Stories indexed with the term ‘development’

New Citizen Participation Tools Reviewed

Ann Arbor planning commission working session (Aug. 12, 2014): Planning commissioners gave feedback on new guides that staff have developed for residents and developers, aimed at improving communication about proposed development projects.

Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Excerpt from a draft guide being developed by the city’s planning staff. It was reviewed at the planning commission’s Aug. 12 working session.

The “Citizens’ Guide to Effective Communication” and “Developers’ Guide to Leading Effective Citizen Participation Meetings” were drafted by planning staff, based in part on suggestions from the planning commission’s citizen outreach committee.

Two other outreach documents were reviewed at the Aug. 12 working session – a guide to the city’s site plan review process, and a template for postcard notifications of citizen participation meetings.

In addition to giving feedback on those draft documents and how they might be distributed, commissioners discussed how to improve the effectiveness of mandatory citizen participation meetings and the reports that developers must provide based on those meetings.

The citizen participation meetings are held for all major projects, a requirement that’s been in place since the city council enacted a citizen participation ordinance in 2008. An evaluation of that ordinance was supposed to have been done five years ago. However, there had been a lull in development soon after the ordinance was passed. Planning manager Wendy Rampson told commissioners that now there have been a sufficient number of projects to evaluate, and to possibly make some thoughtful changes to the code. [Full Story]

State Street Village Gets Council OK

Approval of the site plan and rezoning of land for the State Street Village project at 2221-2223 S. State St. has been given by the Ann Arbor city council.

The 4.5-acre parcel will be rezoned from M1 (limited industrial district) to O (office district). It’s a $10 million project by Ann Arbor-based McKinley Inc. The plan calls for constructing two 4-story apartment buildings at the rear of the site, totaling 112,262 square feet, with 38 units each. Another 2,027 square foot building – for a leasing office with two apartments above it – will be built on the front of the parcel, on South State.

[Full Story]

Development: Council OKs 3 Site Plans

Three different site plans were approved by the Ann Arbor city council at its April 21, 2014 meeting: Concordia University’s proposed gym expansion; an expansion of an office building on Collingwood; and the overhaul of a Shell station on South State.

A site plan to expand the existing Concordia University gym was approved by the city council with scant discussion, but with thanks expressed by Jane Lumm (Ward 2) Concordia University CEO Curt Gielow.

Concordia University, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of Concordia campus.

The plan also includes reconfiguring nearby parking lots and stormwater management features on the 187-acre site at … [Full Story]

N. Fourth Avenue

Whenever a developer coyly shows a birds-eye rendering (or says “townhouse”), expect this: [photo]

Packard Square Revisions Finally OK’d

Approval of changes to the Packard Square project – which is proposed to redevelop the former Georgetown Mall – has now been given by the Ann Arbor city council. The site plan – given original approval on May 2, 2011 – calls for demolition of the existing buildings, and construction of a mixed-use development consisting of 23,858 square feet of retail, up to 230 apartment units, and structured parking.

The changes, given approval by the council at its Jan. 7, 2013 meeting, alter the facade of the building by reducing the number of balconies by one-third, replacing some brick with Hardi-board siding, changing windows, and changing the color of the siding. The council’s approval came after postponing the matter a month … [Full Story]

Miller btw Miner and Fountain

The days are numbered for a final view of Burton Memorial Tower at the top of the hill heading into downtown. It is now behind the steel framework erected for the latest student highrise on Huron.

Heritage Row Status Update

At its Feb. 7, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council offered a 90-day window during which developer Alex de Parry could resubmit his planned unit development (PUD) Heritage Row project with a reduction in the required submittal fees from around $5,000 to $2,000. The project has previously been rejected by the city council multiple times in different guises.

That 90-day window ended last Monday, May 9, without a resubmission by de Parry, according to city of Ann Arbor planning staff. The project could still be submitted to the city for review, but would not enjoy the fee reduction offered by the city council in February. A public engagement meeting, which is required by city ordinance for new projects, was … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council OKs Packard Square

At its May 2, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council voted to approve the site plan and development agreement, as well as the brownfield redevelopment plan, for the Packard Square development, located at the site of the former Georgetown Mall. The development would include 230 apartment units, 23,790 square feet of retail space, 454 parking spaces and stormwater detention facilities.

