You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Moratorium halted: 14-story high-rise on East Huron now awaits approval from Ann Arbor City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton


The development team for the controversial 413 E. Huron project unveiled this new design at Monday night's meeting of the Ann Arbor City Council. The project is still opposed by residents who would be in the shadow of the new building.

Humphreys & Partners Architects

Citing concerns about the potential for a costly lawsuit against the city, Ann Arbor officials dropped the idea of a temporary moratorium on new downtown development Monday night.

About five hours into a meeting dominated by talks of new development, particularly a controversial high-rise proposed at 413 E. Huron St., the City Council voted 6-5 just before midnight to strip any references to a moratorium from a resolution later approved by council.

The stripped-down resolution unanimously approved early Tuesday morning directs the Planning Commission to review the city's D1 zoning for downtown and report back with recommendations for changes. Council members are interested in making sure future dense developments in the downtown core are more sensitive to their surroundings.


Another look at the new design for 413 E. Huron unveiled Monday night. This shows the signature corner at Division and Huron.

Humphreys & Partners Architects

Only five council members were in favor of a six-month moratorium on new site plan approvals in the D1 zoning district while the Planning Commission completes its review work: Sabra Briere, Sumi Kailasapathy, Jane Lumm, Mike Anglin and Chuck Warpehoski.

Mayor John Hieftje and five others — Sally Hart Petersen, Christopher Taylor, Stephen Kunselman, Marcia Higgins and Margie Teall — ultimately decided a moratorium isn't the way to go. Hieftje and Kunselman said it would require gambling with taxpayers' money and they couldn't do that.

The defeat of the moratorium opened the door for consideration of a 14-story high-rise proposed for 413 E. Huron. But after some discussion, the council decided early Tuesday morning to postpone the vote on the project two weeks until the council's April 1 meeting.

The project site plan calls for a 271,855-square-foot apartment building at the northeast corner of Division and Huron containing 216 apartments with 533 bedrooms and a total of 132 off-street parking spaces, including a 122-space underground garage and 10 surface parking spaces. Retail space and accessory uses for residences are proposed on the first floor.

The development team — a mix of out-of-state companies — submitted preliminary design plans to the city in late September. The project's estimated construction cost is $45 million, and an attorney for the project said it would generate $1.4 million in new yearly property taxes.

Conor McNally, chief development officer with Georgia-based Carter, spoke on behalf of the development team Monday night and Tuesday morning. He began his presentation by unveiling brand-new renderings that even council members hadn't seen before, showing design changes made since the project was voted on by the Planning Commission in February.


Among the many people who spoke out during a public hearing Monday night was Steve Bellock, who owns the house at 114 N. Division immediately north of the project. "My property is an 11-unit affordable apartment house," he said. "It is designated as a historic home, and what this project is going to do is to dwarf my crown-jewel home."

Ryan J. Stanton |

He said they've been working hard on the project for nine months and have made more changes in an effort to address lingering concerns about the massing and exterior design.

He said they've tried to visually separate the building's base from the tower and to separate the vertical elements of the building so it doesn't appear as a singular mass. The colors also have been changed to give a lighter look and separate the different components.

"And we've worked hard on the signature corner at Huron and Division to make sure it is architecturally significant," McNally said.

The end result, he said, is a move away from a perceived "monolithic look" by removing density from the top of the building and reworking the corners. He said they're still finalizing the new design, but they've shaved off roughly six or seven units and about 20 beds.

While some council members said they appreciated that move, some still have concerns about the project they're being asked to approve — a project opposed by many residents in the historic neighborhoods to the north and even the city's Historic District Commission.

"We believe the protection of our historic districts is not only the responsibility of the Historic District Commission, but of the City Council," said Ellen Ramsburgh, a member of the HDC.

Among the many people who spoke out during a public hearing Monday night was Steve Bellock, who owns the house at 114 N. Division immediately north of the project.


Conor McNally, chief development officer with Georgia-based Carter, spoke on behalf of the development team Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"My property is an 11-unit affordable apartment house," he said. "It is designated as a historic home, and what this project is going to do is to dwarf my crown-jewel home."

Bellock said he's done an analysis showing the house is going to be in shade at noon more than nine months out of the year if the project is built. He's also worried about trees on his property.

"When the developer did the tree inventory, he showed there are 13 trees on my property bigger than six inches," he said. "I've got a 24-inch black walnut in my front yard. Are you telling me that a 200-year-old tree is not going to be compromised by what's going on here?"

Ann Arbor resident Peter Eckstein suggested this area of downtown doesn't need more high-rises catering to University of Michigan students.

"The university decides how many students it will admit, so these towers don't increase the density of this town by one person," he said. "All they do is move the student population closer to Main Street, threatening to make it more like State Street and South University with Pinball Pete's and pizza parlors and safe sex shops. In the process, they threaten to make Huron into a concrete canyon."

Eckstein received a round of applause for his remarks from other members of the audience, some of whom indicated they've lived in Ann Arbor for decades.

"This massive building will be a looming, longstanding reminder that inertia and rhetoric trump commonsense and decency," Doug Kelbaugh, a U-M professor of architecture and urban planning, said of the proposed 413 E. Huron development.

Lumm pointed out the project is the maximum allowed height of 150 feet and is just short of the maximum allowed 279,699 square feet with premiums.

Given the limited size of the setbacks, Lumm concluded the developer didn't make much effort to consider alternatives that were more sensitive to surrounding neighbors.


