Ann Arbor City Planning Commission: September 19, 2023

Sep 19, 2023 | Planning

This meeting was held in person at City Hall.

APPROVED: Amendments to Unified Development Code (UDC) Chapter 55. Eliminate floor area premiums in Section 5.18.6 Premiums. Remove maximum FAR (floor area ratio as a percentage of lot area) of the D1 (Downtown Core) and D2 (Downtown Interface) in Section 5.17.4 Mixed Use Zoning Districts, Table 5.17-4, currently at 900% and 400%, respectively. (Legistar)

  • These proposed UDC amendments will go to City Council for final approval. City Council initially approved these changes at first reading on November 6, 2023: https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-council-november-6-2023/ City Council approved these changes at second reading on December 4, 2023: https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-council-december-4-2023/
  • These changes would replace an ordinance amendment approved by City Council on November 4, 2019. (Legistar) https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-council-november-4-2019/
  • From the staff report (link) “The changes will clarify and simplify development expectations and may better encourage downtown density through development forms similar to those currently built.”
  • These amendments were proposed by the consultants Carlisle Wortman Associates, Inc. From their report (link) “The proposed amendments will make it easier for petitioners to reach maximum height, since they would no longer need to navigate the premiums process.”
  • Two commissioners recused themselves and left Council Chambers during this discussion, leaving seven commissioners remaining.
    • Chair Wonwoo Lee “recused himself from the discussion noting his employer owns property in the D1 Zoning District“. 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.
    • Commissioner Lisa Sauvé “recused herself from the discussion due to her active participation of a petition in the D1 Zoning District“. According to LinkedIn, Lisa Sauve is the Principal/CEO and Co-founder of the Synecdoche architecture firm.
  • https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2023/09/bigger-is-better-downtown-zoning-changes-headed-to-ann-arbor-council.html

POSTPONED: Planned Unit Development (PUD) text amendment for 3520 Green Court, which will also require City Council approval. This item was postponed to the October 17, 2023 Planning Commission meeting. (Legistar)

  • According to the staff report (link) “The original PUD Zoning was approved in 1998 for five parcels totaling just over 35 acres. Four of the parcels have existing buildings that were constructed just after the original PUD approval in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. One of the parcels addressed as 3525 Green Court has remained vacant and is 7.2 acres in area
  • A pre-petition PUD conference for this property was held with the Planning Commission on October 11, 2022. (Legistar) No minutes or video of this meeting were made available by the City.

APPROVED: R4A zoning and amended site plan for the “Village of Ann Arbor” development at 1710 Dhu Varren. Two parcels totaling 5.9 acres were recently annexed into the City, and are proposed to be rezoned R4A, consistent with the existing parcels in the development. The amended site plan adds four apartment buildings with 120 units, a parking lot with 185 spaces, and a park area. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Annexation of 3701 and 3713 Riverside Drive from Ann Arbor Township with R1D zoning. The two parcels total 0.74 acres. (Legistar)

POSTPONED: Proposed amendments to the Planning Commission bylaws are postponed to the meeting of October 3, 2023. (Legistar)

  • These changes were initially approved by the Planning Commission on July 18, 2023 https://a2council.com/ann-arbor-city-planning-commission-july-18-2023/
  • Minutes from that 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?

Legistar and Video Links

Legistar: https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=1069319&GUID=7049A4D0-45B9-45D1-914F-93DADC46B676

YouTube: https://youtu.be/jbGCBLwB8Qk

CTN Video: https://ctnvideo.a2gov.org/CablecastPublicSite/show/8838

Meeting Length: 3h 46m

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