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Posted on Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor City Council delays final vote on 413 E. Huron high-rise for the second time

By Amy Biolchini


The future of this corner of Division and Huron streets in downtown Ann Arbor will remain up in the air for another week, as the Ann Arbor City Council has delayed its vote for the second time on a site plan for a 14-story high-rise building proposed at the corner.

Amy Biolchini |

For its second meeting in a row, the Ann Arbor City Council suspended its operations Monday night before completing its full agenda and without voting on a site plan for a proposed, highly contested high-rise at 413 E. Huron St.

At about 11:30 p.m. Monday, Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward moved the council go in to recess, which was met with unanimous support. No council members were absent.

The vote on the site plan will be the first order of business at a special meeting of the council at 7 p.m. May 13. The site plan calls for a 14-story building with 513 beds totaling 263,504 gross square feet.

Monday night’s already lengthy meeting propelled much of the decision to delay the vote, as council members would have been discussing and voting on the controversial project into the wee hours of Tuesday morning.


Rendering of the proposed 14-story apartment building at 413 E. Huron St. in Ann Arbor.

Humphreys & Partners Architects

Earlier in the meeting, council members heard about 30 people speak for about 1.25 hours in a continuation of a public hearing on the site plan that had been previously halted at the council’s April 15 meeting.

Delaying votes was a theme of Monday night’s meeting, as a number of other controversial issues were pushed on to future council agendas.

The May 20 meeting of the council will see, in addition to the council’s approval of its budget, the first reading of video privacy ordinance amendments.

Due to a town hall meeting Wednesday organized by Democratic 5th Ward council members Chuck Warpehoski and Mike Anglin on changes to the city’s ordinance regarding billboards, the council postponed discussion on the issue until June 17.

The town hall be 7 p.m. Wednesday in the warehouse of Downtown Home and Garden at 210 S Ashley St. in Ann Arbor. Warpehoski said he would be at Mark’s Carts by 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to informally discuss the ordinance changes before the town hall.

Proposed changes to the ordinance that determines funding metrics and term limits for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority in front of the council Monday night were also postponed until September.

The team of developers from the Georgia-based Carter firm for the 413 E. Huron project sat in the audience Monday night as a stream of Ann Arbor residents made their case against the building.


Ann Arbor resident Widd Schmidt made this poster to show the proposed 413 E. Huron project in relation to its neighborhood. Schmidt did not speak at the Monday night public hearing on the project, but held up the poster behind those that did.

Courtesy photo

Only one of the commenters spoke in favor of the project, and 25 of the 30 people that spoke were against the project outright.

Many residents who spoke during the public comment challenged council members to consider the legacy that they wish to create, and to think about densifying the downtown core responsibly.

About 15 of those 30 people that spoke Monday had coordinated their statements in a “fact book” researched and compiled by about 50 individuals from eight different neighborhood associations in Ann Arbor that was delivered to city council.

The book referenced certain sections of city codes that the 413 E. Huron site plan violated, and as each person spoke they directed their comments to a different part of the informational book. The book references nine different unresolved legal issues that relate to the site plan.

The 14-story project, which includes an underground parking garage, pushes the limits for the property on the corner of Division and Huron streets in downtown Ann Arbor.

Residents claim the project violates the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act because the site plan does not promote public health, safety and general welfare; does not provide adequate light for properties in its shadow and would not lessen congestion on public roads.

The project would disturb the roots of at least three landmark trees -- including a 250-year-old Burr Oak -- and create umpteen traffic impacts with limited access off of Huron Street and a narrow, constrictive service drive that’s accessible off of North Division, residents said.

The design of the entry into the underground parking garage also drew the scrutiny of residents who referenced the fact book.

Susan Morrison, a lawyer representing residents whose property abuts the 413 E. Huron site, claimed the claimed the developer did not get a special exception use permit to include the underground parking garage in the site plan as is required by law.

City council previously attempted to stop the 413 E. Huron project through a 6-month moratorium on new downtown development that was later halted because of concerns of a costly lawsuit.