Norm and Ilene Tyler, who live on Division Street just north of Huron, show council members their depiction of what the area could look like if other properties that are zoned D1 are developed to their full potential.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"I see this as an unwillingness to really consider the recommendations that many made to you, starting with the Design Review Board back in October," she told the developer.

McNally said they were sensitive to build in a buffer between the project and neighboring Sloan Plaza Condominiums. But given the zoning and the purchase price of the property, he said, it was important to be "relatively close" to maximizing the density allowed on the site.

He said the development team gave serious consideration to a fundamental change in the design early on, but it realized it would have to reduce the density by 30 to 40 percent to make the neighbors happy, and the project no longer would be economically viable after that.

"What I'm hearing, though, is that you paid too much for the property so therefore you have to max out the density," Kunselman responded, adding there seems to be "an incredible amount of inflexibility" on the developer's part to address the community's concerns.

"We are certainly willing to look at tradeoffs and removal of density," McNally said. "In fact, the plans we showed you tonight have removed density from the top of the building in a way that allows us to get a better design at the top of the building and deal with some of the comments."


Representatives of the 413 E. Huron high-rise project approach city hall Monday night with the Varsity student high-rise taking shape in the background across the street, immediately adjacent to the already built 411 Lofts student high-rise.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Hugh Sonk, who spoke on behalf of the Sloan Plaza Condominium Association, said witnessing the Varsity, another nearby student high-rise, go up across from him on Huron Street demonstrates how flawed the D1 zoning is and the impact it can have on adjacent historic properties.

"The project has dramatically impacted the historic Baptist Church property in a very negative way," he said. "What was one of the most beautiful blocks in downtown Ann Arbor has been forever scarred by this monstrosity. We can't let another building like that be built adjacent to historic structures."

Bruce Thomson, the former longtime owner of the property at 413 E. Huron, said his family held onto the property for decades and it's always been zoned to allow "big tall buildings." He said it's unreasonable for neighbors to attempt to prevent the land from being used as it's zoned.

"I can understand not wanting a 150-foot building next to your home — a completely reasonable wish," he said. "The answer, of course, is to purchase a home that's not directly adjacent to commercial property that fronts on a street that serves 30,000 cars a day."

Many residents who spoke Monday night called on council to approve the moratorium to stop the 413 E. Huron project. Council members on both sides of the 6-5 split vote acknowledged it was an extremely difficult choice, and some were uncertain how they'd vote until the last minute.

Kunselman said it was "heart-wrenching" to hear the impassioned pleas of residents who are going to be affected by the project. Taylor ultimately proposed the amendment that killed the moratorium, saying it would be a violation of his duty as a council member to act otherwise.

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.


Jay Thomas

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:44 a.m.

So to summarize. The winners: The family who sold the property to build this. Issa's Big Markup across the street (part of the Issa empire). The Carter people from Georgia... er in Real Estate development. Remains yet to be seen. The losers: The people living in the historic district. The folks with a condo in sloan plaza facing west. The other downtown high rise and apartment owners (now facing more competition). Anyone looking up, trying to find the stars, the sun, the moon.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 12:39 a.m.

In addition to the long term impact there is the short term impact of disruption of traffic flow, area homes, construction worker parking, noise etc. In a Historic Distoric wouldn't I have to get permission to change a front door on my house? Isn't there also a recent history in Ann Arbor of developers starting projects then bailing out, selling to other developers? The council should just abdicate and give all power to DDA and developers.

Widow Wadman

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Anglin proposed a moratorium a few years ago to block a building project. This year it was Briere and Kunselman proposing a moratorium to block 413 E. Huron project. Neither moratorium had a chance of ever being established and wasted valuable time and precious tax dollars. Would somebody please run against these people? Thank you.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

At the City Council hearing, the Council members who were voting against the moratorium all mentioned the possibility of exposing the city to costly litigation. City Attorney Stephen Postema did not mention any of this. In fact he had little to say at all and left the Council meeting prior to its conclusion. The number of people who came to City Council and actually address the body was the greatest I have ever seen on any issue. Almost no resident spoke favorably of the development. Catcalls were occaisionally directed at the developer representatives by residents. Many thought the moratorium was going to carry when Chuck Warpehoski voted for it. Sally Hart Peterson cast the deciding vote, however, against the moratorium. City Council should remember that residents vote in the City Council elections - not developers. Margie Teall and Marcis Higgins should be voted out of office for their cheerful support of this development.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Nothing is new here, the zoning was established in 2009. The neighbors should have continually worked to change the zoning from 2009 rather than waiting until the property was sold and a developer started planning. Perhaps if the council focused on important issues like zoning rather than on pet projects (too numerous to list) then the zoning would have been written differently and would have established better guidelines regarding development directly adjacent to other zoning types. Time to move to other issues and be thankful for the $1.4 million in new taxes that will result from the project. That's enough new revenue to add two new city fountains!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

Bill, I suppose that most Ann Arbor citizens do not scour the for zoning law changes. Even if they did and contacted their City Council member not much change would likely occur. If you live deep within a residential neighborhood your chances of having property next to you rezoned D1 is highly unlikely. By the way, the DDA and city will only receive the $1.4 million TIF payments if the student residence becomes fully occupied at listed leasing rates. Such success may not happen. Recall Ashley-Terrace?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

The mayor and council are doing what they do best and what they always do. And, as a small reminder, YOU ALL VOTED THEM INTO OFFICE AND YOU'LL DO IT AGAIN BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT ANN ARBORITES DO: Vote fools into office - over and over- and then whine about it.

