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Posted on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor annexes land on Ellsworth Road in preparation for townhouse development

By Ben Freed


This property on Ellsworth Road is now a part of Ann Arbor and will be developed into townhouses once it gains approval from the city.

Ben Freed |

Ann Arbor has annexed a “tax island” in preparation for a new townhouse development to be known as “The Summit” at 2081 E. Ellsworth Road, east of Stone School Road on the city's south side.

The city has been slowly annexing the 583 properties within city limits known as “township islands” in which residents pay taxes to the township they “live in” rather than to the city of Ann Arbor. These taxes often end up being significantly less than the taxes charged to Ann Arbor residents with similar property values because townships typically provide fewer services.

The property at 2081 E. Ellsworth Road is currently vacant and is being developed by Florida-based company Growwwwlee, LLC. The company has submitted plans to the city for a 24-unit town-house style development to city planners, along with a request for a rezoning of the property to a Residential-3 (R3) zoning that has been approved by the City Council.

Before the city staff could review site plans, Ann Arbor had to annex the property from Pittsfield Township so that it can be connected to city utilities. Both the city and township had to sign off on the annexation.

“The plan is currently going through the review process with city staff,” planner Matt Kowalski said.

“Then they go back and make revisions. We go back and forth until all issues are addressed and then it goes to the Planning Commission for approval.”

The earliest date for the proposal to go to the Planning Commission is Oct. 16, Kowalski said. If the commission recommends the site plans for approval, City Council would then have to sign off on both the zoning and site plan. Such approval likely wouldn't come before December, he said.

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Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 5:05 a.m.

More multi unit dwellings crammed into too small a space & no help with infrastructure. We are still dealing with a two lane road on Ellsworth and try driving down Stone School and not rattle your brains out due to rotten pavement but let's put more traffic into the area and heavy trucks to boot! I don't know where "Nick" is but the house torn down on this lot was a two story Gray house built in 1886 that had multi wood work carpentry. There is a ranch style at the top of the hill here but isn't included in this site. There was a photo of the original house in the first photo of this annexation.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

""The Summit" at 2081 E. Ellsworth Road, east of Stone School Road on the city's south side." According to the map, that area looks to be west of Stone School Road...

Ann English

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

John of Saline, A question I raised to Basic Bob stayed in mind today, and I saw for myself some businesses on the north side of Ellsworth had odd-numbered addresses, much closer to the new townhouse site than Walmart is. Being on the SOUTH side of Ellsworth Road, that store has an ODD-NUMBERED address. Must be up to township officers to decide which side of a road gets the even- and odd-numbered addresses. I never eat out at those restaurants (Red Robin, e.g.) on the east side of Carpenter, nearer the street than the large stores behind them, but now I'm ready to believe that odd numbers for addresses on the EAST side of a road can exist. That once out of Washtenaw County, Carpenter Road could have odd-numbered addresses on the west side.

John of Saline

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

This is the Internet! Correcting yourself is unheard of! ;)


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

Nope, east it is. Sorry..


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 4 p.m.

That house was a nondescript 1960s ranch. That lot already has townhouses on both sides. Now it will become townhouses. I do not see this as changing the look and feel of the neighborhood. There is not actually more crime down there. It is not a hot spot. By actual count over the past year there were the same number of crimes in that area as there were in the affluent northeast corner of the city. Approximately the same number of dwellings. The township islands do benefit from city services without paying. For instance street repair, storm sewers, street snow removal, street lights, until recently city leaf pick-up, and city policing around them. You leave home and get into a fender-bender two doors away, and the city police show up in 5 minutes. Same thing happens deep in Pittsfield township and county sheriff shows up 45 minutes later. Actual personal experience.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

It was not a ranch style home. It was a two story home that was at least 75years old or older!!!


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

Nick, I'm not calling you a liar, but there would be no reason for County Sheriff to come to Pittsfield. Pittsfield has thier own police department. Perhaps your "deep in Pittsfield township" was actually so deep that it was someplace other than Pittsfield.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

"The property at 2081 E. Ellsworth Road is currently vacant and is being developed by Florida-based company Growwwwwlee, LLC. " A Google search indicates no results (other than this article) for Growwwwwlee, LLC.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Thanks Brad, I've updated the spelling.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

The article has the wrong spelling - try Growwwwwlee (one less 'w').

Paul Taylor

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Those people actually DO "live in" the township. Tis article makes them out to be freeloaders. They don't draw the borders! Pfft.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

And we take care of our firefighters... AA is using the services we fund...

Paul Taylor

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

There was a house there until a couple months ago. Now, there will be awful townhouses. Yay.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

It was such a swell house, too.

