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Posted on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Neighbors of proposed Maple Cove apartments wonder: Will project bring more crime to Ann Arbor?

By Ryan J. Stanton


Ann Arbor Planning Commissioner Tony Derezinski said it's a slippery slope if the commission starts to equate apartments with crime. "We have a lot of complexes going up, and if we were to use that criteria every time, I think it would be sort of suspect," he said during Tuesday night's meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

A discussion about a proposed housing development on Ann Arbor's west side Tuesday night turned into a debate about crime in relation to nearby apartment complexes.

The Ann Arbor Planning Commission voted 6-2 to recommend approval of the Maple Cove Apartments & Village project proposed for a mostly vacant 3-acre site near Maple Road and Miller Avenue, sending the project on to the City Council for final consideration.

Stephanie Raupp, who lives with her husband directly across from the proposed development on Maple Road, addressed the commission during a brief public hearing, saying she was speaking on behalf of more than 30 neighbors who oppose the project.

Raupp said there are many apartment complexes already along Maple Road, many with vacancies, and crime has been an issue at those locations. She argued apartment buildings in close proximity to freeway on- and off-ramps are natural hot spots for drug trafficking.


Stephanie Raupp, who lives with her husband directly across from the proposed development on Maple Road, addressed the commission during a brief public hearing, saying she was speaking on behalf of more than 30 neighbors who object to the project.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"We are right there at on-ramps to two major freeways and we're concerned," she said. "It's a neighborhood full of families and kids. We're not opposed to the single-family usage by any means, but the apartment just seems completely out of place in this neighborhood."

Property owner Muayad Kasham, who owns Superior Lawn Care & Snow Removal in Ann Arbor, wants to demolish an existing home and construct two 18-unit, three-story apartment buildings and seven single-family homes, as well as a 64-space parking lot. Site plans for the apartment buildings include 12 one-bedroom units and 24 two-bedroom units.

Some planning commissioners were sympathetic to Raupp's concerns about the potential for Maple Cove to bring more crime to the area.

Commissioner Bonnie Bona, who voted against the project with Commission Chairman Eric Mahler, pushed for a postponement so the commission could further study the issue and seek information from the police department about crime at nearby apartments.

"I was interested in finding out from the police department what the calls have been on apartments close to this intersection," Bona said. "I've heard similar things to what this homeowner mentioned and it would be helpful to know from the police department what they think the source of those problems are, if they even exist."

Commissioner Diane Giannola urged commissioners to think about the precedent they might be setting by evaluating crime statistics in relation to a proposed project.

"It worries me that by getting the information that Commissioner Bona is requesting that we're going to go on the assumption that an apartment building near an expressway automatically is going to bring crime," Giannola said. "Even if there are a couple of apartment complexes there that have crime, it does not mean the new one will, and I think it's a big jump to say that statistics that are already there are going to apply to anything that is built."

Commissioner Tony Derezinski, who also serves on the City Council, agreed it's a slippery slope if the commission starts to equate apartments with crime.

"We have a lot of complexes going up, and if we were to use that criteria every time, I think it would be sort of suspect," Derezinski said.


City Planner Matt Kowalski gave a report on the Maple Cove project and noted the zoning for the property allows up to a four-story building capped at 55 feet, but the developer is proposing only three stories or 44 feet of vertical development.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The property, located one mile south of Skyline High School, has on and off been a target of development since 2005.

Raupp, who has lived in her house for about six years, said crime is only one concern that neighbors have about the project.

"The main concern that everyone stated is we do have water runoff issues in this area," she said. "Our sump pump runs pretty much continuously, more so this time of year. A lot of the neighbors have similar issues, the neighbors surrounding that area. If you add an apartment complex and a huge parking lot on top of that, it's just only going to get worse."

Traffic is another concern for neighbors.

"This is a school area," Raupp said. "There are high-schoolers, middle-schoolers and even elementary-schoolers walking down this street every day in the morning and after school. It's a main pedestrian area and we are very concerned with traffic."

Another concern is the scale of the project.

"The height of the building is a big concern," Raupp said. "It's three stories tall. There's nothing near it that's three stories tall — nothing in the whole area — so that seems just excessive and we're very concerned about that just being inappropriate in our neighborhood."

City Planner Matt Kowalski gave a report on the Maple Cove project and noted the zoning for the property allows up to a four-story building capped at 55 feet, but the developer is proposing only three stories or 44 feet of vertical development.