At its March 15 meeting, the Ann Arbor city planning commission had unanimously recommended approval of the Packard Square site plan. [Chronicle coverage: "Packard Square, Fraternity Site Plan OK'd"]

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

Column: Library Lot – Bottom to Top

Editor’s note: Although the parcel immediately north of the Ann Arbor District Library’s downtown location is known as the Library Lot, it does not belong to the library, but rather to the city of Ann Arbor.

Last Thursday, news of a breach in the earth-retention system of a downtown Ann Arbor construction site had reached all the way to Detroit’s Channel 4 News. Channel 4 sent a crew Friday evening to file a report. It was tagged on the Channel 4 website with the summary: “An Ann Arbor construction project is sinking, literally.” Chalk that up to the hyperbole of television news.

Library Lot conference center schematic, retaining wall

Top: View to the northeast along Fifth Avenue from Valiant Partners' concept for a conference center and hotel, proposed for the top of the Library Lot underground parking garage. Bottom: Breach in the earth retention system for the underground parking garage currently under construction on the Library Lot.

While the roughly 640-space underground parking garage, being built by Ann Arbor’s Downtown Development Authority, is not sinking in any way, a conference center and hotel proposal for the top of the underground structure might be sinking.

At first glance, the 190,000-square-foot project proposed by Valiant Partners Inc. seems like it’s on a path to approval by the city council. In November 2010, an advisory committee – charged with evaluating responses to a city of Ann Arbor request for proposals issued in late 2009 – finally settled on the Valiant proposal as the best of the six the city had received.

That decision came with the aid of Roxbury Group, a consultant hired to help evaluate the proposals and to negotiate an agreement with a developer. At an early March meeting of the advisory committee, a Roxbury representative presented a draft letter of intent, which had been worked out by Valiant and Roxbury, to be signed by the city of Ann Arbor and Valiant. The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the city council consider the letter of intent.

Then, on March 14, the city council held a work session on the proposed conference center. The council heard essentially the same presentation about the letter of intent that Roxbury had made to the advisory committee. The council is scheduled to consider the letter formally at its second meeting in April, which is now scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, to accommodate the first night of Passover. The letter of intent calls for a development agreement to be presented to the city council within four months of signing the letter of intent – which would mean sometime near the end of August 2011.

But I think it’s clear at this point that a development agreement between Valiant and the city of Ann Arbor to develop the Library Lot would not achieve the necessary eight-vote majority for an actual real estate deal. That’s why I think the city council might vote down the letter of intent – even if there are at least six councilmembers who would support going forward with the letter, which is all it would take for the letter’s approval.

I base that conclusion on remarks made by councilmembers at the March 14 work session, and regular politics as reflected in the council’s history – both recent and ancient. But before considering politics, let’s dig into some really ancient history – the kind measured in geological time – to gain some additional insight into why a pile of dirt spilled unintentionally into the underground parking garage construction pit. [Full Story]

DDA-Led Development Stalls Again

At its March 7, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council again delayed action on a resolution that would have authorized the city’s downtown development authority to create a parcel-by-parcel plan for the development of downtown city-owned surface parking lots. The council had also considered but postponed a vote on the proposal at its Jan. 18, 2011 meeting. Objections at that meeting to the proposal included “resolved” clauses in the resolution that would (1) require placement of items on the city council’s agenda; and (2) under some circumstances require the city to reimburse the DDA for its expenses.

The postponement at the March 7 meeting was accomplished on a 10-1 vote, with Sandi Smith (Ward 1) casting the dissenting vote. Smith also serves on the DDA board. Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) noted that the DDA appeared to be interested in creating a contractual, binding relationship – instead of working based on city council and DDA board resolutions – and in light of that he wanted to postpone the issue until the council’s first meeting in April.

The two “mutually beneficial” committees of the city council and the DDA board met for the first time since the council’s Jan. 18 meeting on the morning of March 7, providing little lead time for the discussion by the whole council of the latest proposal. The committees are negotiating a revision to the contract under which the DDA manages the city’s public parking system, as well as a framework under which the DDA would lead the redevelopment of city-owned downtown surface parking lots.

At its Jan. 5 board meeting, the Ann Arbor DDA had passed a resolution urging passage of the council resolution, which had been circulated as early as the city council’s Dec. 20, 2010 meeting, when Taylor attached a copy of the the draft resolution to the council’s meeting agenda, and alerted his council colleagues to it at that meeting.

