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Posted on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Changes to city code give developers in downtown Ann Arbor more options for providing parking

By Ryan J. Stanton

Developers looking to build in downtown Ann Arbor likely will have a new option soon for meeting the city's off-street parking requirements.

The Ann Arbor City Council voted 11-0 to give initial approval Monday night to changes to the city code that will allow developers to meet the requirements by execution of a contract for parking permits within the city's public parking system.


Wendy Rampson, the city's planning manager, addresses the Ann Arbor City Council Monday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

City officials said that will improve flexibility of providing off-street parking in the newly created D1 and D2 zoning districts downtown.

"The intent of the proposed amendment is to provide flexibility in addressing parking needs for downtown development," said City Planner Jeff Kahan.

"It's important to remember that a great diversity of development sites exist downtown, including some that are too small to provide parking."

Kahan said no specific projects are envisioned with the proposed amendment, but it will be possible — once the changes are approved at second reading — for developers bringing forward future projects to work with the Downtown Development Authority on addressing parking needs in a city structure.

Wendy Rampson, the city's planning manager, said developers have had the ability to work with the DDA on permits for their projects, but they don't currently count toward meeting off-street parking requirements.

"If this amendment is approved, developers will be able to contract with the DDA for the required number of spaces, plus a surcharge which will serve as a contribution to the Parking and Transportation Fund," she said, adding the details of the policy will be provided at second reading of the amendments.

Potential prices for parking spaces were not available.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Tintin Milou

Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Hasn't there been a number of businesses moving out of downtown in the last couple of weeks? Why not tear down their buildings (e.g. Border) and pave the lots for parking purposes?


Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

The DDA should stand for elections. The council is abdicating more and more authority to them.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

Is there a reason we don't just build a 10-story parking garage ? Does Ann Arbor limit how high we can go ? Just wondering.... I mean if we build a 10-story garage eventually we'll use it. Seems a lot smarter than constantly talking and thinking about building little ones. Anyone know ?

John Q

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

What's the problem? If the DDA has excess capacity, better that it be used than adding more parking.

say it plain

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

No problem with using excess capacity. Problem with claiming that we needed more capacity, in the form of that underground structure that has kept downtown a mess for so long and will cost us long into the future via debt for its construction, if we did not. If the plan, as I suspect it was, had always been to build it as a developer lure of some kind or other.

Stan Hyne

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

More parking in public lots creates more revenue for the city as they get a portion of parking revenues. Would this appear to be self serving.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

As an after thought, in regards to the subterranean library parking facility, I do believe that, in order for the DDA to maintain its tax-advantaged bond issue, the DDA is limited to contracting only 10% of the parking spaces for private use. For the underground library parking structure that will limit assignment of parking spaces for developers to 65 spaces. This limitation does not apply to the parking lot across from the library as its construction was not paid by a bond issue, as I recall.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

Along with previous comments I am concerned that assigning parking spaces in our public parking facilities to residential and commercial developers will create problems for downtown visitors (and spenders) trying to find parking spots close to their destinations. However, as I understand, our parking facilities are only occasionally filled so assigning spaces will increase utilization and generate more revenue for the DDA. The DDA must be careful to parcel out only the number of spaces in a parking facility which would be unused otherwise. I am sure the DDA does not wish to discourage spenders from visiting downtown shops because of the lack of available parking. The DDA must have accurate usage statistics for each parking facility before permanently removing parking spaces for assignment to developers. A possible complication to this proposed arrangement is the reluctance of those living in residential developments to park their vehicles at some distance from where they live. How many residents would want to walk several blocks to the underground library parking lot to obtain their vehicle? And how frustrating it will be when a resident gets home and remembers that he left an important item back in his car which is parked several blocks away?


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

assigned spaces are currently available in the structures for what I believe is still at the $175.00 a month rate, unless there was an increase with the hourly rate.

say it plain

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Ah, now, shouldn't we assume that this was being planned as a change to city code when they built the new hole in the ground structure?! Does this city do *anything* in the light of day planning-wise?!


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

One wonders whether these parking places will be located on the fourth underground level of our new parking garage. It may be the only way those spaces will be used.

Donald Wilson

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

And how is THAT going to be enforced? The police don't enforce anything inside the Republic parking areas. I can go park my little 2 door car sideways across three spots and all I'll get is a slightly perturbed note, if I even get that.

nancy meader

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

This will bring money into the city coffers, but will exacerbate the parking problem downtown. Our downtown merchants don't deserver this hinderance to their businesses.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

This does not create MORE parking, it takes away parking from the general public. Parking is a problem already, this is only going to make it worse. Doesn't anyone else see this? Or is everyone on the council too busy oohhing and ahhing over the emperors' new clothes?


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

there is plenty of parking even on a busy Friday night, but people are too lazy to walk a couple of blocks to go to dinner...4th & William structure is rarely even close to full but because it's not on Main Street people would rather drive aound or wait for a space to open at 4th & Washington structure which is much smaller but closer to restaurants

Vince Aquinto

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Anything to get new projects downtown ... then to o under because of no parking!


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

The AA city gov. will do most anything and everything to please developers


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Really Yohan? Ask Alex de Parry that question. His nightmare started in 2007 and ended last year.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

The "nightmare" you refer to did exists 20 or so years ago. In the last 5-10 years (a.k.a. Heiftje years) it's been more like a red carpet.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

I don't think you'll find many developers who would agree. I more often hear this town can be a nightmare to get through council and commissions. If I were feeling cynical I'd probably say it sounds more like the city already has enough spaces, and is looking for ways to fill them up to pay for the big dig on Fifth.

Chip Reed

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

Hey, as long as the DDA gets their piece of the action, what's the problem? "Plus a surcharge which will serve as a contribution to the Parking and Transportation Fund", I guess it's not a bribe if they call it something else...