Jay Thomas

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:25 a.m.

40,000 students with their heads crammed in textbooks will continue to vote the same politicians back over and over. If it was only townies voting it would be a different story. I think it's a clear conflict of interest for the Mayor to work for the U; but the students see it and know exactly who to vote for.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

You are more than welcome to run for office and show us how much better you can be at juggling your actual work with that of the equally demanding job of representing a diverse and intelligent constituency, where no mater what position you take, there will be a faction they think you sold out. I saw smart intelligent people who believe this city can be better, struggle through very difficult and emotional issues. they are standing up and doing something. And you???

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

Given the overwhelming body of case law and expert opinion collected on the issue of moratoria, vested rights, and zoning changes, it is clear, unless there were extenuating circumstances, that the City would have been on very firm legal ground to impose a moratorium--and even to change the zoning if need be. The planning and zoning book co-authored by Carol Rosati, the outside counsel brought in my City Council, affirms this. But apparently there was something more to the story that we are not being told, because the Mayor and Mr. Taylor and others, all seemed absolutely convinced of the exact opposite. Did the Mayor, someone on the planning commission, or someone in the planning department make a promise to the developer that they're project would be approved, or that the zoning would not change--a promise that the developer relied upon to move forward with purchasing the property and spending money on design? That might explain why they were so concerned about about a claim of bad faith (look up "promissory estoppel"). Will we ever know the whole truth or will the Mayor and Council hide behind attorney-client privilege yet again?

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

The book is updated very regularly (you can even subscribe to an online version that is automatically updated) and there have been no recent cases in Michigan or nationally that have created any new precedents. Clearly there is more to the story besides the basic legal principal of a city's ability to call a time out, study, and change its zoning. You call it paranoia, I call it learning from experience.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

Again Mr. W, in the meeting I watched it was indicated Rosati was consulted and it was intimated the conclusion was the City's legal standing was sketchy. Not the book's opinion when it was written, but the author's opinion today. Why the paranoia? If something goes against your view, it must be because of some sort of subterfuge. That has to be the only answer.

Rita Mitchell

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

The owners of the houses to the north of the proposed development have provided the city with the benefit of maintaining their unique, historic homes, in addition to contributing to the tax base. I appreciate their efforts each time I travel on Division St. How likely is the proposed development to be used to showcase positive qualities of Ann Arbor, as these historic homes have? I say it's unlikely.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

Where am I going to park my car?

Sam S Smith

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

Basic Bob that was too funny!

Basic Bob

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:51 a.m.

Brewer's Towing.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

That trreatened suit by the developers is blackmail. Is the city going to capitulate every time a developer threatens to sue? We HAVE to get our act together and have strong guidelines and revisit the zoning or we are going to be at the mercy of big time developers who threaten the City every time that they propose a development which is controversial. The building at Huron and Division is MORE THAN CONTROVERSIAL (and for good reason).


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

Ken, the law is the opposite of what you think it is. Sorry. Anyone can invest and lose any amount they choose on a speculative venture. They have no vested rights yet.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

You don't revisit the zoning and design guidelines AFTER a site plan with materials and massing that meet city standards are submitted for approval. The mere fact that it is "controversial" is not grounds for a rejection, and at this point, the developers have already expended tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs as they've acted in good faith in trying to hit a moving target. I doubt that "the guy who bought a house next to land with high-rise zoning doesn't like it" will fly in even the most liberal court. We don't hold a popular vote and allow 500 people to provide input into the design process for good reason: if by some miracle any project remained financially feasible after everything on everyone's wish list was added in, the result of this design-by-committee would be a convoluted mess that no one would be happy with.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

Lawsuit threat/capitulation is part of the dance. "Hey, we tried to do something but there were lawyers...!"


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Heaven forbid the city should allow a developer to build something that actually has a little architectural character to it. I'll bet if it was yet another fake-brick box with a cheap-looking crown that looks just like every other multistory apartment tower constructed in southeast Michigan since 2000, it would've sailed right through, like the "me-too" Varsity and Pizza House monuments to value-engineering. And given that we have a series of buildings lining Huron Street that have similar massing, to build anything along there that does not fill in the "holes" in this urban street frontage would represent a missed opportunity. Would I want to live in this building's shadow? No, but I also wouldn't buy property a block north of a major artery that is already lined with tall buildings, adjoining a clearly underutilized site that is zoned for more, without recognizing the basic business principle that anyone that spends enough to buy such a property on a major artery will want to make the most of his investment by maxing out the site.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

This is the architectural equivalent of Johnny Bag-O-Glass. Wait til those students get busy on it for 10 years.

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

The developers sprang a bunch of brand new drawings and renderings on city council last night. Were these drawings available for public viewing in city hall at least seven days prior to last night's public hearing as required by city code? Two different members of the development team stood up in front of Council last night and announced they had made "substantial changes" to the project since the planning commission's public hearing and vote on the matter. If so, why was this not remanded back to the planning commission for another hearing and vote? And on the subject of renderings, I was very pleased that Chuck Warpehoski challenged the developer's creative interpretations of reality--showing cartoon versions of their project in the most favorable light (literally) possible and minimizing the negative impacts on the surroundings. Too often, staff, planning commission and council are wowed by glossy renderings without question, when they instead should be relying on the actual hard dimensional data and analysis. Renderings are nothing more than propaganda and are not the substantial and material evidence council should be using to base their decisions on site plan approvals. Thank you, Chuck!