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

DDA Embraces Concept of Development Plan

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Jan. 5, 2011): The regular noon meeting of the DDA board on Wednesday afternoon lasted well under an hour. Its single piece of major business was passage of a resolution that expressed support for the concept of a DDA-led parcel-by-parcel development plan for downtown city-owned surface parking lots. The city council will likely be considering a resolution on Jan. 18 that articulates in some detail how the DDA would be authorized to implement the parcel-by-parcel plan.

Joan Lyke

Outgoing management assistant Joan Lyke was honored by the board with a resolution acknowledging her service to the DDA. She gave a few remarks on the subject of what she'd learned working at the DDA.

Following the regular board meeting was a board retreat that lasted until around 3 p.m. The board’s retreat focused on the contract under which the DDA manages the city’s parking system. It runs through 2015, but is being renegotiated so that the city receives more of the parking system’s revenue than is currently stipulated in the contract. The retreat will be left to a future Chronicle report.

Also left to a future report will be a third meeting held later Wednesday evening, which was tied to the DDA board meeting via the theme of surface parking lot development – though it was not a DDA meeting. It was hosted by First Hospitality Group Inc., a developer that’s proposing a new 9-story, 104-room hotel at the southeast corner of Division and Washington streets. Held at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library, the gathering satisfied the city’s citizen participation ordinance for new site plans.

Besides The Chronicle, four others attended all three meetings – DDA board chair Joan Lowenstein, chair of the downtown citizens advisory council Ray Detter, newly elected Ann Arbor library board member Nancy Kaplan, and Ann Arbor city councilmember Sabra Briere.  [Full Story]

Unscripted: Historic District, Immigration

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (July 6, 2010) Part 1: At its Tuesday night meeting, the city council rejected a recommendation to establish a historic district on Fourth and Fifth avenues south of William Street and north of Packard. The absence at the meeting of Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who was expected to support the district, did not have an impact on the outcome of the 4-6 vote.

Sabra Briere and Carsten Hohnke

Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) confer during a brief break at the city council meeting. After the break, Hohnke withdrew his motion that would have asked the council to consider the Heritage Row project for a third time in total, and for the second time at their July 6 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

Rejection of the district then set off a series of parliamentary procedures by the council. The actions were prompted by concern that without the protection afforded by the historic district, seven houses would be demolished through construction of an already-approved matter-of-right project (MOR), City Place.

So the council brought back for reconsideration a different project on the same site – Heritage Row, which the council had rejected at its previous meeting. A key feature of the Heritage Row project, which includes three new apartment buildings, is that it would also retain the seven houses.

The vote on the reconsideration of Heritage Row failed. That resulted in an attempt by Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) to have the council reconsider the historic district, which the council had just rejected. Hohnke’s council colleagues weren’t interested in revisiting the issue.

So Hohnke then began the parliamentary procedure to reconsider the Heritage Row project – for the second time that evening and for the third time total. The move required another rule suspension – this one concerning the number of times a question could be considered.

After a brief recess, however – during which Hohnke was apparently persuaded that developer Alex de Parry would not actually follow through and build the City Place MOR project – Hohnke withdrew his motion. A comment from Ann Arbor resident Ethel Potts, who attended the council meeting and who has witnessed more than four decades of city politics, summarized the sentiments of many in the audience: “As weird goes, this was pretty weird.”

A moratorium on demolition, which covers the area considered by the historic district study committee, will remain in place through Aug. 6. The council meets on Aug. 5, after the primary elections on Aug. 3.

In other business, the city council approved a resolution opposing legislation recently enacted by the state of Arizona that requires local law enforcement officials to investigate a person’s immigration status, when there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the U.S. unlawfully.

The council transacted a range of other business and communications as well. Those issues are covered in Part 2 of the July 6 meeting report. Part 1 focuses on the Arizona immigration law and the historic district. [Full Story]

Development Déjà Vu Dominates Council

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (June 21, 2010): Heritage Row is a proposed residential project that would have renovated seven older houses along South Fifth Avenue south of William Street, and constructed three new buildings behind the houses.

Alex de Parry

Developer Alex de Parry addresses the Ann Arbor city council in support of the Heritage Row project at council's June 21 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The number of houses to be renovated – called the “Seven Sisters” by some in the community who support their preservation – matched the number of votes the project received Monday night from the 11-member city council.

