Ann Arbor officials say revised Heritage Row proposal still offers public benefits
The Ann Arbor City Council will consider a revised version of the Heritage Row apartments proposal when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday inside city hall.
Eight votes are required to approve the planned unit development, which calls for a deviation from the city's existing zoning on 1.23 acres at 407-437 S. Fifth Ave.
The project fell one vote short of approval when it was before council last year, but now council members are rethinking their position in order to stop another development approved for the site — the controversial City Place project, which would result in the demolition of seven homes.
In the time since the City Council voted to reconsider the Heritage Row PUD at its Oct. 3 meeting, the city's staff has reviewed the proposal presented by developer Jeff Helminski and compared it to the original Heritage Row PUD considered by council in June 2010.
Image courtesy of developer.
Rampson said the developer has revised the proposed PUD supplemental regulations for consideration at first reading tonight. If approved, the project would come back to council for second reading and final approval next Monday night.
With the changes made, Rampson said the city's planning staff has concluded the revised Heritage Row proposal still provides three notable public benefits:
- Affordable housing in excess of that required (14.45 units proposed compared to 12.3 units required)
- Innovation in land use and variety of design through incorporation of a historical streetscape
- Use and reuse of seven century-old homes that contribute to the desired character and form of the established Germantown neighborhood
The following chart was put together by the city's staff to show how the new Heritage Row proposal compares to the one council considered in June 2010:
But it doesn't appear the developer is counting on Heritage Row getting approved. City Place Ann Arbor LLC, which owns the land the seven houses stand on, is asking the City Council tonight to approve a resolution that would allow revised elevations for the City Place project.
The building elevations are being revised to accommodate minor changes to the interior layout of the buildings and to improve exterior aesthetics of the buildings. The developer wants to add windows to the gable ends on the north and south sides and make minor changes to window placement, as well as changes to the approved siding.
Council Member Tony Derezinski, D-2nd Ward, is the sponsor of that resolution, as well as another resolution on tonight's agenda that seeks some flexibility on the city's landscaping and screening requirements for the City Place site plan.
City Place was begrudgingly approved by the City Council in September 2009, despite concerns about aesthetics and whether the project fits the character of the neighborhood. It legally conformed with city codes, so the council felt it had no choice but to approve it.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.