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

I definitely trust Norm Tyler's scaled drawing more than the developer's propaganda animations--ones that originally didn't even show any neighboring buildings or houses--just a building floating in a heavenly halo, with happy people skipping by in the sunshine. I'm reminded of the Moravian developer presenting a rendering that showed brand new street trees that were taller than the building--some 80+ feet! The intent was to make the building look smaller. It was totally laughable. Did the city attorney say if the brand new drawings, showing "substantial changes," were made available for public viewing 7 days in advance of the hearing as the ordinance requires? (The City cut off the online meeting feed at 1am, so I if he answered that, I missed it.)


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Did we look at the same meeting Mr. W? The very question came up if the proposed betterments being offered would require a return to Planning Commission and the City attorney said no. These computer generated perspective drawings are state of the art and probably as good a rendition without constructing a model that one could create. Your criticism is hollow until you suggest a better alternative to the time honored detailed colored architectural rendering. They are not cartoons. Now the Norm Tyler drawing being touted around since day one is definitely a cartoon and bears no resemblance to the actual design being presented. Of course per you summary this document is propaganda also for the opposition, right? What should a City Council member believe? A drawing based off the actual design or one not based on reality? Which side is presenting the truth?

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

And there was no public hearing on the moratorium. Those who spoke about it signed up for the open public comment spots that are available at the start of every council meeting.

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

CalmDown: I'm sorry, but you are incorrect. The public hearing for 413 E. Huron was last night. I was there, and I sat through the entire thing. Council only delayed their vote until April 1. Still, if there are "substantial changes" as both the developer and the developer's architect clearly stated, then it must go back to the planning commission. Staff must also review the substantial changes and issue a new report.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

Last night's hearing was on the moratorium, not specifically 413 Huron, so there was no requirement that drawings be available to the public. The article clearly states that council set the hearing on 413 Huron to be on April 1.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

Lesson learned painfully: Citizens need to vote on major issues and/or projects and not let the mayor or city council decide due to their hidden agendas.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

It will be quite a while before it gets close to resembling the snazzy drawings. For a couple years, it will look like this:


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

@timjbd great link, but note that Varsity is going up scary fast! @Bayport, well said. :(


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

I feel very sad and disillusioned to say the very least about the Council'd decision. Ann Arbor is becoming so ugly, and this building will make it even more so. All the convincing arguments that were given not to build this proposed building went unheard because the Council is afraid of being sued. Do the developers have a legal leg to stand on? Why an 8 figure settlement? They don't have THAT much money invested. We have to live with these monstrosities. I do not live in the area, but I really feel for the owners of those beautiful homes who will be in the shadow of this building, and I feel for Ann Arbor who is selling its soul to big out of state developers. Young professionals want charm as well as convenience, and most are moving to Saline, Dexter, Chelsea to maintain a sense of community and charm. I feel very sad for Ann Arbor.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

"I should say too that we are taking action to move forward. We have asked Planning Commission to revisit D1 zoning in these areas." Mr. Taylor, you have been on Council since 2009 and let this issue slide, resulting in this project happening. Why did you and others on Council waste the last four years not correcting this earlier?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

City Council and the Planning Commission were packed with members who believed in "more density at any cost." Since 2010 though City Council has replaced four members who are qualified and vocal so we are starting to see change. However, as far as I know, the Planning Commission remains staffed by those aligned with the Mayor who appointed them. Unless the Planning Commission is reconstituted independently expect few changes from the 2009 Zoning rules.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.


Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

timjbd what does >>>> mean?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.


Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

So again, the city council knew about this and did nothing? Can residents sue the city council? That's what I'd be concerned about as well if they can!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

Reality hurts. Ann Arbor doesn't have a say in development....only the deep pockets of the developers do.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3 p.m.

Although hi-rises are going up everywhere, Ann Arbor is more underwhelming than ever. There is public effect from private building projects. Projects are good but need planning and design in in relation to many different factors. Ann Arbor and any world class University town should not just be a cash cow for developers riding a bubble .


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Yes, that's right, when I think of the 'crown jewels' of Ann Arbor, I think of all the old houses that have been carved up into poorly maintained, overpriced apartments. Now that the crazies and the NIMBYs have spoken, can we get back to reality and approve this development already?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

I think the developer here is looking at a world of hurt in a few years and this isn't economically viable as is. 411 Sterling went up (corner of Division and Washington) and the owners went bankrupt shortly thereafter... demand was low. Granted the building is full now but the new building next door (the Varsity), appears to be struggling to secure new tenants. The new building on South U "flipped" within weeks of opening, have to believe that was a similar situation where developers spent too much and had to get out. Could the same thing happen here? Besides that, why would students, let alone that many, want to move all the way to that corner (Division and Huron) of town. That is not the side of campus where large amounts of students live and if this building were up while I was in school years ago it'd be the last place I'd consider. If I had to guess north of huron has always been 70% townies and 30% students. Carter is one building too late, they missed out. The bigger problem for the city is going to be having this large of a building half empty.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

In the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood only 26% of the homes are owner occupied (many of these renting a portion), the other 73% are rentals. The average age of the residents is 22 years old in this neighborhood. 36% of this rental population changes over every year. The average resident is only in this neighborhood for two years. Only 8% of the residents have lived in this neighborhood for five or more years. Only 1% of this population has children. All these facts are from the City of Ann Arbor.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

Scott Reed, most grad students and medical students are also thinking about the loans they have to pay off. I seriously doubt that many would be able to afford this. A few maybe but I wouldn't count on many.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

Oops... It is the last place I'd look to, sorry.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

@scott reed I'm all for competition in the market. A building like this will force landlords to improve their places or get left out in the cold. Contrary to what you're saying though, I don't think that many grad students live in the area (maybe 2 blocks east on the other side of state but not in this area) and I have a tough time understanding why a grad student would want to live in a glorified student dorm. I guess that might appeal to some, but if I were in med school, law school, etc... this is NOT the last place I'd look to. Plus, as @my2bits said, how are they going to pay for it? Grad students usually have less money than undergrads.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3 p.m.