While that is a majority, the seven votes in favor of Heritage Row did not meet the eight-vote minimum that was required. The super-majority requirement came as a result of a protest petition that was successfully filed on the same day as the council’s last meeting, June 7. On that occasion, the council first considered this newest iteration of the project, but postponed it until their June 21 meeting.

The project rejected by the council on Monday in its 7-4 vote was a planned unit development (PUD), which would have required the city to amend its zoning. That leaves in play an already-approved earlier project at the same location, called City Place. City Place was authorized by the council last year as a “matter of right” (MOR) project – because it was judged to meet all applicable codes and zoning regulations.

The City Place (MOR) would demolish the seven houses and replace them with two apartment buildings separated by a parking lot. It’s a project that would be almost certainly denied by the city’s historic district commission – if a historic district were established in the area, as a study committee has recently recommended. The council is expected to make its final vote on the historic district at its July 6 meeting.

But the council gave its initial consideration to establishment of that historic district on Monday night. It’s more customary for councilmembers to vote for proposals on their first reading – to advance a proposal to a public hearing – even if they ultimately plan to vote against it. But Monday’s meeting saw three councilmembers already voting against establishing the district.

The council’s meeting also started off with the theme of historic preservation, as the city’s historic district commission presented its annual preservation awards.

In other business, the council gave a short extension to developer Village Green, which has an option-to-purchase agreement with the city for the city-owned parcel at First and Washington streets. The time for the extension is to be used to work with the city planning staff to put together milestones that need to be met. [Full Story]

Planning Commission: A Matter of Timing

Ann Arbor City Planning Commission (June 1, 2010): City planning commissioner Evan Pratt’s garden doesn’t have any deadlines attached to the work he does in it. So there might not be any corn this year, he says.


Mike Rein of Bowers + Rein spoke to the Ann Arbor city planning commission in opposition to eliminating time deadlines for planning commission and city council review of site plan submissions. (Photos by the writer.)

He was illustrating why he thought deadlines in the approval process for site plans and other petitions were a good idea.

But Pratt was the lone dissenter on the commission, which recommended that deadlines in the city’s zoning code be replaced with a standard of “reasonable time.”

The current deadlines apply to two different stages of site plan reviews. The first is the maximum time between the planning commission’s receipt of a report from city staff and the commission’s recommendation – 60 days. The second stage is the time between the planning commission’s recommendation and city council action – 30 days. The commission voted to recommend replacement of the deadlines with language that refers to a “reasonable” time.

Currently, if the bodies do not act within the prescribed time parameters, site plan petitions are considered to be recommended or approved automatically – by default. At its Tuesday meeting, the automatic approval language was recommended to be dropped from the city code.

The code changes regarding timing would now need city council approval in order to take effect.

The timing issue joins two other technical revisions to the city’s zoning code, which the planning commission voted to recommend at its previous meeting. Those revisions involve fee reimbursements associated with applications and a requirement that up-to-date drawings for site plans be publicly accessible 24/7 for a week prior to public hearings.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commission also heard a presentation from the city’s environmental coordinator, Matt Naud, on the city’s environmental indicators. Part of the background of the presentation was a recent joint meeting of the city’s planning, energy and environmental commissions that focused on sustainability. [Full Story]

Dispute over Superior Township Settlement

There’s broad consensus on open space and farmland preservation among Superior Township’s roughly 13,000 residents.

A sign opposing property rezoning in Superior Township

A sign opposing property rezoning in Superior Township. (Photos by the writer.)

It’s evident in words like those on a banner in the township hall touting a commitment to preservation. It’s evident in actions like voter approval of a special tax to defend the community’s growth-management plan.

But for all the agreement, there’s discord over the means to that end.

Rather than fighting a lawsuit they say they expected to win, township officials have struck a deal with a development group that sued after a zoning change was denied.

Disappointed residents say the settlement bails out the developers, and is a retreat from a strategy of enacting and defending a strong master plan and zoning. Township officials say buying land and development rights – as the $400,000 settlement deal will do – is the only sure way to end the battle for good.