Council members have been advised by city attorneys and an independent lawyer that should they not approve the site plan, the developer would have legal justification to bring a suit against the city.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

There is no win in this for the city council. If they approve it the neighbors will sue them and if they disapprove it the developer will sue them. The longer this drags out the more money the developer will have invested in the project and the more he will sue for. I would love to see the case law cites Sla2 that put that limit on damages. I talked to two zoning lawyers who both told me that since the property was bought with the current zoning and the developer applied under the current zoning, that once the process is started it has to finish under that zoning. If the developer can (in their opinion) create a building that fully conforms to the zoning, he has a good to great case (in their opinion) in court. I am not a lawyer, I do not play one on this blog. I have listened to the opinions of people who are and are not emotionally involved in this issue. I am willing to listen to informed opinions, since I have no horse in this race. What I would urge everyone to do, is to get the city council to review the zoning and make changes - otherwise, this will happen again, and again and again and ...

Chuck Warpehoski

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Just a clarification on the town hall, the town hall will be at seven tonight at Downtown Home and Garden, but I will be at Mark's Carts for informal discussion starting at 6:30 before the town hall begins.

Joe Hood

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Wow, two council persons using their real names on We're cooking with oil now. Thanks!

Frustrated in A2

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

Just vote down the building please city council and let's move on.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

If this building were to be allowed to be built as currently designed, it will be a terrible blot on our landscape. We strongly urge City Council not to approve the site plan. Yes, attorneys have told the City that they would lose a lawsuit. But other attorneys have made strong arguments to the contrary. The damage that would be done to our landscape warrants taking the chance.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

Ms. Biolchini could you please identify the city codes that you agree the project violates? Did you check any other source to determine that the booklet is indeed trustworthy enough so that you did not have to qualify your statement? Did you attempt to get confirmation from any city staff sources or independent experts before you published your article ?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:58 a.m.

Thank God. I hope they never vote for it. Recently I feel choking as I drive some AA streets.

Jon Saalberg

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

"Council members have been advised by city attorneys and an independent lawyer that should they not approve the site plan, the developer would have legal justification to bring a suit against the city." Council should stop their obstruction and let the developer move forward with their project. I don't really want to find I'm paying taxes to fund the city's ill-advised attempt to stop this development, via millions in legal fees and awards that result from the city being sued - and the preceding quote certainly makes it clear that a rejection of this project will, in the end, cost all of us.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 10:50 p.m.

I have a friend who works at a campus leasing agent and several who are real estate brokers, and the word is that all of the new large vertical developments are having trouble filling their units, despite the press to the contrary. I recognize that this is just heresy, but it is something to consider in weighing the approval of this project. With more in the pipeline, shouldn't we be at least a bit wary of the potential for overbuilding, if the current properties are showing signs of such? Maybe this 413 project is just too late to the party.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

A recent article, Crains Detroit Business, 4/17, on the oversupply of student housing in A2, and the report that a major gift will finance a new graduate center to include apartments for at least 600 graduate students, both point to the threat that 413, as proposed, will fail, thus further hurting neighboring residents and their properties.

Ron Burgandy

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

From the above courtesy photo (the third one from the top), I would be pretty peeved too, about having to live next to a building that resembled a giant Post-It note with the numbers 413 scribed across it in Sharpie! That is kind of ugly. I'd much prefer the building shown in the rendering right above that photo. At least that one has windows.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

A quick search of condos for sale at the Sloan Plaza next door to the potential 413 E Huron project shows at least 6 condos for sale, some have been on the market for a while, others are more recently listed for sale. The listings don't mention the orientation of the condo, whether it has west views (at the moment), that would not be a selling point, but I would guess there are more sales than these, and I would bet that at least some sales are the result of this pending project and its consequences (construction noise and the elimination of the west view/blocked daylight).


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

If this monster building gets built, I suspect there will be a lot of undermarket sales of those condos at Sloan Square on the west side of that building. Their views will be completely blocked by this monstrosity. Unbelievable.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

Out of the entire "fact booklet" and all other arguments against the development, this is really the only one that has something to it. The developer should probably propose a one-time financial reparation for the forecasted impact on property value, which probably isn't much btw.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

These Georgia developers have one goal: greed, at the expense of the city of A2. They want the most density allowable, most bang for their bucks, and then they fly back to Gerogia with fatter wallets. They are not part of the community, and not even part of Michigan. They have no interest in the community or how their monstrosity affects the city and surrounding neighborhoods other than GREED. They need to do much more than meet the zoning requirements. Take them to court, mayor, and show some leadership and backbone.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

Let's say you own a home and potential purchasers get into a bidding war over your house, far exceeding the listing price, would you sell to lowest bidder because it would be greedy to take more than the listing price?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

I didn't realize you know the developers so well. Is it not at all within the realm of possibility that they might want to produce something they could take pride in? I suppose anybody who produces any work which will end up in a different state is only motivated by GREED. This includes all builders, retailers, etc. who sell things that are not destined to stay local. What a cruel, cold world that we live in.

