Ann Arbor City Planning Commission: November 14, 2023

Nov 14, 2023 | Planning

This meeting was held in person at City Hall.

Commissioner Clarke was absent

APPROVED: Site plan for 300-312 E Huron. The plan is for a 77, 265 square foot 6 story hotel (AC Hotels by Marriott) with 139 rooms and 9 parking spaces. The site currently is used for parking. (Legistar)

POSTPONED: Release/vacation of three areas of right-of-way fronting 2845 South State Street. The areas under consideration measure 50 x 51 feet, 50 x 229 feet, and 27 x 310 feet. The owner of the property is considering infill development that would include these areas. This item was postponed to January 16, 2024, as recommended by staff. (Legistar)

  • This item will also require approval by City Council.
  • As noted in the minutes, “Chair Lee recused himself from the discussion noting the project involved his employer. Vice Chair Abrons took over chairing the meeting.” According to Linkedin, Wonwoo Lee is the Chief Real Estate Officer for Oxford Companies. At the July 18, 2023 meeting, Wonwoo Lee was elected Chair of the Planning Commission.
  • According to property records, 2845 South State is owned by 777 Associates LLC/Oxford Property Management. This parcel is just north of Oxford Property headquarters at 777 East Eisenhower Parkway.

APPROVED: Proposed amendments to the Planning Commission bylaws. The bylaws will require approval by City Council. (Legistar)

  • These changes were initially approved by the Planning Commission on July 18, 2023, with final approval scheduled for August 15, 2023: https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-planning-commission-july-18-2023/
  • The August 15, 2023 Planning Meeting was cancelled, so approval of the proposed bylaw changes was added to the September 19, 2023 meeting. At that meeting, approval was postponed to the October 3, 2023 meeting: https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-planning-commission-september-19-2023/
  • At the October 3, 2023 meeting, the proposed bylaw changes were postponed to the November 14, 2023 meeting: https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-planning-commission-october-3-2023/
  • Minutes from the July 18, 2023 meeting summarized the proposed changes:
    • The investigation of alternative ethics, conflicts of interest and recusal language as discussed and directed
    • The modification of section 5.2 one from him or herself to themselves.
    • The removal of the proposed change to section 8.3 the time for a developer petition at the discretion of the chair
    • Modification of all votes from 6 to 5, where, appropriate by law.
  • From a staff report for the September 19, 2023 meeting (link)
    • Numerous concepts were discussed that arose during the Commission’s discussion on July 18th, that would benefit from additional discussion. To support a productive discussion of these concepts on October 3rd, staff will address the following items:
      • A method of Conflict of Interest that requires Planning Commission to act or vote on more or all declarations of Conflict of Interest.
        • If pursued, how would resolution occur if the Planning Commission deemed no conflict existed, while an individual does.
      • Could the use of abstention votes be utilized in the Planning Commission’s activities, as an additional option to a typical yes/no vote, or full recusal?
  • Bylaws approved at the November 14, 2023 meeting do not include any previously mentioned changes to conflict of interest policy. The revised bylaws includes the following changes: (link)
    • Petitions pertaining to zoning changes, annexations, area plans, site plans, street vacations, and other related matters now require 5 affirmative votes for approval (previous bylaws required 6 affirmative votes).
    • A vote to enter closed session will now require 5 affirmative votes (previous bylaws required 6 affirmative votes).
    • Previous bylaws allowed the first representative of a registered neighborhood group to speak for 5 minutes during a public hearing. This language has been removed, such that all public commenters are subject to a 3 minute limit.
    • Gender specific language such as ‘him/herself’ or ‘he/she’ has been updated to ‘themselves’ or ‘they’.
  • The revised bylaws must be approved by City Council.

APPROVED: Appointments to the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. (Legistar)

  • A staff memo (link) described the process: “To put together this recommendation for the Comprehensive Plan Subcommittee, all applicants were evaluated. As potential committee members were identified, remaining applicants were identified by characteristics that would ideally bring various perspectives and backgrounds to the work. For example, applicants were sorted by age to ensure that younger representatives were included, and an emphasis was placed on identifying an applicant from that category. Additionally, but not uniformly, I emphasized applicants that less frequently engage with the City on land use planning on a regular basis. My aspiration is that this will help guide us to a plan that is very accessible and understandable to our community.”
  • According to a demographic report (link) that excludes the two Planning Commissioners, of the remaining 14 appointees:
    • 3 members (21%) are not residents of the City of Ann Arbor
    • 7 members (50%) do not work in the City of Ann Arbor
    • 6 members (43%) own their residence, 7 members (50%) rent, and 1 member (7%) replied ‘Other’
  • Full list of appointees:
    • Rebecca Barrington
    • Nolan Earl
    • ChiTuyen Richmond
    • Vanessa Punal
    • Kiera Saltz
    • Wendy Rampson-Gage
    • Wendy Ann Woods
    • Jaqualecyn (Jaz) Brennan
    • Bea Kaskie
    • Yasien Taher
    • Mark Scerbo
    • Ben Connor Barrie
    • Dandan Chen
    • Sandy Aldrich
    • Commissioner Sadira Clarke
    • Commissioner Sara Hammerschmidt

Legistar and Video Links

Legistar: https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=1069333&GUID=E09E207C-4456-473E-AEF5-D4B095618907

YouTube: https://youtu.be/WO53FuYYPYU

CTN Video: https://ctnvideo.a2gov.org/CablecastPublicSite/show/9033

Meeting Length: 2h 30m

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