Stories indexed with the term ‘South University’

Forest & S. University

About 20 people in front of Landmark apartments, wearing neon yellow T-shirts and helping students move in. Forest Street parking structure is full. [photo]

DDA OKs $59,200 BIZ Grant for South University

A $59,200 grant to support the establishment of a business improvement zone (BIZ) for the South University area has been approved by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board. The action came at the board’s July 3, 2013 meeting. The money would be allocated only at specific milestone points.

A BIZ is a self-assessment district that can be established under Public Act 120 of 1961 by agreement of a sufficient number of property owners in the district – to generate sufficient funds to pay for additional services not provided by the city. If it’s established, the South University Area BIZ would be the second such district in downtown Ann Arbor. In 2010 such a district was established for a three-block … [Full Story]

Planning Commission Upholds A2D2 Zoning

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Feb. 7, 2012): In their main action item at Tuesday’s meeting, planning commissioners voted unanimously against a rezoning request at 1320 S. University – reaffirming one of the decisions of the contentious, multi-year A2D2 initiative that was approved by the city council in 2009.

Gwen Nystuen, Bob Snyder, Walter

Bob Snyder, with his dog Walter, talks with Gwen Nystuen before the start of the Feb. 7 planning commission meeting. Both Snyder and Nystuen spoke during a public hearing to oppose rezoning of 1320 S. University. (Photos by the writer.)

Currently at the site – on the south side of South University, between Forest and Washtenaw avenues – is the three-story Park Plaza apartment building. It’s owned by Philip Sotiroff, who hoped to construct a mixed-use building  – retail and residential – as tall as 145 feet. That height would allow for a structure between 10-14 stories on the 0.82-acre site. The current zoning is D2 (downtown interface), which does not allow for a structure taller than 60 feet.

Sotiroff is asking the city to rezone the parcel to D1, a zoning district that allows for the greatest density development. Representatives from his development team noted that higher density zoning was allowed prior to 2009, and pointed out that initially the D1 designation had been recommended by the planning commission before the final version of A2D2 was adopted.

The site is adjacent to a D1 parcel to the east, where the Landmark apartment building is being constructed, at 601 S. Forest. But the 1320 S. University property also abuts lower-density residential zoning. Single-family homes are located to the south of the site, and a fraternity is located to the west.

Fifteen people spoke during a public hearing about the rezoning. Most of them were residents and neighborhood leaders who objected to the proposed rezoning, though the request did receive letters of support from owners of the Landmark as well as from the South University Area Association, a merchants’ group.

Planning staff recommended denial. All of the planning commissioners spoke in support of the current zoning, saying that the community had reached a hard-won consensus that was not to be overturned lightly, especially since it was implemented fairly recently. A couple of commissioners noted that the owner could find flexibility within the existing zoning by submitting a planned project – like the 618 S. Main development that planning commission approved at its Jan. 19, 2012 meeting. [Full Story]

Rezoning Denial Recommended on South U.

At its Feb. 7, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor planning commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of a rezoning request for 1320 S. University Ave., where the three-story Park Plaza apartment building is located. The property – on the south side of South University, between Forest and Washtenaw avenues – is owned by Philip Sotiroff, who hoped to build a mixed-use (retail and residential) building as high as 145 feet. That height would allow for a structure of between 10-14 stories on the 0.82-acre site. The current zoning – D2 (downtown interface) – does not allow for a structure taller than 60 feet. The city’s planning staff had also recommended denial of the rezoning request.

Fifteen people spoke during a public hearing about the … [Full Story]

The Battle of Ann Arbor: June 16-20, 1969

June 17, 1969: Officers confer as the crowd swarms on to South University. (Photo courtesy of Jay Cassidy.)

June 17, 1969: Officers confer as the crowd swarms on to South University. (Photo courtesy of Jay Cassidy.)

Ann Arbor, like many college towns, is usually a quiet place during the summer months. Most of the students are away on break, the university goes into hibernation, and a calm descends upon the city as residents sit back to enjoy a few months of peace and quiet.