John of Saline

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Higher density, more efficient. Not necessarily a bad thing. Washtenaw County's still a growing place.

John of Saline

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

I was wondering about the activity there recently.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

Speaking of annexation, when is the city going to get with the program? One estimate says that we're losing out on over $1M annually in property tax revenue on the island properties.

Basic Bob

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

They don't force people to annex their properties to the city. But they make it a condition to connect to water and sewer. Many people with large semi-rural lots have enough land for a well and a septic tank, so if you want to keep the property as a single-family home their is little motivation to pay double in taxes in addition to hookup and monthly fees.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

"These taxes often end up being significantly less than the taxes charged to Ann Arbor residents with similar property values because townships typically provide fewer services." Like: That fiasco in front of city hall? The underground garage? The greenbelt (oh wait, that's where OUR money goes to the people in the township) AATA for Ypsi and the rest of the county


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

EyeHartA2.....I rarely agree with you but I've never figured out why you Ann Arbor folks pay for bus services to Ypsi or any where out of the city for that matter

Jim Osborn

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

This is hardly an "island" as it is on the southern edge of the city. Since Pittsfield Twp has utilities, I wish that this article had mentioned why the developer wished to convert it to the city. Were utilities, such as water and sewer, not available in this location?

Ann English

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

Basic Bob, Do you know of a rule, or have an observation, about odd numbers usually on one side of a road? My own observations are the southern or western sides of roads have odd numbers, while addresses on eastern or northern sides of roads have even-number addresses.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

@go - you might want to consult a map before commenting further ...


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

re: @ Basic Bob. Ellsworth runs North and South. Therefore, the land cannot be North of Ellsworth

Basic Bob

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

The property is on the north side of Ellsworth. The city and township have a boundary agreement that the township will not provide utilities or oppose annexation on this side of the road. Directly behind this parcel to the north is an undeveloped lot owned by AAPS which is in the township, and Bryant school which is in the city.

Ann English

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

Apparently the townhouses will be built right near the property of a discontinued landfill, the property of the Drop Off Station. Electric lights operate in the barn, but the bins for metal and other materials are kept outside, closer to the annexed property.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

With all the crime in that area, who wants to move there, except the people that can't afford anywhere else? It was getting bad when we moved away from there 10+ years ago, and looking at the crime map, it hasn't gotten any better.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

Crime in that area is not as bad as you people are making it out to be. I don't know what went down previously to make you so jaded, but "10+ years ago" and the "70s and early 80s" was a long time ago. I have lived on the corner of Ellsworth and Stone School for over two years now and not once have I felt unsafe. I go jogging through the neighborhoods all up and down Stone School and I see many other people doing the same; it is a very diverse area with all types of families mixed in with college students. Nearly all of the crimes you speak of in the area occur deep in the Forest Hills community and they are no worse than some other areas of town. I would argue that certain areas of the west side are more "crime ridden" than Forest Hills and the University Townhouses and I think the crime maps often show that. And what about the campus area itself lately? That seems to be the most dangerous place to be in this town after dark. I don't understand why people rate the "safeness" and livability of an entire area based on a much smaller area within that. SE Ann Arbor has a lot going for it and it's nice to see new development. Also, if you want rural, all you have to do is cross Ellsworth and go south into Pittsfield. Enough with the Debbie Downer attitudes already.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

I grew up in that area (Forest Hills co-op to be exact) and that area was bad back in the 70s and early 80s. I imagine not much has changed. Then on top of that the dump is located right next door to where these townhouses are. I remember when I was a kid and wind blew the right direction...Then there is the joy of traveling the already ridiculously congested Ellsworth Rd(at least Ellsworth East of state street).


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

I'm guessing there are not a lot of college kids over there, seeing as how it is just about as far away from campus as you can get in AA.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

We avoided this area while looking for a house because of the crime. Houses are more affordable but we opted to pay more for a neighborhood with no college students.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

Unfortunately a historic house was demolished recently on Ellsworth in this general area, I wonder if that was in preparation for these townhouses - agree with snowrose that the rural character of SE Ann Arbor seems to be coming under the wrecking ball....


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Now was it truly historic or was it just old? There seems to be a lot of confusion about that here in town.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

If it's the house I think you're talking was a condemned "punk" house.... They literally made the house unlivable without at least $100K worth of work to it. Don't rent to punks....


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 11:23 a.m.

BOO! Whatever happened to the GREEN BELT we're paying for? Does that only apply for the richer north side? We've lived here since 1997 and the southeast side of Ann Arbor is turning into a pit. Very disappointed to hear we are losing more of the soothing countryside that USED to be Ellsworth Rd.