Jay Thomas

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

I'm still wondering where the parking for this is coming from.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

They only are planning for a limited number of parking spaces (122 out of 500 bedrooms?). I don't recall the exact numbers, but I guess they think that 3/4 of the residents will ride bikes.....of course they don't care if 300 more cars end up jamming into the surrounding neighborhoods on residential streets.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

According to many these people will be living in the center of the known universe (downtown). Where could they possibly want to drive to?

Stewart G. Griffin

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

...and I bet the term "decisive leadership" was used repeatedly in these elected officials' campaign rhetoric!

Howard Beale

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

Here's another fine example of government inaction! At least they could all vote on and approve going into recess. Please city council, quit stalling and vote on it already; whether it's a yes vote or a no vote, do your job and vote on it, then let the chips fall where they may. We the people are all tired of gridlock and nothing getting done...whether it be here in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Lansing or Washington DC.

Steve Beisheim

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Mike D, You need to get your voice heard at the next council meeting.. I'll have my time reserved to make my case for the apartments..... as I suggest you do so as well... and encourage any of your pro progress friends to do so as well.... These things are marketed to graduate students and young professionals.. The exact kind of people who help make downtown A2 thrive.. the Creative Class...


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

There will be no public comment at the next meeting. The public meeting was closed. It's too bad that the public meetings only attracted for the most part persons who opposed the project. The city council has the skewed view that everyone is against the project. The only brave young soul who spoke at meetings was met by jeers, hoots and hollers from the older adult opponents.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

The people currently making the downtown "thrive" are the tourists. It's mostly restaurants, bars and boutique retail.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

the creative class?? didn't know a certain demographic had a lock on that....

say it plain

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

I thought the has reported that this project is to be "marketed to UM students", not young professionals. It seemed also that there wouldn't be enough parking spaces for the bedrooms they'd proposed including, which would fit in with a student-marketing scheme.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Developers claim that their designs comply with the D1 zoning code. Opponents explained how they perceive that developers have not met all the legal conditions to have the site plan approved. I imagine that City Council will depend on its lawyers interpretation of all the legal claims offered by opponents. I am not a lawyer but considering all the legal references provided by opponents I am not certain for whom the court would decide.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

Sadly, the end result will be a lesser building being built as happened with City Place. If you take away the profit then design and materials will be the first things cut. Historic structures are still historic even if they sit next to a modern glass box. Chicago. Grand Rapids. Change is coming folks. It won't be all good, and it won't be all bad.

Joe Hood

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

If the council refuses 413, what will be the cost for the lawsuit? There must be a number somewhere on expected profit that investors are expecting (funny, those investors are probably the one protesting the project, they just don't know where in their 401Ks these investments are located). To add to the mix, a completed 413 project, when fully loaded with tenants, would be how much of a boon to the DDA? 413 is a by right project. The city set up the rules, the people purchased the properties basing their projections on those rules. The 413 folks have quite the legal case, just like anyone else that's been rolled in an alley.

Joe Hood

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:26 a.m.

Oh please ordmad, teach me. Are you saying there is no case law for a developer to sue the city? That you cannot fight city hall, here is an example of a city (St Paul, MN), losing a legal battle against a developer: Oh, here's another one, this time for $20 million: IANAL (I am not a lawyer) and I'm not a professional Scrabble player (but I can read the rules well enough not to lose). Tell me what I'm missing, I'd be curious.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:26 a.m.

What I object to is people spouting off about the law that have no clue. And I don't need your business - I help only reasonable, rational folks.

Hugh Giariola

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

Ordmad, you seem to accuse everyone who shares a different viewpoint than yours of needing to "be a lawyer" or "go to law school" when no one is claiming to be a lawyer. You sir seem to be an attorney, so please divulge your real name so that I may avoid your services in the future.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

Everything you say is incorrect but for the DDA part. Please either read up or go to law school so you have a better idea of what you're saying.

Larry Ryan

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

I sympathize with the neighbors but they should have seen this coming a long time ago. This land is on a block with other big buildings, one sits next door. It is on the widest boulevard downtown and a large building is appropriate here. I understand why it is zoned this way. I certainly don't want to pay for 30 years when the developer sues for $30 million. After that they are free to build anyway. At least there is a height limit now, this land sat for 30 years with no height limit. A building of equal or larger size was always possible at this site.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

There was a height limit before. Although not expressed as a height limit in so many words, the pre=existing Floor Area Ratio and setback requirements practically limited heights.