Raupp stressed that neighbors are opposed only to the apartment portion of the proposal. She said they welcome the addition of single-family homes.

During other points of the 90-minute discussion, Commissioner Erica Briggs raised concerns about a lack of open space and pedestrian connectivity.

"There are some significant concerns in the neighborhood. There are some concerns that have been raised around the table right now," she said. "I think there are ways to improve this process and improve the development to make sure that it works better for the community."

Kowalski said although a rooftop patio area is available for residents of the new units, the city's parks staff has expressed concern over the lack of open space, too. The city requested a parks contribution payment of $26,660 but the petitioner has declined to pay that.

More than one planning commissioner suggested the developer could do a better job of working with the city and surrounding neighbors.

"If you want to have projects that receive more acceptance from the surrounding neighborhoods, it's important to listen to the concerns of the people who are going to be the neighbors there as well," said Commissioner Wendy Woods.


Planning Commissioner Kirk Westphal and five others supported the Maple Cove project Tuesday night in a 6-2 vote.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Woods also brought up concerns shared by the planning staff, which requested placement of sidewalks along the street leading to the single-family development. While the sidewalks aren't required by code, city staff believes they would increase safety and accessibility to Maple Road.

The developer was represented Tuesday night by local architect Brad Moore and an employee from Midwestern Consulting LLC.

Woods asked Moore if children living in the single-family homes would have to walk in the street to get to Maple Road to catch a bus to school. Moore noted it's a private drive, not a public street, and said they could either brave whatever light traffic might be on the private drive or walk in the grass.

That answer didn't seem to satisfy Woods, though, and she wondered how that situation might play out in the winter when the grounds are covered in ice and snow.

Raupp submitted petitions to the city's planning staff at Tuesday's meeting and said they were signed by more than 30 residents who want to stop the apartments from being built.

Though she voted against the project, Bona said she thinks the location is a good place for building more housing and she prefers not to see the land stay vacant.

"I think this is a great location for multi-family. I do have a couple of concerns, though," she said, again mentioning anecdotal accounts of crime at nearby apartments.

"It's the proximity to the highway and that easy access on and off," Raupp said of the problem. "Down toward the other apartment areas, we have had more graffiti in that area."

In other action, the commission voted 8-0 to approve a site plan to allow the city to construct a new three-story pump station (two floors below grade) totaling 5,114 square feet at 919 Sunset Ave. The station is proposed for the eastern side of an existing administration building. No natural features are proposed to be disturbed on the 10.5-acre site.

Commissioner Evan Pratt was absent.


This map shows the proposed location of the Maple Cove housing project in relation to surrounding neighborhoods near Miller Avenue an Maple Road.

Courtesy of City of Ann Arbor

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.



Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

I live in the subdivision in the SW corner of the Maple/Miller intersection. I believe Ann Arbor needs affordable housing, I myself am a single mother who can barely afford to be here. I don't know much about the proposed apartment building and I won't attempt an opinion on it yet, but I do have one concern that comes of knowing and living in this area: traffic. I drive my middle and high school children to school every day and Miller and Maple roads are far too fast and busy in rush hour. Somehow, students are expected to cross these streets and two roundabouts in the dark of winter, with poor lighting and little signage. In adding more population to the mix here, I hope the powers that be will look into the ability of Maple and Miller to handle pedestrian and traffic volume that already seems to dangerously overwhelm these roads.

Joseph Stratton

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

I am going to speak bluntly because it is what many people are thinking. During these tough economic times along with a reduction of police force, the Ypsi crime-wave inevitably has moved it's way to the West. If you deny this reality or call me a racist- you are wrong because all one has to do is read this on-line newspaper and they'll know where most of the violent crime originates in the area. Putting these apartments (whether section 8 or not) right off the freeway gives great access to said crime-wave that has already popped up in Scio Twp. It is a disease that is spreading with no end in sight. I am assuming many folks that organized their petition live in the Toll Bros development just North of the proposed-area. These are mini-mansions that (when-built) were valued near 1 Million. Today, most are worth 40% less. What are they supposed to do, just move and eat the loss? Or wait it out and risk a crime wave and further property value erosion? I am not saying I have a suggestion for this dilemma. But certainly, replacing a West side eye-sore with something that brings in tax revenue but significantly hurts those contributing far greater in taxes seems a bit wrong to me. Okay, off my soap box. You can all call me racist if you want- but if you knew who I am, you would feel foolish to do so.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Why do you assume that people are going to call you racist? Do you for some reason envision the future inhabitants of these apartments will be mostly people of color? Also, I lived in Woodbury Gardens off of Stadium and Industrial while in Grad school, and had an awesome living experience. There is a mixture of multi-family units, and single family town-homes just like this proposed project. Diversity of race, creed, and sexual orientation lived in my surrounding area, and in my opinion, any kid living around it benefited.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

