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Posted on Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 8:15 a.m.

City staff: Ann Arbor Planning Commission should postpone vote on The Moravian

By Paula Gardner


Ann Arbor's Planning Commission will get a look at The Moravian at its meeting Tuesday night, along with a recommendation that they postpone a vote on the proposed 164-bed apartment project on East Madison Street.

According to the report from city planner Alexis DiLeo, "Staff recommends that The Moravian PUD Site Plan be postponed following a public hearing and Commission discussion to allow the petitioner time to incorporate comments received."

Comments include concerns that the building is proposed in the Allen Creek floodway. That floodway status is expected to change when new federal mapping is finalized, but that has yet to take place.

The number and placement of curb cuts on South Fifth and South Fourth avenues also are concerns staff wants the developer - the Moravian Co. - to work out further before planning commissioners vote on the 64-unit building.

Staff also wants to see modeling of the sanitary sewer flows to determine downstream impact, according to the report.

Staff, which earlier rejected a taller building proposed by the same developer for the site, did note improvements made to the plan are enough for them to justify it as a Planned Unit Development.

"The current petition, The Moravian, has significantly reduced the proposed height and density compared to The Madison. It is still a relatively large development compared to its immediate neighbors to the north but staff believes The Moravian has been designed to be compatible with its surroundings," according to the report.

For the full staff report or information on the Planning Commission meeting - which starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall - click here.



Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 6:10 p.m.

I fully agree-the whole point is that this is a request for a PUD, and a PUD is not a right; it has to demonstrate substantial benefits to the city, not simply to one's own pocketbook. The Moravian would actually provide fewer affordable housing units than are currently on the site. Since when are architectural mediocrity and transgression against state law public benefits?


Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 5:17 p.m.

The Moravian looks like the Meijer on Jackson Road. On steriods. Why is City planning staff designing this thing for an out-of-town developer, on taxpayer's time? And after 10 months, why can't they recommend their own design for approval? Is the object to get the hearing out of the way so they can change the project without additional public comment? Why not just postpone without the hearing? And PersonX is right, it is against State law to build residential buildings in a floodway, so why has the City wasted precious resources on this illegal project? There are plenty of projects approved (but not yet built) where they belong: downtown. There are others that are built, but mostly vacant. We don't need to approve more bad projects sprawling into the neighborhoods when there is no demand. PUDs should only be used in rare and difficult circumstances, not handed out like Halloween candy to any developer who knocks on the City's door.

Marvin Face

Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 12:49 p.m.

For the record, I trust planning commission, their deliberations, and their decisions, far more than Council. I also like the Moravian, it's scale, and its location.


Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 12:27 p.m.

I have a hard time understanding these comments. First of all, this is a report on the Planning Commission, not on Council, and the report clearly states that the commission, wrongly to my mind, thinks that once certain legal problems are overcome, they would approve. But to claim that Council is against development, when most of us think quite the opposite, simply flies against the facts. Just look at how many projects have been approved, including most recently the one on Main. The fact that most of them have not been built has nothing to do with city politics but with financing and the economy. The Moravian is a monster that is completely out of scale with the neighborhood, but no one seems to care. The fact that it is propose for construction in the flood plain is simply against the law.

Marvin Face

Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 12:02 p.m.

@a2grateful: I agree that council is absolutely bound up and cannot move on development projects which is a REAL problem.. Where we seem to differ is that you don't think they listen to the citizens whereas I think they listen too hard. As a group, Council is unable to make a tough decision that is best for the overall community because they are swayed too much by the vocal minority. If one person or a small group of people jump up and down loud enough, council crumbles. No matter how good the project may be.. We vote council reps to make hard decisions. Some I will like, and some I will not like. Currently, they let small groups of people decide directly. I think this is wrong. We should not subject decisions to referendum.


Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 10:38 a.m.

What gives? It's business as usual in the City of Ann Arbor's big dance of denial. Absolutely no vote will occur to allow private development, whether it meets ordinance criteria, or not. Public hysteria will be fueled and generated by City Commissions and Councils, producing a smoke screen that obscures true problems such as impending City budget deficits, crumbling City infrastructure, the City government's operation outside FOI, and its general disrespect for voting constituency and citizens. Maybe the best thing to happen to the site is for the U to develop it, thereby creating space for jobs, which they generously provide, as the county's largest employer.

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 10:26 a.m.

There is still some opposition to this project from nearby residents. I'm told a number of "No Moravian PUD" signs have sprouted up on Fourth and Fifth Avenues.


Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 9:11 a.m.

Let's get this thing built before the U swoops in and takes it off of the tax rolls permanently. It is directly across the street from a lumberyard and just down the street from a gas station and neon riddled pizza parlor. What gives Ann Arbor?