Larry Ryan

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Right but it is reduced at this site to 150'. 180 in the rest of downtown.

Joe Hood

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Ah, 180 feet (15 or 16 stories), from back in 2009.

Joe Hood

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

There is a height limit?

Dirty Mouth

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

It's a done deal. Face the music already, Ann Arbor belongs to the developers. Worrisome is this lawsuit red herring; I suspect City Council and DDA thinks the general public is pretty dense to believe such nonsense.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

So after two council meeting devoted entirely to this and the proposed DDA changes they again come up with zero progress. Good job, council. Way to tackle those tough issues head-on.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

Why is the city council so afraid to do its job?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Astute developers make their purchase offers contingent upon site plan approval. They do not close their purchase, consummating the sale, until a desired site plan is formally approved. If the site plan is not approved, they walk away from the property. They do not consummate purchase. Otherwise purchase of a property, while speculating on site plan approval is a high-risk development gamble. It may, or may not pay off. A little bullying goes a long way for a developer, as they force their site plan down a community's throat. Unbeknownst to the public, the 413 developer might already have 5 different site plans prepared, in line for approval, each decreasing density until approval is reached. This illustrates the common chess match, and risk associated with a speculative property purchase, without approved site plan in place. Site plan approval is never guaranteed. Site planning is a process that can take years before final approval. It is a negotiable process that is never cast in stone. That someone on city council might be rushing an initial plan to approval is cause for great alarm. It makes one question true motives of said push, who is benefiting, and who is being served!

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

You make a a really excellent point. They took a huge gamble, and it may not pay off. Some "developers" never build. Their sole focus is to get the approvals to build the project, and then they sell the project, and all the subsequent risk, to someone else. That is their expertise - they are experts at getting projects approved.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

OMG, it is exhausting to filter through your rhetoric. The first four sentences of your post are all saying the same thing. Your points would probably be better received if you toned it down a bit/not try to hard to sound sensational.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Another common tactic for a developer is to sell the property once the site plan is approved. The property instantly becomes more valuable. The known initial developer nets a stellar profit without even placing a ceremonial shovel in the ground. The subsequent unknown developer replaces expensive building materials (related to plan approval) with cheap ones (bait for council, then switch) and continues marching on. It's an old, tried and true game plan. It happens every day, all around the country.

Larry Ryan

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Rush? You're kidding right?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

What I saw was an opposition well coordinated by the adjacent neighbors, who created a" fact book". Whenever a group on one side or the other of an issue produces a "fact" to defend their position. One should be extremely diligent in checking these facts for the truth. It is my assumption the good folks serving on City Council will avail themselves to seek the truth.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

The reporter states that the "fact" book "referenced certain sections of city codes that the 413 E. Huron site plan violated". Oh really ? Is that how reporters check facts? Did she confirm that "fact" with the City's professional staff? Why didn't she ask for the developer's response?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Sure, but.. The developers hire high priced lawyers, and sometimes PR firms, to lobby for their position. Sometimes those lawyers even threaten lawsuits if they don't get their way. So when community members who will live near the development seek out legal facts that will help their case, it should not be surprising when they share that information. Council can only block this if they can legally justify it. They can't do it "just because" or from emotion.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

FACT 1 - If the City were not in compliance with State statutes, they would have denied our local ordinance. FACT 2 - No violation here, plans get approved after meeting code and adoption by council. FACT 3 - Are they required to include comments on issues created after the citizen meeting date? FACT 4 - special exception use is probably only required when sole use is parking. FACT 5 - people fill in wetlands and knock down trees all the time with site plan approvals FACT 6 - we should close all curb cuts along Huron Parkway per this fact, as all are a nuisance. FACT 7 - the only noise coming from the site is the people with pitchforks and torches. FACT 8 - people build high rises next to other buildings all the time and they always seem to have a way of putting the foundation in safely. FACT 9 - if blocking solar was an issue, then shouldn't the big trees be cut down also?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

I'm new to this melee so if this is a dumb question, so be it. What is the legal justification the developer(s) would have if city council does not approve the site plan?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

