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Posted on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 8:10 p.m.

University of Michigan soccer complex annexation gets approval from Ann Arbor Planning Commission

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Ann Arbor Planning Commission voted 8-0 tonight in favor of annexing 12.5 acres of property into the city limits.

The move will help the University of Michigan build a new soccer stadium on South Main Street within the next year and hook it up to the city's water and sewer utilities.


An artist rendering of U-M's proposed soccer stadium.

The proposal now goes to the City Council with a unanimous recommendation for approval.

Jill Thacher of the city's planning department said at the start of tonight's meeting that the soccer complex isn't consistent with the city's Master Plan. That plan recommends using the site for residential dwellings and neighborhood parkland. 

But by zoning the site "public land," the university will be allowed to continue to use it for soccer, she said. U-M currently has two practice fields and a competitive field on the site.

Planning Commissioner Wendy Woods asked city staff whether the surrounding homeowners were notified of U-M's proposal and whether they had any concerns.

Thacher said residents were notified by mail, and only one property owner responded with input. She said the resident had concerns about the lack of access to the site from South Main Street and about problems with people parking at the Busch's grocery store across the street and walking to the soccer complex for games.

Thacher agreed that's not safe and probably isn't good for business for the retailer.

Jim Kosteva, director of community relations for U-M, appeared before the commission to say the university has no plans to expand parking. He said the university intends to continue to steer people toward accessing the site from South State Street. 

Kosteva said adequate parking is available at the nearby tennis and gymnastics complex there, as well as a nearby park-and-ride lot.

Planning Commissioner Jean Carlberg said she was concerned families with children who live near the field would be disturbed by night games. She encouraged the university to monitor noise levels.

Kosteva said there are about 15 to 20 men's and women's home soccer games each year, and a little more than a third are night games. He said preliminary site work for the new complex already has begun, and it should be constructed by next September to accommodate next fall's schedule.

The soccer complex is located on the east side of South Main Street, south of Ann Arbor Saline Road.

Kosteva admitted tonight the university was caught by surprise that the property, originally platted in Pittsfield Township, was never incorporated into the city limits.

U-M unveiled an architectural rendering in September showing its plans for a $6 million soccer stadium. The design by Jickling Lyman Powell Associates Inc. was approved by the university's Board of Regents in June. It calls for a 20,000-square-foot building with seating for 1,800.

The university wants to connect to city utilities to provide restrooms and other amenities for the new soccer stadium to be constructed around the competition field.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 4:36 p.m.

I attended several soccer games this year and never saw anybody enter the complex from Main Street. As someone else mentioned, the gate to the fields is locked on Main Street. The U does a very good job of having signage out on State Street steering people to the appropriate parking lot. Last year the women played one game at the new facility, on the practice field closest to Main. For that one game, yes, Woodland Plaza saw quite a few cars, as fans drove had to find the new location/field. In terms of noise, attend a soccer game and double the attendance. These aren't exactly crawling with people. Maybe a couple hundred, many of them young kids enjoying an afternoon or evening with family. It's a very tame crowd.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:17 p.m.

SemperFi, when I purchased the condo it was a wooded area, not an empty field.

Marvin Face

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:46 p.m.

How do the "fans" that park across Main St access the complex? There is a fence that surrounds the entire complex and the gates are locked. Do people climb the fence?


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:25 a.m.

Kosteva's comments on parking are not reassuring to local retail business owners and residents. Whatever they've done in the past to steer soccer game attendees to their parking lots off State St. hasn't worked all that well apparently. The Woodland Plaza Shopping Center has ended up with the eastern part of the lot mostly filled up for some of the soccer games. At a minimum here, I would think U-M should include in all their communications with fans that they need to park in the lots off State St. If that doesn't work, the shopping center may have to put up signs threatening towing as they need to do on home football game weekends.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:08 a.m.

UM Soccer is great fun!! However, the city should pass a law that the University cannot buy any more land. Everytime they buy something else my taxes go up.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:12 a.m.

Eric, you didn't see the soccer field when you bought your condo? Seems that you should pay a little more attention to the neighborhood when you buy. You thought that it would sstay an empty field forever? Caveat emptor. The Michigan Soccer Complex will be an excellent addition to the athltic complex.

Rhe Buttle

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:04 a.m.

@Erik... just hold onto it for 20 years or so and the U willget condemnation of the condo properties. Then you can claim losses on your taxes. Anybody else ever see the plan for SOUTH CAMPUS? You think the U does these things will nilly? They won't be happy until there is a Maltese cross on the map of AA, which will all be U owned. Go ahead, ask them about South Campus. See what kind of information you can get.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 9:50 a.m.

This will be horrible for the resale of my condo which is right next to this complex! Ugh!


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 6:35 a.m.

If you haven't been to a U of M soccer game, you should. As Basic Bob pointed out it is FREE. There is not a better deal anywhere. It is a great family event. This is one of the many positive things U of M gives back to community. I think you can still bring your own food and drink to the game as well...saving even more money. Spend a couple of hours with the family at one of the games. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Basic Bob

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 5:52 a.m.

U-M has owned the land for years, and does not paid any property taxes to Pittsfield since it is public land. They have already developed the fields, but use portable bleachers, restrooms, and concessions. The men's and women's varsity games are exciting and FREE. The entrance is on South State at the Tennis complex.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:40 a.m.

lol @ my typo I obviously meant "anything to keep up the Ann Arbor facade"


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:36 a.m.

The U of M is the biggest contributor to the Ann Arbor economy technically they can do whatever they want...this here proves just that. Anything to keep up the Ann Arbor facade! lol it should be a nice touch tho


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 11:57 p.m.

State of Michigan broke. School systems out of money. $6 million available for a sports facility. Happy tuition increases.