Many grad students specifically DON'T want to live like that. And most can't afford to.

Scott Reed

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

North of Huron has a ton of graduate students and medical students. It seems to me most people actually LIVING there are renters, who would gladly move in to a nice, modern apartment building. That's why there is so much opposition - the incumbent landlords know this, and they are doing anything possible to box out competitors.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

Mr. Stanton, can you answer these questions please: When did the neighbors object to the zoning? Was it before or after the developer? If it was before the developer, why didn't city council address this? Does anyone know?

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Thank you Mr. Stanton!

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Yes, the new zoning was approved in 2009 and there was debate around it even then.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

Thank you cbrummer! So the city council approved this zoning in 2009 and the neighbors knew about this?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Check out the Ann Arbor Chronicle around about September of 2009 when the matter switched from D2 to special D1 zoning. Efforts began then to have D1/D2 re-examined in light of how that came about, the proliferation of PUDs to get around it, and a desire to link ordinance provisions so that diversity, sustainability and preservation were considered along with density. For example, various forums have called the current premium system into question in light of stated goals. The 2009 article was probably linked in recent coverage of 413 E Huron by the AAChronicle.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

That design looks awesome and is going to really benefit the city, our skyline. Can't believe this is even an issue. What a provincial town we live in. That street has been bare and that lot ugly and vacant. We should be eagerly pursuing such worthwhile investment in our town, not scaring developers away. Sorry Sloan Plaza and cry baby neighbors. You want to front the busiest street in town you need to expect development on it. Let them build, Ann Arbor needs it.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Here is an integrity test for City Council members: If an expert advises a council member that serious harm to the City is likely to result from a specific course of action, would the member favor that course of action? Failing the test: Sabra Briere, Sumi Kailasapathy, Jane Lumm, Mike Anglin and Chuck Warpehoski Passing the test: Mayor John Hieftje, Sally Hart Petersen, Christopher Taylor, Stephen Kunselman, Marcia Higgins and Margie Teall

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

Well AAmac, from the answers to my post where the city council knew about the zoning concerns in 2009 but did nothing to address this, it would hardly qualify the mayor or those on city council at that time as passing an "integrity" test in 2009 or now. Am I the only one who notices continual postponements about important issues (now such as the new train station at Fuller, the DDA and I'm sure others as well). Could it be that someone is hoping people forget or give up?

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Can you answer the questions in my post above?

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

When did the neighbors object to the zoning? Was it before or after the developer? If it was before the developer, why didn't city council address this? Does anyone know?

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

Thank you Tom Whitaker!

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

Neighbors objected strenuously at the time the density-drunk planning commission decided to spot zone the North side of E. Huron for the benefit of the 413 property owners, who even then were threatening a lawsuit. That was 2008. Then, as now, city council was more interested in protecting the interests of developers than the protecting the general welfare of the community.

Christopher Taylor

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

I agree with the neighbors -- as proposed this will be a detrimental, unwelcome building. Lawsuits don't scare me. The high likelihood of losing an 8-figure lawsuit does scare me. Based on everything I read (from neighbors, local lawyers, as well as advice received from Staff attorneys and highly respected outside counsel), I came to the unavoidable conclusion that efforts to block 413 E Huron would place Ann Arbor at an untenable risk. It was my fiduciary duty to vote against the moratorium. I should say too that we are taking action to move forward. We have asked Planning Commission to revisit D1 zoning in these areas. For my part, I want to adjust the residential housing premiums so as to eliminate the benefit for 3, 4, 5 and 6 bedroom units. This change will, I believe, incentivize work force housing downtown -- a goal we all share.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 1:38 a.m.

Chris never answered the question, specifically what led him to this conclusion: I came to the unavoidable conclusion that efforts to block 413 E Huron would place Ann Arbor at an untenable risk. It was my fiduciary duty to vote against the moratorium.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

I am very disappointed; this happens much too often. Sometimes we have to take a risk, and now we will have a horrid building. City Place destroyed 5th Ave and now this ... I fear Tom may be right--something is very fishy here. This was a very bad vote!

Joe Hood

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

Chris, Thanks for posting here! It's really nice to actually hear from someone on council.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

So you restrict the bedroom makeup of dwelling units. a three or four bedroom residence is bad? So much for families. In the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood there are 71 five bedroom apartments, 42 four bedroom apartments and 60 three bedroom apartments existing. Should we notify all these landlords the City no longer feels these units are appropriate for our town. A lot of the four and five bedroom units in this city provide an affordable housing opportunity for students who can not afford to live in some of these towers. You restrict the bedroom mix and you are going to drive up a the cost of affordability.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Smart, Tom. Very smart!

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

And it might also explain why the developers are thumbing their noses at the community--feeling no obligation whatsoever to try and make the project a better fit and less harmful. If already promised an approval, why not max things out and to hell with everyone who lives here?

