WLAA: Ordinance to rezone part of Community Convenience Center District postponed by city council

The Ann Arbor City Council voted 9-1 to postpone a rezoning measure during their bi-monthly meeting at Larcom City Hall on Monday, Aug. 19. The ordinance would have moved .2 acres of the Community Convenience Center District to the Campus Business District.

The developer requested that the vote be postponed until they could provide council members with more information about their sustainability plan and other benefits their property would have on the community.

Changing the zoning would allow for developers to build campus housing and shopping centers.

A public hearing was reserved for residents to speak on the matter. Responses were mixed, but most residents spoke negatively about the proposed zoning change.

Ethal Potts, a former member of the Ann Arbor planning commission, spoke against the zoning change.

“No one of us wants a surprise when we discover theirs a different kind of development next door to us or across the street,” said Potts. “A zoning change could be justified to correct a problem, but no problem has been mentioned; only changes to a long-time historic district.

John Rasmussen, who has an office for a non-profit in the area, spoke in favor of the proposal.

“I have seen the ally deteriorating because the pavement has not been repaired. If this building is built, they will repave the ally,” said Rasummen. “The building there is not a historic building.”

Chris Crockett spoke against the project.

“I have no objection to their being a new building on this site,” said Crockett. “I do not support this change of zoning, because setting this precedent, whereby anything, any site within a half of mile of a university building, can be rezoned ‘Campus Business District’ with no height limits” She also called for the developer to show the community what benefit its new building would have for their community.

The overwhelming response by residents is that the action of rezoning will deviate from the city’s masterplan and reduce building restrictions such as height limits.

Victoria Pebbles spoke on half of the petitioner team. She stated the garnet is a small project that is very close to where development is going on, although it doesn’t fall in the proper zoning.

“We’re trying to do this in the most sustainable way possible,” said Pebbles. “We are offering conditions to limit the height . . . We do conform to the master plan.”

The building height limit would be set at an average of 57 feet. She also stated the developers promise to clean up the property that had formerly been a part of a coal gasification plant.

“That is a public benefit,” said Pebbles. “If we weren’t going to clean that up, then who would that go to?”

The council will revisit the matter at their Sep. 16 meeting.