Stories indexed with the term ‘Ann Arbor Township’

Greenbelt Commission Seeks New Members

Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission meeting (May 2, 2013): This month’s GAC meeting was highlighted by remarks from a likely new member – Stephanie Buttrey, an engineer and retired Chrysler executive. She’s being nominated to serve out the remainder of Liz Rother’s term through June 30, 2014, and is expected to be confirmed by the city council on May 6.

Christopher Taylor, Stephanie Buttrey, Ginny Trocchio, Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Ann Arbor city councilmember Christopher Taylor, Stephanie Buttrey and Ginny Trocchio, who provides staff support for the Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission. Taylor serves on GAC, and Buttrey is being nominated to the commission. When asked by GAC chair Dan Ezekiel, Taylor and Buttrey reported that they did not coordinate their choice of pink shirts. (Photos by the writer.)

Buttrey told commissioners that she’s a 50-year Ann Arbor resident and University of Michigan graduate who’s interested in land preservation. Dan Ezekiel – GAC’s chair – said she’ll bring common sense, business acumen and knowledge to the commission.

Ezekiel also noted that there are other vacancies that need to be filled. GAC’s June 6 meeting will be the last one for him and two other term-limited commissioners – Tom Bloomer and Laura Rubin. “So all of you people watching us breathlessly on TV, please send in your applications,” he said. [.pdf of application form for city boards and commissions]

GAC’s May 2 meeting was also attended by Barry Lonik, a land conservation consultant who is representing Ann Arbor Township in a possible greenbelt deal. He was invited into the commission’s closed session to share communications about the property.

When commissioners emerged from the closed session, they unanimously voted to recommend that the city council pursue the purchase of development rights for two properties, including one in Ann Arbor Township. Before appearing on the city council’s agenda, details of proposed greenbelt acquisitions are not made public. Parcels are identified only by their application number.

At the end of the meeting, Ezekiel marked the recent death of Charles Braun, describing him as a very influential leader in the local farm community. Braun’s property – a 286-acre farm in Ann Arbor Township – has been preserved as part of the Ann Arbor greenbelt program. [Full Story]

Two Township Lots Set for Annexation

The Ann Arbor planning commission recommended annexing two adjacent parcels into the city from Ann Arbor Township, and zoning them for residential use. The action took place in two separate votes at the commission’s April 16, 2013 meeting. Both properties would be located in Ward 1.

The 21,888-square-foot lot owned by Derek & Anna Weller is located at 2119 Victoria Circle, between Springwood Court and Alexandra Boulevard and west of Newport Road. Currently vacant, it would be zoned R1A (single-family residential). The owner plans to build a house on the site. [.pdf of aerial map showing lot location]

The second property at 2121 Victoria Circle, owned by William & Maura Higgins, is a 22,256-square-foot parcel located north of the other lot. … [Full Story]

State St. Annexation OK’d, Zoning Delayed

At its Aug. 16, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor planning commission recommended that two parcels located in Ann Arbor Township “islands” – 1643 and 1645 S. State St., south of Stimson and next to the Produce Station – be annexed into the city of Ann Arbor. The annexation request will now move forward to the city council for approval. A request to zone the properties as C3 (fringe commercial district) was postponed.

The parcels cover about 0.6 acres and include four non-residential buildings. A new business – Biercamp Artisan Sausage and Jerky – is located at 1643 S. State, along with an auto repair shop and furniture manufacturer. The building at 1645 S. State is used for storage. The only speakers … [Full Story]

Greenbelt, County Look to Partner on Farms

Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission meeting (March 9, 2011): Changes to Washtenaw County’s natural areas preservation program (NAPP) now allow the county to buy development rights for farmland – a land preservation strategy also pursued by Ann Arbor’s greenbelt program.

Ginny Trocchio, Tom Freeman

Tom Freeman, deputy director of Washtenaw County parks & recreation, and Ginny Trocchio of The Conservation Fund distribute handouts to the Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission at GAC's March 9, 2011 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

Tom Freeman, deputy director for the county’s parks & recreation department, gave commissioners an update on this new aspect of NAPP, which is funded by a 10-year millage that voters renewed in November 2010. He discussed with commissioners areas of overlap between the two programs, and the potential for future partnerships as NAPP’s farmland protection efforts ramp up.

Prompted by a question from GAC chair Jennifer S. Hall, Freeman also updated commissioners about the county’s plans to apply for a grant from the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Trust Fund. The grant would help the county buy a parcel in Ann Arbor Township now owned by a subsidiary of Domino’s Farms. The land, which has water and sewer hookups that make it prime for development, is near three other parcels of already preserved property: the county’s Goodrich Preserve; the University of Michigan’s Horner-McLaughlin Woods; and the city-owned Marshall Nature Area. Freeman explained some complicating factors in the acquisition, including two widely divergent appraisals – for $1.9 million and $3.25 million – and the fact that the land is at the center of ongoing litigation between the township and the landowner.

When Hall floated the idea that the greenbelt commission could send a letter of support for the county’s application, Carsten Hohnke cautioned against it. Hohnke, who serves on both GAC and city council, said the city also plans to apply to the trust fund for two projects. [He didn't identify the projects during the meeting. In a follow-up email to The Chronicle, Colin Smith, the city's parks & recreation manager, reported that the applications would be for a skatepark and upgrades to the Gallup canoe livery and park.]

Hohnke felt the county’s application could dilute the city’s chances for success, though it was pointed out to him that the county and city would be applying to two separate pools of funding – the county plans to ask for a grant available for land acquisitions, while the city’s projects are in the category of project development grants. Ultimately, commissioners voted to recommend that the city council consider sending a letter of support for the county’s application. Councilmembers would need to act at their next regular meeting on March 21 – the deadline to apply is April 1.

Also at GAC’s March 9 meeting, commissioner Tom Bloomer – who owns Bur Oaks Farm in Webster Township – reported on a plan to eliminate state tax credits for farmers. It’s part of a broader budget proposal by Gov. Rick Snyder to cut many of the tax incentives currently offered by the state – the most high profile of which is for the film industry. Eliminating the credits for farming could make it unprofitable to farm in this area, Bloomer said. [Full Story]