Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council: 601 Forest?

6. October 2008 • Juliew
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Monday, October 6 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda


  • Resolutions to approve African-American cultural museum
  • Approvals of changes to Chapters 47, 55, 57 and 62 to provide improved regulation of development on parcels that are created through the land division process
  • Resolution to Approve 601 Forest Site Plan and Development Agreement (may be postponed due to changes in the proposal)
  • Request from Habana, L.L.C. for a new brew pub liquor license for Habana and Blue Tractor Cook Shop
  • Revisting the plastic carry-out bags ordinance
  • Rezoning for City Place proposal (407-437 South Fifth Avenue) from R4C to PUD

  1. I received the following information from a few different sources this weekend related to the 601 Forest development. Apparently, Stephen Rapundalo has been working with the developers for some time to modify the project (although his work was not mentioned in Leigh Greden’s announcement below). It will be interesting to see if anyone knows what happened at Caucus tonight (HD?).

    Council Member Leigh Greden’s Initial Announcement (October 3)

    The 601 Forest developers have advised the following. They have listened carefully to the comments from residents and the concerns raised by Councilmembers about how their proposed project would impact the surrounding community. Although they maintain their proposal meets City Code, they are eager to work with the City to achieve a project that benefits the entire area. Accordingly, they will likely present to City Council on Monday night a proposed reduction in their proposal. They will likely ask the Council for a two-week delay on any Council vote so they can work with City staff to develop the necessary Development Agreement, and so the community can review and comment.

    Here is an executive summary of the proposal the developer will likely present on Monday:

    *The building would be 14 floors in height (2 floor base, with 12 floors on top), instead of their current proposal of 25 and 21 floors

    *The building would have 500-600 units instead of 1,200 units

    *The building would still include underground parking, but the exact amount is undetermined

    *The building would include a rear off-street drive-through area for drop offs, deliveries, etc., to divert delivery traffic away from South University and Forest

    *The building would achieve at least Silver LEED certification

    *The developer’s requested Brownfield tax credit would be half of what they’re currently requesting

    *They would split the land they currently own/option into two parcels: (1) land for this building along Forest and part of South U, using the land currently occupied by the Village Corner, Bagel Factory, and small buildings along Forest; and (2) a second parcel which includes the apartment bldg along South U. This proposal would be a site plan only for parcel #1, and thus the building would not occupy any of the land currently occupied by the apartment building along South U.

    On Monday night, Councilmembers will likely ask the developer to give a presentation at the start of their public hearing. We will extend the developer’s speaking time beyond 3 minutes to ensure they have adequate time to present their proposal to the Council, the residents at the meeting, and the residents watching on TV. Residents who wish to speak at the public hearing may do so after the developer presents their plan. As described above, the developer will likely ask the Council for a two-week delay on the vote (until October 20) so they can work with City staff to prepare the necessary resolution, development agreement, etc.

    I have been asked to coordinate an on-site meeting with interested neighbors sometime between Oct 6 and Oct 20. The developer would attend the meeting to again show their proposal, answer questions, walk the site, etc.

       —Juliew    Oct. 6 '08 - 03:49AM    #
  2. I would still support more height (I’m not totally opposed to the current proposal), but the parking was a real issue, and it would be better for something to be built there than nothing at all. (FWIW Look into recent construction in Champaign-Urbana for an example of a medium-sized Midwestern college town redeveloping and building up in a rather tasteful manner—with some results better than others, admittedly. Ann Arbor could probably learn from their example.)

       —Young Urban Amateur    Oct. 7 '08 - 06:26PM    #
  3. But perhaps just as important, what’s up with City Place and the zoning change?

       —Young Urban Amateur    Oct. 7 '08 - 06:27PM    #
  4. What’s it gonna cost now? And what about the conflict of interest allegations against a City Council member?

       —$700 billion    Oct. 7 '08 - 08:52PM    #
  5. Young Urban Amateur asked: “But perhaps just as important, what’s up with City Place and the zoning change?”

    It was stricken from last night’s agenda. Newcombe Clark, who was scheduled to speak on the issue during public commentary reserved time, did not appear.

    If we at The Chronicle were not preoccupied running litter from the meeting through the flatbed scanner, we would have already posted the meeting notes, which reflect the stricken agenda item.

       —HD    Oct. 7 '08 - 09:56PM    #
  6. Yeah, HD – we got that about all the “old” people! :-)

       —Leah Gunn    Oct. 8 '08 - 02:12AM    #
  7. $700B asks a very important question: what about the conflict of interest allegations? Me thinks the issue is bigger than what we’ve seen so far.

       —anArboran    Oct. 8 '08 - 05:51AM    #
  8. I believe that Councilperson Lowenstein should recuse herself to avoid any appearance of impropriety. I am also wondering at what stage of the municipal approval process did she disclose her full professional relationship to this developer. If she gave a full and complete disclosure and did not vote on any matters relating to this development there should be no problem. At the very least, Councilperson Lowenstein should make a public statement to assure the citizenry that there have been no situations in this scenario where any appearances of impropriety occurred. I appreciate the fine efforts of Tom Gantert and the Ann Arbor News for their excellent coverage of this burgeoning story.

       —Mark Koroi    Oct. 8 '08 - 05:59AM    #
  9. the city is spending $66,000.00 that’s right! on moving costs for parks and rec office out to cobblestone farm. What a waste of taxpayers money. That’s just shameful. Shame on Jayne Miller and Black.

       —Jerry    Oct. 10 '08 - 05:24AM    #