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Posted on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Ann Arbor Planning Commission to consider multi-family housing development proposed near Kerrytown

By Lizzy Alfs


A front elevation of the proposed project at 515 N. Fifth Ave. near Ann Arbor's Kerrytown District.

Bowers + Associates

A proposal to demolish an existing house on North Fifth Avenue near Kerrytown and build a condo and apartment building is headed to Ann Arbor’s Planning Commission Tuesday night.


A house at 515 N. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor could be demolished for a multi-family development.

Lizzy Alfs |

A three-unit rental house is currently situated on the site at 515 N. Fifth Ave., just north of East Kingsley Street. The property has a large and underutilized parking lot adjacent to the house.

To maximize the potential of the site, property owner Robert Burskey is proposing to demolish the existing structure and build a three-story, 8,400-square-foot multi-family building with two condos and two apartments. Each unit would include two bedrooms.

The project, estimated to cost $925,500, would include an attached four-car garage and two exterior parking spaces adjacent to the building.

According to city documents, planning staff is recommending that site plan approval be postponed to give the petitioner an opportunity to address staff comments, including a requested variance on the buffer requirements. A new fire hydrant also will be required since the site lacks complete coverage.

Ann Arbor Planning Commission will consider the request at its 7:00 p.m. meeting on Tuesday.

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Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

ordmad, have you driven by? The whole neighborhood is full of new condos that look exactly like this one. They look quite nice, actually. None really stand out as being out of character with the surrounding homes. I also believe that there is a relatively new condo right next door. And the 515 house is on a double lot that is quite deep.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

Yes. Two units per site max, all within the size and scale of the surrounding buildings. There are single family homes on all sides of this property, two of them 1.5 story. Nothing has been built this out of scale. Nothing.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

We have zoning rules for a reason. One needs to rely on a valid exception to break those rules. That exception (and link to it) is pasted below. Nothing about this plan meets any of those exceptions except that the new structure will, of course, be more energy efficient. Standing alone this cannot be basis to build something so out of size and character with the surrounding homes. If that were the case the rule would have no meaning and people could build whatever they wanted wherever they wanted just because the new structure was more energy efficient. That can't be the precedent the Planning Commission and Council want (or can afford to) set. AA City Code Title V, Chapter 55, article V, Section 5.68: The intent of this section is to provide an added degree of flexibility in the placement and interrelationship of the buildings within the planned project and to provide for permanent open space preservation within planned projects. Modifications of the area, height, placement requirements, and lot sizes, where used for permanent open space preservation, of this Chapter may be permitted if the planned project would result in the preservation of natural features, additional open space, greater building or parking setback, energy conserving design, preservation of historic or architectural features, expansion of the supply of affordable housing for lower income households or a beneficial arrangement of buildings. [


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Let the whining begin.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

3 unit rental... 4 electric meters ?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

House meter. Hall lights, outside lights, laundry.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

It is not unusual for there to be a "common" meter that is paid by the landlord that provides electrical services for common areas such as exterior lighting, sprinkler systems, etc.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

I think it would be nice if this was approved, and then the builder let the existing house sit vacant and decaying for several years like all the other proposed building projects in that area.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

It was postponed.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

Looks like the roof lines are complimentary to the area. It appears that the builder is trying to fit in at least from what I can see.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

Two condos and two apartments?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Condo you take care of the inside, apartment's the landlord does. Must be trying to appeal to both audiences. I'm sure it would be able to go 3-1 or 4-0 depending on tenant.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

Too small... Needs to be at least 14 stories.