I am not a lawyer, but as I understand it the developer could only ever sue for- or hope to be awarded- damages. Damages in this case would be the cost of the land. Of course the land has inherent value that it could be sold for, so then damages would be what the developers had lost after selling the land. Based on the running rates per acre that the other student highrise buildings paid (2-3 million per acre), the developers could always sell their land for around 3 million. They paid around 6 million. Their claim for damages could only be the remaining 3 million. As Ordmad correctly states, the case law in this area overwhelmingly goes against the developer winning anything in this type of case. But in any event, I cant fathom how they could ever demand more than the 3 million they might lose from essentially overpaying for land.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

RunsWithScissors, it's an appropriate question and one that city council members and the mayor have been advised not to answer publicly per the the city attorney.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

Hoping you all are lawyers here because all the lawyers that have weighed in (except for the developers) are clear that there is no case law that supports the developer getting a nickle if it sues. Doesn't mean they won't file suit, just means their chances of winning are close to nil. And do you know what happens with 99% of civil lawsuits, they settle on a compromise: think a smaller building that does less harm to the neighborhood which is all the objectors are asking for. The developer's greed, of course, is getting in the way.

Alan Benard

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Google "Highest and best use." If you pass an ordinance, you have to live with that ordinance.

Larry Ryan

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

I agree with Hugh. The city could be out 10's of millions if this goes to court. Sounds like they would have a weak case. That would hit all taxpayers.

Hugh Giariola

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

Probably lots, as they purchased the property based on the fact that it was zoned appropriately for an apartment building. Now, some want to change the rules after the fact.

Mike D.

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

I regret that I had prior obligations and couldn't go to support this development. We need more density, and Huron Street is the appropriate place for it. To the people who live in the adjacent blocks: You live downtown. Do you think you live in the country? Is the fact that large buildings exist in a vibrant downtown surprising? The NIMBYism is too much to take seriously. To the council: Yes, consider your legacy. Will you be known as the council of progress and economic growth or yet another obstructionist organization making development and job creation in Ann Arbor prohibitively expensive with arbitrary roadblocks?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

I could go on... But I just want to say the bottom line here is that the only people that are truly, tangibly losing something in my opinion are those living on the West-facing side of the already-existing condos next door on Huron. Those folks will be losing their nice view of the cityscape, and I believe the developer should pay some sort of one-time reparation to those who would initially be affected. The property value of the units immediately facing the condo will likely take a (albeit small) hit. This is really the only argument that has legs to stand on...


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

I'm with Mike D here. I just read the fact book that this article links to. While it was overall nicely prepared, overall it looks quite ill-conceived: Fact 1, the argument that this site plan does not "promote public health", "provide adequate light", "lessen congestion", etc.) Are you kidding me? The building was designed within code, such that each unit within the building has lots of window space. Meanwhile, the shade on existing properties that the building creates does not appear to be overwhelming, especially in light of the fact that the existing properties are NOT bordered on any side by any other tall buildings. If this building were positioned such that it acts with another tall building to box in a property, that would be a different story. And as for congestion, again, are you kidding me? Guess what: any apartment that goes up is going to have tenants that are coming and going. Is your point that there should be no more apartments built anywhere? Meanwhile, what more efficient artery could the apartment be positioned on than Huron? Fact 2, the argument that the proposal cannot be approved until it complies with all ordinances, etc.) OK, fact 2 appears to be a restatement of fact 1.... Moving on... Fact 3, the proposal did not adequately reflect citizens' concerns) Can you prove that the proposal did not accurately reflect the concerns expressed by the time it was drafted? Concerns are always evolving, and I'm sure there will be a new concern tomorrow. Therefore, as soon as it is written, it is out of date, and you should be cognizant of that. Fact 4, there must be a separate approval of the underground parking structure) If this is true, then it is a technicality. Now that it is brought to light, the developer should pursue the separate approval, but it is really silly to say "Cancel the entire project". The developer is obviously not trying to hide the fact that there will be an underground garage.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Building downtown is very expensive. Therefore, rental rates can be expected to be high and exclude many renters. Quite possibly the highrise will not achieve occupancy targets and eventually be forced to declare bankruptcy, like with Ashley-Terrace.

Larry Ryan

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

It is mostly 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Anyone can live there who can pay the rent. There is a shortage of one and two bedrooms downtown. Many non-students will choose to live there.

Alan Benard

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

This friend speaks my mind.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

It is not for professionals. It is for 513 students.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

We "need" more density for what? To make the list of top 100 most dense cities or something?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Mike D: It is not so simple as to to support this project merely because you support the general concept of density in the downtown. The detractors to this project are not simply rejecting something "in their backyard" as you suggest. The Devil is in the Details. This specific proposed project is simply too much building on too small a piece of land. The pictures from the architects mask this fact. Think about building another Tower Plaza on this site, but then ADDING another 100,000 square feet to it!! When something is built that is this out of whack with its immediate context and actual market needs (ie: more student housing is NOT what the city needs), it doesn't bring the benefits you are rightfully seeking for our community through the addition of more "density".


