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Posted on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ellsworth Road townhomes development headed to Ann Arbor City Council for final approval

By Ryan J. Stanton


The property at 2081 E. Ellsworth Road is in the process of being annexed from Pittsfield Township and the petition is now at the state of Michigan awaiting final approval.

City of Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor Planning Commission voted 7-0 Thursday night in favor of a site plan for the proposed Summit Townhomes development on Ellsworth Road.

The proposal, which now goes to the Ann Arbor City Council for final approval, calls for constructing two dozen attached residential units (each roughly 1,300 square feet) on a 3-acre site on the north side of Ellsworth Road, just east of Stone School Road.

The proposed layout shows four two-story buildings varying in size from 80 to 160 feet long, with an attached one-car garage for each residential unit.

Wendy Rampson, the city's planning manager, said the project remains unchanged from when it came before the Planning Commission late last year.

The site plan was postponed by the Planning Commission at its Nov. 20 meeting, but it received unanimous approval Thursday night with all but two members present.

Leonard Michaels of Ohio-based CIW Engineering is representing the developer, Shawn Barrow of Orlando-based GROWWWWLEE LLC.

The property at 2081 E. Ellsworth Road is in the process of being annexed from Pittsfield Township and the petition is now at the state of Michigan awaiting final approval.

The site is proposed to be accessed by one driveway on Ellsworth Road. There would be two surface parking areas, each with 12 spaces, on the eastern and western sides of the property.

A public sidewalk is proposed along Ellsworth with interior sidewalks along the drives, and a small recreation area next to the parking lot in the southwest corner. Stormwater management would be provided under the parking lot and proposed open space on the western side.

The property is vacant after a single-family house and detached garage were demolished last summer in preparation for the new development.

Residents of the nearby Forest Hills Cooperative — a 306-unit, federally subsidized housing complex built in the early 1970s — came to speak against the project last June, saying the area already is overly dense, lacks amenities like parks and has traffic problems.

Claudia Myszke, manager of the cooperative, continued to express those concerns in written communications to the city and the developer in the weeks following last June's meeting.

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.



Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

This site may be part of the Stone School archeological find. Perhaps some careful investigation should take place before grading the land.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

How does annexation work?. Why would Pittsfield willingly give up tax revenue? What is the driver of the annexation of this property?

Basic Bob

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

The basic agreement was made in 1979. Ann Arbor won't annex beyond the freeway ring, except north of Ellsworth and east of State. Pittsfield won't oppose annexation inside the freeway ring. Access to city utilities is usually the motivation for the property owner.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Pittsfield Township and the City of Ann Arbor thrashed their common boundaries out over a ten year period ending about twelve years ago. They agreed to new boundaries that would not be implemented for ten years. But the ten year waiting period ended two years ago. The township land will move into Ann Arbor parcel by parcel as certain conditions are met, such as development, or ownership changes. (Dates and time periods are approximate, from my memory of reading about this in the old Ann Arbor News as it was happening.)


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

I am surprised that the entrances to the complex would be off of Ellsworth with all of the traffic problems already in that stretch. This may be incorrect information, but I have heard that Ellsworth can not be widened between Platt and State due to the instability of the land there (because of the the landfill?) It doesn't make sense to me. It also seems like any issues of that nature that could be solved through engineering. More likely is the thought that wider roads attract more traffic. Coupled with the city's movement to narrow roads. And the fact that this is a road that divides Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township. Having previously lived in that area for some time, I found accomplishing anything in a border area like that as a citizen is extremely difficult. More deals are made between the two municipalities politically and the needs of the residents who live in those areas are marginalized.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

The traffic problems on Ellsworth are just getting worse. They need to widen the whole road from Platt to State St.