The real goal isn’t a legal victory, but the conservation of the community’s rural character, says township supervisor Bill McFarlane. “I feel we would have won the lawsuit this time, but land values will eventually go up again and we could be fighting this again in a year, or two years or five years.” [Full Story]

Demolition Moratorium for Two-Block Area

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Aug. 6, 2009): Two kinds of moratoria were on council’s agenda for Thursday’s meeting – which had been rescheduled to accommodate the Aug. 4 Democratic primary elections in Wards 3 and 5. The first was a moratorium on new development in districts zoned with the classification of R4C (multi-family residential) or R2A (two-family residential). The second was a moratorium on demolition, attached to the creation of a study committee for a possible historic district in a two-block area just south of William Street on Fourth and Fifth avenues.

Council voted down the more general prohibition on new development in R4C/R2A residential districts, but approved the historic district study committee with its attached moratorium on demolition. It’s a case where the vote tally alone doesn’t tell the whole story – or even an accurate one: Counter to what one might expect, Mike Anglin (Ward 5) voted against the R4C/R2A moratorium, while Leigh Greden (Ward 3) voted for it.

A third major agenda item facing council was also related to new development: the Near North planned unit development (PUD) proposed for North Main Street just south of Summit Street, which is an affordable housing project that includes the nonprofit Avalon Housing as a partner. The council voted to move Near North on to a second reading, when a final decision will be made.

But probably the most important matter considered by council on Thursday appeared on the agenda as an “introduction” by the city’s chief financial officer, Tom Crawford, who spent around a half hour telling the city council why the city’s projected financial condition is worse now than it had been when the FY 2010 budget was adopted in the spring. Crawford’s presentation was characterized during commentary from the public later in the meeting as the “first salvo in a PR campaign” for a city income tax.

A bit of breaking news from Crawford’s report: bonds for the Fifth Avenue underground parking garage were issued on Aug. 5. [Full Story]

Demolition in Historic District?

At its Thursday meeting, Ann Arbor’s historic district commission gave approval for the demolition of a service station at Second & West Liberty streets.

Birds Eye View

The intersection of West Liberty and Second streets, looking north to south. (Image links to Microsoft's Bird's Eye View for additional detail.) The structures proposed for possible demolition are the corner service station and the two houses next door. The greenhouse space being marketed as destination retail is at the left of the frame, across the existing parking lot from the three structures proposed for demolition.

At its next meeting in March, the HDC will consider whether to give permission to proceed in demolishing two houses next door to the service station.

The permission for demolition was sought by Morningside Ann Arbor LLC, which developed the Liberty Lofts residential project in the former Eaton factory on the same block. Morningside’s reasons for seeking permission to demolish the three structures are related to another historic structure on the block: the former greenhouse space adjoining Liberty Lofts, which runs along First Street and the railroad tracks.

In order to market the former greenhouse space to retail tenants as having potential for more parking than the current 54 spaces, Morningside wants the option of expanding parking in the area where the three structures currently stand. [Full Story]

Building Coworking Space Brick By Brick


Michael Kessler queries potential users of coworking space at 118 S. Main about what they'd commit to and at what price. (Special thanks to Bill Merrill, who lent The Chronicle his camera.)

At noon on Tuesday, around 50 people gathered in the space at 118 S. Main St. to evaluate its potential as a place for coworking by independent operators. Coworking includes income-earning activity that ranges from people working solo in physical proximity with other independent workers, to collaboration with some of them on a single project – without belonging to a common business concern.

But it wasn’t just the physical space that people were keen to see (over a free catered lunch). They also wanted to know what Michael Kessler had in mind for the actual space-use agreements. Kessler has an arrangement with Ed Shaffran, who owns the Goodyear Building which houses the potential coworking space.

So what people wanted to know from Kessler on Tuesday was: What do you get, and how much does it cost? And what Kessler wanted to know from attendees was: Would you actually use this space, and how much would you pay? [Full Story]

City Staffers Brief Wall Street Neighbors

Ann Arbor University of Michigan

Eli Cooper, transportation program manager with the city of Ann Arbor, discusses the possible location of a transit center nestled between Fuller Road and East Medical Center Drive, just east of Fuller & Maiden Lane.

On Tuesday evening, way after hours at Northside Grill, a collection of city staff and city councilmembers met with around 40 residents to discuss the relationship of the University of Michigan with the city of Ann Arbor – both generally and with specific regard to the proposed UM expansion along Wall Street.

That construction is currently proposed to include an office building, parking structure and transit center. It was not news to neighbors that UM plays by a different set of rules (its own). What could have been a revelation were the general mechanisms by which city staff work in an environment where they can attempt to nudge UM to adhere to the vision outlined in the city’s planning documents – documents that were created with participation of UM staff.