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Given the overwhelming body of case law and expert opinion collected on the issue of moratoria, vested rights, and zoning changes, it is clear, unless there were extenuating circumstances, that the City would have been on very firm legal ground to impose a moratorium--and even to change the zoning if need be. Carol Rosati's (the outside counsel brought in my City Council) own book affirms this. But apparently there was something more to the story that we are not being told about, because the Mayor and Mr. Taylor and others, all seemed absolutely convinced of the exact opposite. Did the Mayor, someone on the planning commission, or someone in the planning department make a promise to the developer that they're project would be approved, or that the zoning would not change--a promise that the developer relied upon to move forward with purchasing the property and spending money on design? That might explain why they were so concerned about about a claim of bad faith (look up "promissory estoppel"). We deserve a full explanation.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

So, the Councilman was for the moratorium before he was against it. You have to love a politician's ability to be on both sides of the issue.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Incentivize work force housing downtown? Hmmm. Would anyone besides rich students or rich business people be able to afford living there? Even if I were a rich business person and I had a family, where could I take my children to play? There's no back yard or nice nearby park. The diag? Liberty Park? Where would my children go to school? I'm a glorified walker and don't have a car so how am I going to pick up my child from school if he/she is sick? Go to parents' night, transport my child to lessons and sports, go to the dentist, go shopping other than the expensive shops downtown? I guess I could ride my bike and put my child on the back of it but how am I going to transport purchases? And where I can keep my bike? I don't see any bike racks? Or are they going to be inside the building? Man, I'm going to need a big bike rack or wagon! OK now I'm a rich business person. Hmmm. After work, I want to get away from work. Paying exorbitant rent when I could be making a better investment with equity. I'm getting tired of eating out every day, it's costing a fortune and I'm no multimillionaire, at least not yet. Renting downtown makes more sense if I'm transient. Hmmm. I am transient but I'm just not into the student scene that much. Don't get me wrong I was once a student and I have to pay off my loan. Hmmm. I'd like to visit someplace but by the time I take the train or bus, the day will pretty much be gone. I guess I can stay in one of those hotels. Pay a taxi to get there and back. Why not? I've got money to burn. No now that I think of it, I'll just skype to do my business and stay where the cost of living or taxes aren't so high, I can pay off my student loan, buy a nice home and not be a dumb downed puppet of someone selling me a bridge to nowhere. I want to grow my money not spend it on pipe dreams!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

Chris, please share with us WHY you feel there was a high likelihood of losing an 8 figure lawsuit? Many experts disagree with that conclusion. Do you have specific cases to cite?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3 p.m.

You will be disappointed, Christopher. Affordable housing can not be built downtown and be profitable unless the city subsidizes the developers, which I hope will not happen. And by "subsidizing" I do not mean just returning TIF payments as is being done routinely to the detriment of revenue streams for both the DDA and the city.

Steve Bean

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

Chris, what about preventing massing of parcels?

Scott Reed

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Good. This insane moratorium would have been bad for the city. It would have driven away good developers who we need to improve the density and walkability of the downtown. If passed, it would have been a very sad statement - that Ann Arbor cannot stand up to its own incumbent landlords who fiercely lobby against competition near their turf. This is big win for renters - regardless of the cost of the 413 Huron units, more housing supply means a downward pressure on rental prices. This of course, in addition to the intrinsic benefits of this project - more people LIVING in the downtown, more density and vibrancy. Everyone in the surrounding neighborhood will benefit from this project and the people who will eventually live there. Let's hope the 413 E. Huron project is passed without any more delay.

Basic Bob

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

It might relieve the pressure to turn all the older homes near campus into student housing ghettos. These homes are never the same after adding upstairs kitchens, downstairs bathrooms, and alternate entrances. Like all projects opposed by NIMBY groups, It should be great for people who are not directly affected by it.

Dirty Mouth

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

I am all for downtown development, but I have a gut feeling that the pace and scope of the D1 zoned areas is excessive and the immediate impact will be felt for decades. This is truly a sad day for Ann Arbor.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

That wasted $750,000 for so-called public art would have gone a long way for paying for a lawsuit to fight this monstrosity. A2 city gov't has made their priorities known: help the fat cat developers do whatever they want to the city, ruining adjacent historical areas, pouring hundreds of cars into a small neighborhood by not providing enough parking spots, in the name of increased tax revenue. A2 is becoming Disneyland for the rich students, a transient group with no vested interest in the community. Developers scar the city with their monster projects and move on to another community where they can get fat.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Ryan, you took that picture from City Hall, does that looks like a friendly neighborhood area? Look at what our city is turning into, a windy cluster of prefabricated hive dwellings. Thanks for showing what the future of Ann Arbor will be if we stick with the current "plans".


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

I drive by that corner nearly every day. It used to be regularly blocked by semi-trucks delivering goods to Papa Johns. With the new high rise and retail on the main floor that intersection will be blocked much more frequently. The design needs to incorporate delivery areas that do NOT impede traffic flows. The existing design is right up to the street and that is just a very bad idea.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

In looking at the design and the planning staff commentary this development proposes to have an off street delivery area, avoiding the concern you are expressing. City staff, the Planning Commission and the developer all worked to make this happen.

