Ann Arbor City Council: May 6, 2024

May 6, 2024 | City Council

This Ann Arbor City Council meeting was held in person at CTN Studios. Members of the public can participate in public hearings and public comment either in person or via phone.

A2Council Update Video

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Summary

Two items related to a development project at 711 Church St were approved:

APPROVED: A parcel of 1.06 acres at 711 Church St is rezoned to Planned Unit Development (PUD). Six lots will be combined and rezoned to allow the building of a high-rise building (17 stories) with 273 apartments and storage for 498 bicycles. It is currently zoned R4C and the PUD has a dwelling unit density ten times greater than what is permitted in R4C in exchange for providing 17% affordable units or payment in lieu. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Site plan and development agreement for 711 Church St. The project at the southeast corner of Willard Street and Church Street has a combined total of 46,302-square feet, parking for 52 vehicles, and six electric vehicle chargers. The developer will contribute $250,000 to the Downtown Development Authority, $169,260 to the parks department and contribute $7,251,098.40 toward affordable housing. (Legistar)

  • The developers held a citizen participation meeting about the 711 Church St project in May 2023: https://a2council.com/711-church-street-citizen-participation-meeting-may-17-2023/
  • In a split vote, the Planning Commission recommended denial of the project in February 2024: https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-planning-commission-february-6-2024/
  • Planning Commissioners amended proposed PUD zoning to remove a requirement for 6 workforce housing units, and increase the affordable housing contribution fee from 15% to 17%. Planning Commissioners also added requirements for public art and increased bicycle parking.
  • The Planning staff report (link) explains that the terms requested by the developer most closely conform to (but actually exceed) D1/D2 zoning. From the staff report: “The applicant has failed to offer sufficient justification as to why an area that is currently outside of the downtown core and zoned R4C should skip over the downtown interface zone (D2) and exceed the downtown core (D1) established parameters managing height and setbacks.”
  • In the same report, Planning staff recommended denial because: “The proposal fails to meet the standards of approval for beneficial effects and does not provide unique benefits which could not be achieved through other zoning classifications. Additionally, inadequate justification is given for inconsistency with the Comprehensive Plan.”
  • Council unanimously approved five amendments to the PUD supplemental regulations:
    • Lowering the standard for LEED certification
    • Eliminating specification of materials
    • Clarifying allowable height to permit a double story
    • Adding geothermal technology for a “modest proportion of the buildings energy use” (8%)
    • Reducing the developer’s obligation to fund public art. The contribution will be $50,000 rather than a percentage of project cost (as is required by ordinance)
  • At the May 6, 2024 Council meeting, residents in opposition to this rezoning presented a petition with over 200 signatures.
  • https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2024/04/17-story-high-rise-outside-downtown-ann-arbor-gets-councils-initial-ok.html
  • https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2024/05/controversial-high-rise-development-gets-ann-arbor-councils-unanimous-ok.html

APPROVED: Water rates will be increased. City staff estimate that the average residential customer will see an increase of 6%. Changes will take effect on July 1, 2024. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Stormwater rates will be increased by 3% of the stormwater discharge fee based on impervious surface and 2% for the customer charge. City staff estimate that the average residential customer will see an increase of 4%. Changes will take effect on July 1, 2024. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Sewer rates will be increased, City staff estimate that the average residential customer will see an increase of 3%. Changes will take effect on July 1, 2024. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Sue McCormick is appointed Interim Public Services Area Administrator, replacing Brian Steglitz. The City is in the process of searching for a permanent replacement. (Legistar)

APPROVED: A construction phase agreement between the City and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) will support improvements in the railroad right-of-way for the Barton/Bandemer Pedestrian Tunnel Project. The City will pay Amtrak $136,921 to cover the cost of inspection services, removal and reinstallation of railroad infrastructure, and protection of traffic (flagging, controlled power and/or track outages). (Legistar)

APPROVED: Ordinance amendments change the criteria for assessing the impact of new developments, removing a requirement to provide traffic studies and substituting a “multimodal transportation Impact assessment” that includes transit, pedestrian, and bicycle. (Legistar)

  • Amendments include this language: “Site plans that propose to generate more than three trips per unit per peak hour or 50 trips per peak hour shall provide a multimodal transportation impact analysis following the methodology of the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Multimodal Transportation Impact Analyses for Site Development, or the latest revision thereof”
  • Amendments also includes this language: “Area plans that propose to generate more than three trips per unit per peak hour or 50 trips per peak hour shall provide information on trip generation, trip distribution, modal split, and areas of impact so the magnitude of the rezoning or proposed development can be understood.”
  • More information about the new methodology can be found here: https://ecommerce.ite.org/imis/ItemDetail?iProductCode=RP-020G-E&Category=PUB&WebsiteKey=d5326f96-5db7-43ca-89dc-c6ef0daae20e
  • The ordinance will amend the term “traffic study” to “transportation studies.”

APPROVED: A charter amendment will be placed on the November ballot for the community to vote on in order to establish a Sustainable Energy Utility (“SEU”). This charter amendment will allow the City to create a limited opt-in fee-based program for the generation, transmission, and distribution of 100% sustainable energy where it is possible to develop microgrids. The City would continue to rely on DTE. (Legistar)

APPROVED (First Reading): Twelve lots totaling 1.3 acres at 732 Packard will be combined and rezoned from C1AR (Campus Business Residential District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development) for the “5 Corners” development. This area between Packard and State (north of Arch) is currently the site of eleven buildings built between 1901 and 1963. The PUD zoning will allow a high-rise, multiple-family building including sustainability features and required (16%) affordable housing. The planned building will have 14 stories, 376 apartments, 82 vehicle parking spaces, 329 bicycle parking spaces, and potential for ground floor retail and restaurant. (Legistar)

A2ELNEL Voting Chart

Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for May 6, 2024 Part 1
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for May 6, 2024 Part 2
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for May 6, 2024 Part 3
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for May 6, 2024 Part 4

Subscribe To My Newsletter

I write an Ann Arbor City Council newsletter with my summary of agenda items coming before Ann Arbor City Council, plus news and events of interest to Ann Arbor residents. I send my newsletter out the weekend before every Council meeting so that you can see what’s on the agenda and have an opportunity to reach out to City Council with any concerns.

The weekend after Council meetings, I send an "A2Council Update" newsletter with my voting charts and highlights of how issues were decided.