This area was zoned residential for some time prior to 2008. A developer then purchased multiple lots in the area and re-zoned it to office. This developer did have a nice proposal to build offices with lofts on the top floor. The local residents were not very excited but were optimistic for this type of development. The plan provided lots of open space, walkways, rain gardens and only had 11 units for the lofts. The planning commission and city council approved this plan. The funding then fell through and this builder lost the land. Now there will be no offices, just apartments from a builder that does not want side walks or any open space except for parking. Very disappointing. This is a classic bait and switch.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 12:57 a.m.

Seems like we need more affordable housing as long as it's not in my backyard. Celebrate diversity people!

Linda Peck

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

Maple Road area has enough apartments. Landlords need to take care of the ones they have and update them if necessary. We don't need more in this area. I live very close to the Stadium and Jackson intersection and this area is of great importance to me personally. I would be very unhappy to see this project happen.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Yeah, I want a residential version Of "Dream Nightclub" in my neighborhood.

Joe Kidd

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

If I were on the Planning Commission when Stephanie Raupp made her comment on crime, I would ask her for some examples. No one should make such a statement without some data to support the claim.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Man, I hope this doesn't have any impact on the wait time at Knight's. It is already hard enough to get a table there.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Good story - very balanced It's the age old question - needs of the community versus property owners rights. Since the area was zoned for an apartment, it seems cut and dry what the decision needs to be but I feel for the neighbors looking to preserve their area ... A simple answer seems coming but not a simple solution

Jack Eaton

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

The property in question has two different zoning districts. The part that is situated on Calvin is zoned R1C (Single-family residential) and the part located on Maple Road is zoned O (office). As I understand it, Office zoning also allows residential uses. The problem with putting the apartments on the Maple Road site is that the plan does not provide the minimum open space required for such use.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

I live two blocks away and cannot see why this can't be built. There is a row of apartments just across Miller to the south and a senior citizens complex next to the Peace Center. So we add a few more apartments. Maybe this project will help the businesses at the corner become more healthy. Retail wise, the area has been pretty dead since the Sabor Latino market, closed a few years ago and the Marathon gas station closed. They just reopened the convenience store in the Miller/Maple shopping center after it was closed for several years. There is an empty retail space on the southwest corner that does not seem to be able to find a business to rent it.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

I lived next to an apartment complex for 10 years and while it does lower house values somewhat (not everyone wants to look out at a wall of brick, so your house is harder to sell), I never had any problems attributable to the people who lived there. There are positives: apartment complexes tend to be professionally maintained, so the walks are always shoveled, their trees won't fall on your garage, and there won't be old couches on the porches. Plus, a higher density of potential friends for you and your kids, more money for local stores, more tax revenue for the city, more kids in the schools. Embrace change!

Jack Eaton

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

It appears that both the issue of crime and the issue of insufficient open space would be reason to deny approval of the site plan. The City Code provides the standards for approving a site plan in Chapter 57 section 5:122(6). Sub-paragraph (c) of that section provides that Council must find "The development would not cause a public or private nuisance and would not have a detrimental effect on the public health, safety or welfare." It seems that data showing a likely increase in crime would be acceptable as demonstrating an impact on public health, safety or welfare. In other cases, data showing traffic problems would arise from a development were sufficient to trigger the public health, safety or welfare standard. Additionally, most zoning districts require a minimum amount of open space or payment in lieu of providing that open space. While the article is not clear about the reason for the request for the $26,000 contribution to the parks fund, it implies that there is not sufficient open space to satisfy the zoning district requirement. Insufficient open space would be an independent reason for denying approval of the site plan.

