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Posted on Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 5:58 a.m.

Public gets to react to A2D2 plan at tonight's City Council meeting

By Paula Gardner

What kind of design guidelines should influence development in downtown Ann Arbor?

Finding that answer has been years in the making, most of it involving committees and city staff.

Now City Council members will hold a public hearing on the revised A2D2 Downtown Design Guidelines tonight at their regular meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall.

Putting the public reaction to the plan on the record the next step toward making A2D2 official.

The city recently posted a revised A2D2 proposal on its website, which outlines its best recommendations for setting standards downtown, which is available


Whether design guidelines should be mandatory may drive much of the discussion. Previous forums and council comment suggest that some in town may want to make the guidelines more than optional for developers.

Even at a Sept. 14 joint meeting of council, the Ann Arbor Planning Commission and the Downtown Development Authority, no consensus was reached.

That lack of consensus means the plan that will be presented to the public tonight keeps A2D2 optional.

The most recent version of the plan states: "When considering a project downtown, property owners, developers and architects are encouraged to refer to the downtown design guidelines. Compliance with the design guidelines is voluntary."


Dr. I. Emsayin

Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 9:51 a.m.

Thus far, the city of Ann Arbor has only given lip service to its ordinary citizens in terms of what we would like to see for downtown development. It seems if you are not part of the DDA, you do not have any real influence. Years ago the citizens were invited to a meeting about what we would like to see. We were given three choices, little monopoly pieces, and told to set up a city. This was a total sham. There was no room for real discussion. The decisions were made long before that meeting. Now we have sky scrapers blocking the sun, the view, and creating wind tunnels. Parking on the street or surface lots is fast disappearing. As a near-downtown resident, I do not favor all of this development. Out of town developers and the DDA make all of the decisions, don't pretend it is otherwise.