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

My2bits: The development is compliant within the legal zoning limitations placed on this site. This site has been designated by the City through the DI and the previous C2AR zoning for the past 40 plus years for this type of dense development.

Mike D.

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

My2bits, "a destructive force"? This is an apartment building for professionals. It would not emit death rays, toxic radiation, tractor beams, or plumes of coal smoke. Let's put this in perspective.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

There are plenty of APPROPRIATE locations downtown for dense development. This building at this location is a destructive force to the adjacent neighborhoods and the the downtown's livability and to ALL the citizens of Ann Arbor.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Cheers to the public speakers regarding the 413 E Huron site plan. For example, delivery of info from your "fact book" was stellar. You operated as a finely honed relay team, handing off your message baton to the next runner, once your time-leg was reached. Your content was well thought, too, illustrating that the feeble site plan for this building not only destroys quality of life for a cherished surrounding neighborhood, but also precludes semblance of quality of life for new residents to be housed, as well as the rest of the city. Many legal and practical reasons were given for site plan denial. Please continue your excellent research work and public speaking. Hopefully you have a recruitment process in place to continue your public-speaking expression. A future action by the city is foreshadowed. You may be denied your public speaking voice, as happened to Mr. Partridge. Jeers to Mayor Hieftje and city attorneys, as they publicly and pathetically ordered Mr. Partridge away from the speaker's podium. They went to a televised "break" as Partridge's right to speak was broken. How'd that feel mayor and attorneys? Bullying a senior-age man away from "your forum?" The strength of government is determined by its treatment of its weakest community members. Double jeers, mayor! Please retire. Your voice is the one that deserves to be removed from the podium.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:39 p.m.

Also, I wouldn't say that I'm investigating; I'm stating what I observed from being present at the Monday meeting.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

a2grateful, Mr. Partridge was the only speaker during the 413 E. Huron hearing Monday night that Mayor Hieftje asked to step down from the podium and the only speaker that the council identified as having already spoken during the first part of that 413 hearing April 15. During the other hearing that was continued Monday from the previous April 15 meeting -- the DDA hearing -- none of the speakers were identified by the council as having already spoken April 15.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

Ms. Bilochini: As you are investigating, how many other speakers were turned away from the lectern last night? How many of last night's speakers also spoke at the pre-continued 413 E Huron hearing? Were there none, one, or several? If there was one or more, did they receive treatment equal to Mr. Partridge?

Amy Biolchini

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Regarding Thomas Partridge's attempt to speak at the continuation of the public hearing for the 413 E. Huron site plan: Partridge had spoken at the April 15 public hearing on the site plan, and according to the city's ordinances he could not speak Monday because it was a continuation of the same hearing. Though Partridge said Monday he believed the site plan had been changed since the April 15 meeting, Mayor Hieftje said it wasn't so. After asking Partridge to step down from the podium several times unsuccessfully, the mayor called a brief break and City Attorney Stephen Postema approached Partridge at the podium. Partridge asked for a specific ordinance number that he was violating, which was not immediately provided to my knowledge. Partridge sat down after Postema said several words to him quietly.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

Interesting question. Mr. Partridge contended that the site plan had been modified since last public hearing, allowing him right to additional speaking time. The city disagreed. It's a legal/procedural point, and I don't know which position is true. Regardless of circumstance, the appearance of Mr. Partridge's removal is far more detrimental than simply allowing him to speak.

Larry Ryan

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

But, Partridge insisted he be allowed to speak twice at the same public hearing. It makes no sense to let him do this. ou are saying everyone should be able to exercise their right and speak twice at he same public hearing?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Mr. Partridge speaks for those that rarely speak for themselves. His freedom and expression of speech are valued, and are as important as anyone else's, including mine and yours. Don't like the message? Oh well. The issue is the medium of free speech, not the message.

Larry Ryan

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

Partridge speaks multiple times at every meeting in town but he says the same thing over and over. He takes up huge amounts of time a the county, city, etc. I wasn't watching but from what I understand he tried to speak twice at the same public hearing. They have to keep order at meetings. Can't believe you are complaining about this, oh wait, yes I can...