Jack Eaton

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

I actually did not say that I knew it would cause a "public nuisance". I quoted the city code, which discussed both nuisance and detrimental effect. Then I said if there is data, it would seem to show detrimental effect. Finally, I said nothing about affordable housing or subsidies.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

How do you know it will cause a public nuisance? One house could increase the crime rate of that area if it was occupied by a bunch of drug dealers. Exactly what data shows that there will be a crime increase? There probably will be more crime with more people living in the area, but that would happen if the development was all single family homes. Plus, I did not see anything in the original article about affordable housing or subsidies.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

As a resident who lives very close to this.proposed project, I am all for it. Do people understand zoning? The proposed use is permitted under zoning. I understand input and concerns based on traffic, runoff etc. But increase in crime? Come on? If residents are concerned about multiple family near them, please look at a zoning map before you buy! The old saying holds true, unless you own it you don't have control over it. Also, I believe any investment in this corridor is much needed. On a final note, if a "donation" is made to parks, please make it go to a nearby park that truly needs improvements.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

This area was zoned residential prior to 2008 for some time. A builder then purchased each of the lots and re-zoned it to office. The plan was very nice with offices on the first floor and lofts on the top floor. Residents were not excited but not completely against this development. Then funding fell through, builder lost the property and now it is an apartment complex. Bait and switch.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Regarding the stormwater problems, any development on this site should be required to install all proper forms of stormwater mitigation. I assume that this will be done as part of the regular planning process. The Calvin Street area was annexed to the city in response to the Gelman pollution, I believe. The roads were constructed according to much looser township rules and do not contain the storm drains that city streets are supposed to have. Some years ago the city engineering department proposed putting in proper streets with gutters and storm drains, but the residents of the area resisted the special assessments that would have paid for it. (I think Ingrid Sheldon was still mayor at the time.) We haven't quite figured out how to deal with these legacy costs, and this is not the only part of the city where it has been a problem. Perhaps we need a "legacy fund" that can help to mitigate such problems, especially where an annexed area houses older structures and residents of only moderate income.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

What you say is probably correct, Tom, but the neighborhood resistance to assessments was indeed the reason the streets weren't constructed to city standards. I only have my memory to back that up, however. I just consulted the staff report and it indicates that all stormwater is to be treated onsite for this particular site. BTW, it is in the Garden Homes drainage district, probably not attached to the Veterans Park drain. Here is what the report says: "The site is part of the Garden Homes Drainage District, which is under the jurisdiction of the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner WCWRC). The storm water treatment system, located under the parking lot at the rear of the apartment buildings, has been reviewed by the WCWRC (preliminary approval has been granted). Based on the total of impervious surface on the site, the petitioner is required to provide first flush and bankfull and 100 year storm detention capacity. All storm water runoff from the site including the single-family parcels and the private street will be treated on site. There currently is no storm water management system for the site.

Tom Whitaker

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

I don't know that neighborhood resistance to paving streets and installing gutters and storm sewers was as much of a factor in not pursuing this as the fact that the major storm drains, including the "West Park-Fairgrounds" drain that runs through Veterans Memorial Park, were already over capacity. There would have been no place to send the stormwater once it was collected. In fact, the drain running through Veteran's Park collapsed a few years ago, and there is still a hole surrounded by barricades along Dexter Ave. in front of the apartment complex there. Sequoia Blvd. and the Hollywood subdivision in general was one of the worst areas for sewage back-ups during storm events. Many of those sumps have now been connected to the storm water system so I imagine this has already increased the burden on the already over-capacity storm water system on Ann Arbor's west side.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

Mr. and Mrs. Raupp should join with the 30 other people who oppose this project and purchase this property. They can then subdivide this parcel into 7 lots, build and sell the single family dwellings they desire.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

This section of North Maple is hardly the jewel of Ann Arbor. The neighbors don't want an apartment complex but an overgrown lot that until recently had a junked bus in it is okey dokey! Go figure.

Sarah Parviz

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3 p.m.

I absolutely agree - the Ann Arbor City Council has been shoving low income housing on the outskirts of town for 40+ years. This is one of the few lower to middle income areas in A2 and I think the project (with some changes - like restricting the height of the buildings) fits in just fine and would be convenient for its tenants.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

@Arboriginal: In reply to your abuse reported comment: I don't think anyone reported your post as abusive; nothing offensive, and it would be gone by now anyway. I just noticed that the ones I've posted today also say abuse reported to me ... must be a glitch with their new comment system?!


