Ann Arbor City Council delays final vote on 413 E. Huron high-rise for the second time
Amy Biolchini | AnnArbor.com
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.
Humphreys & Partners Architects
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.
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.
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.