Tom Joad

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

That new highrise they are building on E. Washington is COLOSSAL. It looks like it could fit half the student population in it alone. It also TOTALLY obstructs the view of the adjacent student high rise. The building proposed for 413 would obliterate the view to the west for those condo dwellers next door. I know you're not entitled to a 'view' or can even be compensated for having it obstructed, but who would want to have a wall of apartments as your view out the window. NO PRIVACY whatsoever. All those people on either side will have their curtains drawn day and night. It seems absolutely NO consideration whatsoever is given to this point in the design and placement of these monstrosities.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

The 413 project is 30 feet shorter than the Varsity. The 413 project purposefully pulled its east elevation facing Sloan Plaza 25 feet away from this building. Still a large structure. Anyone who has lived in any of the numerous urban centers in this country develops a life style and use of their properties which reflect these proximics. It is part of urban life. You adapt. Those people who live in fear of being seen close their blinds, those who embrace this life style enjoy the view.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

I hope this doesn't turn out like City Place. The original plan was far superior to the alternative.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

I like the building. Looks good.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

If one actually paid attention to what this developer is proposing to building the exterior has more redeeming qualities to it then the other recent examples built. Plus there is an obvious effort to make it not look the same as the banal examples recently built.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

How many more student warehouses does Ann Arbor need? At some point they'll run out of students who can afford them and the buildings will sit half empty. Will appartment layouts designed for groups of students appeal to non-students who want to live downtown?


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 5:01 a.m.

Exactly. The way this building is being laid out indicates that it is for students only. Who in their right mind would pay over $1,000/month for a BEDROOM!? You can get a really nice 3-bedroom apartment in the suburbs just outside Ann Arbor for that price!! It's a complete rip-off and shows that only rich UM students will be living there.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

Once the people who can afford it are all used up, the city can always work with Spark, Avalon, HUD, Commissions, Task Forces, Councils, Think Tanks, Incubators, etc. to put a few more million into Affordable Housing, at twice the cost but half the rent.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

Isn't illegal to discriminate in leasing rental property in Ann Arbor. Any one who chooses to and can afford to pay the rent can lease in this building. What if when their leasing office opened there were 500 baby boomers in line to take the units?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

And that point was passed halfway through construction of the Varsity.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

Very disappointing. Kunselman alluded to hoping this project won't get built. There's a gambler for you. Don't protect the city and its citizens (which is his job) by passing a moratorium but leave us exposed to a development that will be a permanent detriment to the city - and gamble that it won't get built due to market forces or whatever?!

Pete Warburton

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Plant a hibernating salamander behind "papa johns" old store ....The delay following the discovery will be every bit six months and may even stop the project.

Joe Hood

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

How much of a lawsuit would the city have faced?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

None. Zip. Zero. The developer would certainly have sued, but there was no risk of damages at this stage.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

Everyone expected there to be development on this sight. Its the massive out of scale unsightly building that is the problem. Why doesn't the developer realize what the developer on north main did is the way to go. Same return on the dollar but much more befitting its surroundings. Why do students get all the housing. What about family's and professionals who want a quality of life but in a urban area?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

I think the apartments on First are designed for people over 21.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

Exactly. All these fat cat developers care about is a fast buck from rich students. They will run out of them given all the student warehouses being built and this complex deserves to sit half empty. None of these buildings are designed for anyone over 21, and that's the sad part of this monster development. No consideration or thought to building urban housing for professionals or retirees who might want to live in a downtown setting. Or to adding services to downtown to support a more diverse population. Nope, Just student warehouses, bars, restaurants and the revolving door of overpriced boutiques.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

It is so quaint to hear a 14 story building referred to as a "high rise." It's the sort of thing one would hear in Mayberry. To those of you who do not like this sort of development, ask yourself this: how else will we achieve the population density that is necessary to support hizzoner's beloved choo-choos?

Basic Bob

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

It's right on the boomerang so all the impoverished med students can get to their jobs.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Ever since they recently invented that new metric we DO have enough density to support a Tomorrowland Monorail.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Welcome to Ann Arbor. Threaten to sue us on a nonsense claim and we'll let you do whatever you want.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

They don't call him High-Rise Hieftje for nothing.

Peter Konigsberg

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

I wish they had been worried about "Tax payers" when they made that Tax abatement deal with Phizer. That worked out well.............

Basic Bob

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Since now *Pfizer* is gone and the city collects a whopping zero taxes on the property.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

Bring it to Ypsilanti. We have a beautiful piece of property called Water Street complete with a river, close to a proposed train station, on the border to border trail, near to a to-be-built recreation center and with easy access to all of SE Michigan.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

I'm thinking that the kind of people who will pay $1000 per bed per month to live in this new building wouldn't want to shop at a family dollar or KFC. sigh......


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

Bruce Thompson said it best.... "I can understand not wanting a 150-foot building next to your home — a completely reasonable wish," he said. "The answer, of course, is to purchase a home that's not directly adjacent to commercial property that fronts on a street that serves 30,000 cars a day."