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Better a vacant lot than threatening their precious children.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

Abuse reported? Really?


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Can someone please explain why, with vacant homes, vacant apartments, tons of vacant places to live in Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas, the city approved the building of NEW places to live? That is not going to help the housing situation rebound.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

I live in the area and I welcome the new apartments. I think this corner is an eyesore and brings down property values as it stands today. It is also dangerous, I cannot easily see down Maple from Miller when I am at the intersection heading east on Miller because that lot is over grown and not taken care of properly. That dumpy little house in that area does help matters either and I feel a new well maintained apartment complex would be a real boost to the area.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Besides your rude comment about the "dumpy little home", you failed to read the article and notice that the property is actually north of the "dumpy little home".


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Hey now, the owner of "that dumpy little house" might read your comment, do you think they would appreciate you calling their home that?

Ellis Sams

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

The crime concern is nonsense. Ann Arbor has many apartments close to freeways, and crime is not a problem in these complexes. Nonetheless, some commissioners chose to squander the public's time, because they wanted to be sure this was not a problem. Fortunately, common sense prevailed, and the project was approved. Here's a suggestion: Everyone should be forced to stand at all public meetings. Meetings would be much shorter, and the effects would benefit everyone.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

I prefer the hydraulic method of regulating meeting times. 1) All participants drink 1 liter of water in the first minute of the meeting. 2) Nobody leaves the room until the meeting agenda is fulfilled, in its entirety. Resulting meeting times will be about 30-45 minutes max. All of these meetings will be streamlined. . . ; - )


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

I see both sides of this story. If I had been living there for years I would not want to see a couple of three story buildings go up across the street from me either. The view would be depressing, especially since there are no similar buildings in the neighborhood. I also would probably not buy a house across the street from them. You won't see this happening in the fancier neighborhoods of Ann Arbor. Heaven forbid! Also, we and our neighbor next door live on 3 1/2 acres of land. I can't imagine this many people living on just 3 acres. Will the single family homes have any yard? On the other hand, if the zoning was there, not much can be done I suppose. Ann Arbor will like the taxes they get. I definitely do not think this is a racial issue. Oh, one more thing...did they do an environmental clean up of the property? Having grown up around there I know it would be a necessity because of the kinds of businesses that used that land.

Stan Hyne

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

I am opposed to affordable housing. I think it is a poor idea to charge all residents of Ann Arbor to put someone in an area/house they can't afford. The affordable housing people will be constantly reminded they don't have the money, clothes, etc. that their neighbors have. No one likes any new or bigger construction next to them. I liked the vacant lots on the old west side when I moved in there. I liked the Cunninghams Drug on the corner. All things change. Live with it


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

You sort of contradict yourself within your own post. On one hand you don't want any change then at the end you declare all things change and we must live with it. I am confused.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

these people don't want those apartments to be built there and i think everybody knows EXACTLY why but in this world of PC you have to watch what you say,when you say it, and how you say it. It's all about politics.Who you know?What you know.Who owes you? Who you owe? END OF STORY.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Looks like there is plenty of room on the same side of the street for a "police mini station!"

Basic Bob

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

Last time I was over there, they had one at the Maple Urgent Care.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

as someone who lives in the neighborhood I can tell you that there really really is water runoff problems. Example the storm on Thursday, on some streets it was a raging river of water and all our neighbors including ourselves had the sump pumps on all night as we kept checking the basement for water throughout the night, what we often have to do when it is raining. Also many backyards were standing ponds of water through the next day. The water infrastructure simply cannot handle the water runoff currently used in the surrounding neighborhoods to the proposed building. also apartments in the area don't really fit in. we do have a low crime area and it will be interesting to see the numbers of before and after. a lot of the people buy houses in the neighborhoods because it is either quite or isolated or both.

Joseph Stratton

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

quiet, with the exception of all that highway noise.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

I object to this incredibly. Please do not tarnish the good name this city has. There is a reason so many cities in Michigan were destroyed. Please do the right thing.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

What exactly do you object to? Affordable housing or the attitudes expressed by the neighbors?

