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Posted on Wed, May 2, 2012 : 10 a.m.

Chalmers Place parking plan rejected by Ann Arbor Planning Commission

By Ryan J. Stanton

Chalmers_Place_050112.png

A map showing the location of the Chalmers Place Retail Center along Washtenaw Avenue, just west of the Paesano's restaurant. The area highlighted by a black border is where the owner requested to build a new parking lot behind the retail center.

Courtesy of City of Ann Arbor

A request to rezone a vacant piece of residential property and turn it into a 43-space parking lot met defeat Tuesday night at the Ann Arbor Planning Commission.

The commission voted 7-1 against the parking lot proposal, with only Chairman Eric Mahler in favor of it. Bonnie Bona was absent.

Now the owner of the 0.92-acre vacant parcel at 2090 Chalmers Place likely won't be able to construct the parking lot for employees of the Chalmers Place shopping center, located just west of Paesano's restaurant along Washtenaw Avenue.

The proposal goes on to the Ann Arbor City Council with a recommendation for denial. The city's planning staff also recommended denial of the request.

Representatives of the retail center spoke at Tuesday's meeting, noting it wouldn't be just an ordinary parking lot. It would set aside 10 to 12 spaces as a mini park-and-ride lot for Ann Arbor Transportation Authority bus users.

Access to the lot would be provided through the existing Chalmers Place shopping center curb cut onto Chalmers Drive.

The site is located on the north side of Washtenaw Avenue, west of Chalmers Drive, in the Malletts Creek watershed.

According to city records, the property owner and petitioner is Leonard Nadolski of Len Properties II LLC. He argued 9,8730 square feet of retail space remains vacant at the Chalmers Place shopping center due to lack of adequate parking.

The city's staff recommended the parking lot be denied because it doesn't conform with the city's Master Plan, and the proposed rezoning has the potential for a greater disturbance of the property's natural features than the current single-family residential use.

The Chalmers Place shopping center has 91 approved parking spaces, which City Planner Chris Cheng said falls within the required range for a 26,000-square foot retail center.

Cheng said the city's staff visited the site at random times in the past month and counted the number of empty parking spaces.

At 3:30 p.m. April 10, there were 32 vacant spaces. At 10:30 a.m. April 24, there were 45 vacant spaces. At 6:15 p.m. April 26, there were 32 vacant spaces.

"It appears the vacant parking spaces fall within the parking range required for retail space," Cheng concluded in a report to commissioners.


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Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at ryanstanton@annarbor.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.

Comments

Jeri Sawall

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

The visits to the parking lot are described both as "last month" and April. Which is it? In either case, if the owner can't fill the vacant stores, it seems unfair to use the number of cars now in the parking lot as proof that more spaces are not needed.

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

This seems like one of the most logical and reasonable proposals for a business's use of ITS OWN PROPERTY. This just goes to show how AA planning commission is out of touch with reality and business owners.

justcurious

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

"Cheng said the city's staff visited the site at random times in the past month and counted the number of empty parking spaces. At 3:30 p.m. April 10, there were 32 vacant spaces. At 10:30 a.m. April 24, there were 45 vacant spaces. At 6:15 p.m. April 26, there were 32 vacant spaces. "It appears the vacant parking spaces fall within the parking range required for retail space," Cheng concluded in a report to commissioners." Makes sense to me. That's a lot of vacant spaces.

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

You're missing the point that there are empty spaces because the property is only 3/5 occupied. The lack of parking is likely why businesses do not want to rent there.

rs

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

"it doesn't conform with the city's Master Plan" -Everybody knows the city's Master Plan is "Make parking at shopping centers around A2 miserable"

xmo

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

"Maybe they need to Play Hardball" The Ann Arbor Planning Commission, is a joke! It reminds me of the Detroit City Council. Maybe this TV show should be on Comedy Central?

glimmertwin

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

The developer didn't know there wasn't parking when the place was built?

Terry Redding

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Ron, You need to check your facts. Take a ride down that stretch of Chalmers. Your categorization of "wealthy" is laughable. You should have stuck with paragraphs 1,2,4 and 5 and your comment would have been credible.

Ron Granger

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

"He argued 9,8730 square feet of retail space remains vacant at the Chalmers Place shopping center due to lack of adequate parking." Then, obviously, his original planning was flawed. He should have never been allowed to build it. More likely, these are just excuses to justify sprawl into a neighborhood that has a lot of nature, and a lot of wealthy folks. If this was a low income neighborhood, things might have gone very differently. If this parking was approved, I wager the developer would be back in the future, wanting to expand with more retail in the space. That area of Washtenaw is very congested. It is too congested for more commercial development of any kind.