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

An eleven unit rental property? According to the zoning of this parcel it can only have based on its size, only have one six bedroom unit (R4C). So this property is a non-conforming use containing ten times more dwelling unit than the zoning allows. Talk about over developed!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

I think this is going to increase the value of their properties, as it is going to make downtown that much more exciting to live near. Also, if someone breaks up their home into 11 units, does that not lose the 'historic' character of it? Kind of absurd a landlord is claiming historic prop when he broke it up into 11 sep units, no?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

The homes were there first, but not the homeowners. There are quieter places they could have bought.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Good point but for the fact that the homes were there first by a hundred or more years.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Urban density goes hand in hand with a green belt. Anyone in favor of a green belt to prevent urban sprawl needs to be in favor of urban density or risk being a hypocrite. Huron Street has been a major route through this town since before anyone reading this was born. So Huron Street is a prime candidate for urban density.

soggy waffle

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.


soggy waffle

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Those students aren't looking to move to a suburban township, but they used to move to the student ghettos on South State. I've known 3 multi-units that were purchased as owner-occupants in the area, 2 converted to single family, one used as a mother-in-law unit. Every student that lives downtown stops putting trash in our streets (at least when partying at home), and is living downtown. The soviets had little success forcing people to live in high rises, but Manhattan has been successful allowing the markets to develop housing that people choose to buy. Seeing full occupancy says more to me than anyone's anecdotes about student housing demand. If you'd prefer, we could be like Detroit, Jackson, Lansing, Inner Loop Chicago, or Battle Creek; where no one lives downtown. Again, proof is in the pudding, Liberty Street is booming and more people are living downtown. Also, no one gets the first hipster award for realizing that downtown was cool before anyone else does. (How did the hipster burn his tounge? He drank coffee before it was cool!)

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

Name one UM student who was thinking of building/buying/renting a house in suburban subdivision or township, but instead opted for a downtown high rise. Ridiculous to in any way connect high rise student housing with urban sprawl. High rise apartment blocks didn't work for the Soviets, nor did it work for the social engineers in America came up with urban renewal--bulldozing neighborhoods and replacing them with massive high rises with no sense of community. Balance is key and recently, nearly all that's been built in Ann Arbor is student housing. Those who aren't students who dared to re-embrace the urban lifestyle before it was cool are now being run out of town on a rail by people who use the word density in every other sentence. Where will they go? To the townships, my friend, leaving downtown Ann Arbor for the student dorms, pizza parlors, bars, and 7-11's.

soggy waffle

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

I couldn't agree more. I do feel that the developer could have done a better job responding to some requests, I liked the idea of building taller (20 stories or so) at the corner and lower midblock, allowing more light into the neighborhood. In the end the city needs to build its tax base, if people don't live Ann Arbor they will just live somewhere else. Better they can walk to work or school than dump more traffic onto Huron at peak hours. In addition all of us are happy to see Liberty Street blossom, I'd bet those businesses wouldn't being doing as well without the new condos and students. Urbanism is not always what we want, America has built great cities but few beautiful ones.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

"What I'm hearing, though, is that you paid too much for the property so therefore you have to max out the density," And what I'm hearing is that the city blew the zoning, and now you want to project that failure onto the developer and shame him into compromising his business plan. Nice try.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

I feel sorry for the neighborhood, but I suppose this is inevitable. It is another monstrosity. Do they not teach esthetics in architecture schools?

Joe Hood

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

They do but nice architecture requires a bit money that is beyond what our retirement investment portfolios are willing to spend.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

It's really too bad this kind of public involvement didn't happen with the enormous Justice Center and $750,000 fountain. At least these developers aren't using our tax money to build it. SInce part of the reason for the Justice Center was how terribly and un-fixably awful the original building was, it's weord that now they're renovating and continuing to use the old one, and are apparently even going to pay money to put it in a shell to look more like the Justice Center. Just how much office space do you think is needed to run a town of this size?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:09 a.m.

It's only fair, now, that the neighbors be allowed to sell out to Walmart.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:55 a.m.

How completely disappointing.

Susan Montgomery

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:52 a.m.

Ryan - Great photo of the building representatives with the backdrop of those high-rises!

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

Thanks! I was happy to get that shot. Glad to know it's appreciated.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:42 a.m.

So, the citizens of Ann Arbor are going to be saddled with this 14 story monstrosity for generations because of a foolish zoning ordinance and the threat of a lawsuit. Way to go city council.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

How is it that "the citizens of Ann Arbor" are saddled? A private landowner spends $45 million on their property, employing over 500 construction trades personnel for a year and a half. Builds a building that will generate about $1.4 million in tax revenue which we all will benefit from. Lease it out to some 430 persons (assuming 80% vacancy). Those persons will spend about $4 million a year on goods and services to Ann Arbor area businesspersons.

Dirty Mouth

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Gill, you are assuming that the place will reach 100% occupancy. Most high rises in A2 never have. In fact, don't believe me, look it up yourself.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

By "saddled" do you mean and increase in tax base, and no taxpayer money spent to maintain it as it is a private development?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

We don't need any more high rises in Ann Arbor. Make good decisions first, and then you don't have to gamble with taxpayers dollars.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

So Carole gets to decide what other people can do with their property? IT IS NT YOUR DECISION TO MAKE. If you do not want that tall building built. BUY THE PROPERTY and build what YOU want on it. Until then, go away. The zoning on it is clear.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

Carole - The council voted to stop sprawl years ago. They then created the greenbelt millage. Part of that was to create a dense walkable downtown. This has been on the tables for years. Few if any citizens of Ann Arbor stepped forward during the process and said. "Wait, we don't need tall buildings downtown." Few rallied against the greenbelt millage. It passed, the zoning changes passed. The horse is out of the barn. If you want to change things, you need to get enough people involved to change those decisions. Fighting buildings that are proposed one at a time is a losing cause. Look at City Place. This is the 5th or 6th time that the zoning that everyone ignored when it was being discussed has resulted in a fight at the city council and it will only get worse as time goes on.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:15 a.m.

" Gambling with the taxpayers $$$$$$ " how noble ..except they do that everytime they open their mouths..this time they just heard the train coming ....

Joe Hood

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

Nice pun about the train!