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.
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.