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

I find it remarkable that planning commissioners gave the "crime" argument more than a brief, respectful hearing. This complaint does not belong in an evaluation of a petition. Neighbors and the planning commission should plan to be sure that the buildings have the proper configuration, do not add to flooding problems, have good pedestrian access, and other legitimate planning concerns. If there is a crime problem in the neighborhood, neighbors should meet with representatives of the police to address those specific concerns. As to open space, this development is just 0.65 miles from Veterans' Park. I live near that intersection and I would personally welcome a development at that location. It might help revitalize that intersection and give some life to the struggling Maple-Miller commercial plaza.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Thanks, Tom, your point is well taken regarding open space on the site itself. Here is what the staff report says: Although a rooftop patio area is available for use by the residents, Parks staff has expressed concern over the lack of open space available for residents of the apartments. The requested parks contribution is $26,660. The petitioner has declined providing a parks contribution. I confess that I still don't see why Veterans' Park can't function as the public park (I think Garden Homes is also not too far away) and how a monetary parks contribution from the developer would help the onsite open space issue. A complication here is that many adjacent parcels are township, so area planning is more difficult.

Tom Whitaker

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

RE the proximity to Veteran's Memorial Park: Open space in a site-specific planning and zoning context has nothing to do with parks. It is referring to the amount of space on a given site that is not taken up by buildings or other structures. Zoning was created as a means of improving the quality of life in cities by allowing for a reasonable amount of light and air, and to ease overcrowding. Open space is a key element for controlling those attributes. Ann Arbor also adds a subset of open space called "active open space." This is the portion of a site that is actually supposed to be usable for playing a game of frisbee, having a meal outdoors, or simply sitting in a lawn chair and getting some fresh air. Parks are certainly critical in the densest zoning districts, where high rises are built to the sidewalk, but in other zoning districts, the amount of open space on each site provides for the particular character of a neighborhood and establishes the rhythm between buildings, much like the spaces between the notes in music.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Thanks just wondering, it seemed strange to me too

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

In answer to the question, I don't understand the rationale for a parks contribution and I don't really know what the current practice is for these types of donations by developers. I know that PUD developers often make a parks donation in lieu of providing open space to show a community benefit. A question I'd like to see answered is, do such payments go into a special fund for the area in question or are they added to the parks acquisition fund? If the latter, they could easily be used to purchase greenbelt land far from this location.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

I too live near the intersection, and I think the problem with Maple-Miller plaza has more to do with the tenets. Good ones; Anthony's Pizza, Dr. Uslan, and The Hair Spot, seem to be doing fine. The chinese place (which I keep trying hoping it will get better) and the old re-incarnated for the tenth time Hop-In, we will have to wait and see. Id like to see Dearborn meat market or someone come in where Kowalski's was. Viv- What do you you think of the Parks payment? I found that silly


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

This seems like a good location (on bus line, by Skyline, close to grocery stores) and is already close to North Maple Estates so it wouldn't be the first "project" in this area. Ann Arbor already has a dire need for AFFORDABLE apartments, so hopefully the "help out the low-income people, but as long as they aren't in my backyard" residents and council members will support this housing development. It definitely has my support!


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

" ... so hopefully the "help out the low-income people, but as long as they aren't in my backyard" residents and council members will support this housing development." I think you hit the nail on the head with this one, whether you realized it or not. Tony, and the rest of council certainly do NOT want this type of housing across the street from them, so yep, they like the Maple location just fine. No room near Burns Park, either; sorry John.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

"It worries me that by getting the information that Commissioner Bona is requesting that we're going to go on the assumption that an apartment building near an expressway automatically is going to bring crime," Giannola said. "Even if there are a couple of apartment complexes there that have crime, it does not mean the new one will, and I think it's a big jump to say that statistics that are already there are going to apply to anything that is built." I wholeheartedly agree! Evaluating existing data is not warranted when planning new construction. Instead, let's just build it and hope for the best.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Why don't we just call this what it is: Ms. Raupp and her neighbors don't want people with a lower income and/or a different lifestyle than her living across the street. Plain and simple. Heaven forbid some single people move into their "family" environment! We are not all drug dealers.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Would you. We're all nimby's here.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

This is a section 8 project and nothing more.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

Finally, if the city were to discover higher crime rates in certain areas, they should probably patrol those areas more often. This holds true for Ann Arbor Hills, Burns Park, downtown, or highway-periphery properties.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

with what police force? I live in the area, and am not opposed to the development, but its on the edge of town. I barely ever see an Ann Arbor cop in the areas it is.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

