be incorporated into the project’s design before it’s presented to citizens. Though the review process is mandatory, developers aren’t required to act on the review board’s recommendations.

This brief was filed from the boardroom in the Washtenaw County administration building, where the planning commission is meeting due to renovations in the city hall building. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]