During the turbulent 1960s the summer break was even more eagerly anticipated, offering as it did a brief respite from the regular succession of student-led sit-ins, protests, demonstrations, and strikes that occupied the fall and winter months. But the influx of large numbers of non-student “street people” (i.e., hippie youths) in the closing years of the decade made those last few summers of the ’60s decidedly less peaceful.

Forty years ago this week, the normally sleepy summertime streets of Ann Arbor were violently awoken by a series of violent and occasionally bloody clashes between police and a motley crowd of hippies, radicals, teenagers, university students, and town rowdies. Ostensibly at issue was the creation of a pedestrian mall, or “people’s park,” on South University Avenue – a four-block shopping district adjacent to the University of Michigan campus that caters primarily to a student clientele.

Even in those “interesting” times, the violence in Ann Arbor attracted national attention – including that of J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI. After the fighting was over, the national press lost interest and moved on to other, juicier topics. But on the local scene the repercussions of that summer would reverberate for years after.

The Detroit Free Press would refer to the four nights of conflict as “The Battle of Ann Arbor.” [Full Story]

Column: A Voice from the Past Calls Out

Bob Dascola

Bob Dascola of Dascola Barbers on South State.

In the old days, downtown was divided into three parts: Main Street (called Downtown), State Street (called Uptown), and South University (called Campus). Each area was different, but all were part of downtown Ann Arbor.

During my early days while attending Angell School on South University, I remember my mother giving me money so I could go have lunch at the Dugout restaurant on South U, owned by the Klepac family (their daughter was in my class), then pick up some ice cream at Miller’s before returning to school. As I grew up I used to hang out at Beaver’s Bike and Hobby on Church Street (owned by Fred Beaver), learning how to repair bicycles from Bill Loy (now owner of the Student Bike Shop).

I remember when the students left at the end of the school year in April, the local business owners wanted more people to come into the campus area during the summer, so Joan Beaver and a couple of her art friends invented the “Art Fair.” Wow, that really worked. Just look what everyone else in town has done with it! [Full Story]

Box Cars Zoom Down South University

Soap Box Derby Phi Delta Theta A2A3

Three-year-old Alex Enrique pilots the penguin car down the South University hill.

“Car number 4 wins, Pete, that’s car number 4!” declared Ben Kaufman into his walkie talkie. “Pete” was Kaufman’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother, Peter DiLeo, who needed that information to keep track of the brackets for 16 cars in a double-elimination soap box derby held Saturday morning.

To organize the ALS fundraising event on the South University Avenue hill just east of the Phi Delta Theta house, the University of Michigan fraternity had joined with Ann Arbor Active Against ALS [A2A3] a local nonprofit that launched last November.

The mechanics of the fundraising effort were laid out for The Chronicle by the captain of a pirate-boat car, Cameron Kortes. It cost $25 to race a car of your own construction, $75 if you wanted Phi Delta Theta or A2A3 to build a car for you to race, or $100 to have a car both built and raced for you. Kortes said that for this inaugural year of the race, the emphasis was not on raising as much money as possible, but rather to establish it as an event that would attract the interest of the community as well as members of the fraternity internally. [Full Story]

Planning Commission: 170 Feet for South U.

Ethel Potts raises her hand in opposition to the final vote to recommend to city council the on the A2D2 zoning

Ethel Potts raises her hand in opposition on the final vote to recommend the A2D2 zoning to city council .

Just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday evening, Ann Arbor’s planning commission, on an 8-1 vote, passed a recommendation on to city council to enact a series of zoning changes as a part of the A2D2 package. The set of proposed new zoning regulations had undergone some revision in response to additional community feedback on the first version that had been recommended by the commission. That feedback had been collected through the fall of 2008 in a series of public workshops.

Our goal in this article is not to lay out the complete set of revisions to the zoning recommendations. So the discussion of why there will be no adult entertainment district in downtown Ann Arbor will be put off until another day. Instead, we write for an audience of one – a South University area resident who we imagine will read the headline of this article with a disbelieving sense of déjà vu. She’s a resident who attended city council’s most recent Sunday night caucus, and who also attended planning commission’s meeting last night, leaving “early” when she likely believed a vote of particular interest to her was done. [Full Story]