So there were no magic bullets offered that could kill the parking structure component of the current UM Wall Street expansion. But the vision of a possible transit station along Fuller Road, which would include a substantial number of parking spaces serving a variety of needs, was held out as a possibility that could attract the university away from building more parking along Wall Street. That potential transit station would be nestled between Fuller Road and East Medical Center Drive, just east of Fuller & Maiden Lane.  [Full Story]

Feedback Wanted: Downtown Zoning Revisions

City of Ann Arbor systems planner Wendy Rampson responds to a question from Ed Walsh, a citizen who attended Monday's A2D2 briefing in city council chambers.

At a work session sometime in January 2009, city council is expected to discuss proposed zoning changes to downtown Ann Arbor, which have emerged from a process involving consultants, staff, and the public over more than two years. But before that, the A2D2 steering committee, which consists of Roger Hewitt (DDA), Marcia Higgins (city council) and Evan Pratt (planning commission), will meet in the Larcom Building’s sixth-floor conference room on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. to review comments and feedback accumulated to date. (That is a public meeting, but there is no public participation component.) [Full Story]

A2: Geeks Camp

On Dug Song thanks SPARK for providing space at SPARK Central to host Arbcamp 2008 on Thursday, December 18, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. According to the organizing page, “We hope to have [Arbcamp] feed the a2geeks conference in Spring 2009, and test the waters for an Ignite event, perhaps at the Michigan Theater, next year.” [Source]

Downtown Apartments to Have Public Hearing

Notice of public hearing on Oct. 7 held by the planning commission. In the background, fans of State Radio with Bongo Love in line at the Blind Pig

Notice of public hearing on Oct. 7 held by the planning commission. In the background, fans of State Radio with Bongo Love in line at the Blind Pig

Here at The Chronicle, we enjoy gleaning information off ratty telephone poles, whether it’s a flyer about an upcoming show played by Tokyo Sex Whale or something a bit more staid – like an announcement of a planning commission public hearing. The planning commission’s notices are easy to spot: bright orange poster board strapped to a nearby vertical object with gray duct tape. This public hearing concerns the Ann Arbor City Apartments project, which is coming before planning commission proposed as a Planned Unit Development (PUD). [Full Story]

Ann Arbor City, Place for Knitting

caption here

A dishrag knitted up in less than the time it took for planning commission to meet.

At the Sept. 4 planning commission meeting, the resolution to recommend City Place project – proposed along South Fifth Avenue as a PUD by Alex de Parry – failed with only two votes for it.

Under-reported generally, and specifically about that meeting, is the volume of knitted material that is produced during Ann Arbor public meetings by folks in the audience. And knitting is a great metaphor for framing some of the general issues laid out at the planning commission meeting with respect to the specific project. [Full Story]

Finding a Path to Geddes Ridge


There’s an asphalt path that runs from the entrance to Gallup Park along Geddes westward toward the Arb. Along the way it becomes a sidewalk.

Geddes Ridge private development

Geddes Ridge private development near the entrance to Gallup Park on Geddes Road.

Two weeks ago I pedaled east out Geddes Road to the Gallup Park entrance in search of a bench – or possibly just a plaque – that indicated the path was created in memory of someone. Even though I’d run past that marker many times, I no longer had a clear recollection whether it was a bench or a plaque, much less the actual name of … [Full Story]

Council to Start Early for Closed Session

The regularly-scheduled city council meeting for Sept. 8, 2008 will start at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. so that council can go into closed session. A phone call to the Larcom Building confirmed that the meeting would begin with a motion to go into closed session, that council would conduct its closed session, and then at 7 p.m. the meeting would start as it usually does, complete with its public commentary segment. [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: Ann Arbor Planning Commission (4 Sept 2008)

The City Place project, proposed along South Fifth Avenue just south of William Street, was brought tonight for a third time before the Ann Arbor Planning Commission by developer Alex de Parry. Although commissioners Joan Lowenstein and Craig Borum found enough about the revised proposal to give it their support, even they did so with no great enthusiasm – Lowenstein citing her sadness that the seven houses would be demolished, and Borum lamenting the “faux historical” architecture of the proposed project as harmful to the city.

With only two votes of support, the project was rejected. In the city staff summary of the project’s history, it was noted that City Place was first brought to the commission in January … [Full Story]