What is sad is the amazing gulf between what the Ann Arbor Planning Commission approves and what actually gets built. For example, currently along Main street, we have rows of boarded up and dilapidated buildings crumbling away which seem to be stuck in a sort of time warp and contribute to urban blight. Yet, the Ann Arbor Planning Commission wants to move forward with yet another project that will also most likely stall or as pointed out erode the quality of life of the existing neighborhood. So, why not "move" Maple Cove Apartments & Village to Main street and rename it 'Main Street Cove Apartments & Village' and use the already vacant land, instead of tearing apart an already established and successful neighborhood? Logic must be considered when approving this endless stream of silly developments.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

It is quite sad to see neighbors fighting against development in accordance with existing zoning. Ann Arbor homeowners would be wise to look at a zoning map to see the type of development that is allowed in their neighborhoods. This pertains to vacant land, as well as parcel assemblage, and vertical redevelopment encouraged by new zoning overlays. Other issues of development? 1) Run-off issues are typically addressed in the city's stringent site-plan process. 2) Traffic is already apparent. 3) Local schools will welcome greater tax base and potential students. 4) Building heights as proposed already exist in nearby apartments and condos. 5) Open space is not a true issue, given Ann Arbor's extensive park system. Finally, residents of the new development would find a sidewalk to Maple a welcome amenity. Given the resistance of planning commission and neighbors, it is sad to see the developer resisting such a common-sense safety feature.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

Phrases of restriction, such as "high crime area," "singe-family preference," and "pride of ownership," are viewed as racially discriminatory, and have been since 1968. It will be very interesting to see participants in this process go down this path. Continue to follow this logic? Bring ample statistics and demographic data to form your restrictive conclusion. Then, expect a federal lawsuit for violation of the Fair Housing Act. Are we turning into Ann Arbor, Mississippi? Tony Derezinski has it right. Development protestors need to reformulate their sensitivities to discrimination of federally protected groups, including race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, and age.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

Thank you - it's disheartening to see this type of language used, especially in an apparently non-self aware manner. Based on the comments of some of the neighbors and public officials, I'm surprised we didn't hear how someone wouldn't want a sibling to enter into a domestic partnership with an apartment dweller.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

In all fairness, do North Maple Estates people bring casseroles to Ms Raupp's neighborhood? Being neighborly works both ways. That being said, I would like to think I would be more welcoming than the protestors, but I am not in their shoes, so who knows?


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

"be part of the solution and not part of the problem by fighting to prevent others from having access to schools, grocery stores and (relatively) safer neighborhoods." I couldn't care less one way or another about this issue, I justed wanted Not Me to know they have "schools, grocery stores and (relatively) safer neighborhoods" all over the country, and they could have access to all these things no matter where in the country you build this. Not sure if you knew this or not, but your statement makes it sound like you don't

Not Me

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

Well stated, a2grateful. Development protestors not only need to do some soul-searching on the reasons behind their NIMBY attitudes, but they also need to get to know their apartment-dwelling neighbors now to help diminish those prejudices. (Methinks Mrs. Raupp and others rarely venture to North Maple Estates to drop off casseroles or volunteer at Peace Neighborhood Center.) And while you're at it, protesters, visit us on the northeast side of town where we have apartments (Traver Ridge/Ironwood), income-based housing (Parkway Meadows), and a co-op (Arrowwood Hills) situated among single-family homes and condos. Let us show you how it's done. Ann Arbor desperately needs more affordable housing--be part of the solution and not part of the problem by fighting to prevent others from having access to schools, grocery stores and (relatively) safer neighborhoods. Don't let your fear of the unknown keep you blind!


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

What's your problem with Mississippi?


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

Do we really need another apartment building in this town? I'd like to see some statistics on apartment vacancy rates. Just because a developer wants to build it doesn't mean it is needed.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

Right, I'm sure the developer just got up one morning, threw a dart at the map, and said "let's build some apartments there!" Supply always shifts to meet demand. It's called economics, and it is studied by the intelligent.

Mike Hulsebus

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

Right now, in Ann Arbor, everything seems to stay pretty full. Last summer, I talked to people at the end of August who weren't able to find any available apartment in Ann Arbor or Ypsi. Whether vacancies will stay like that, over time though, who knows.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Should need be a factor for the planning commission to consider? If someone wants to build a restaurant or hotel, etc must there be a debate over the commercial viability of the project?

Chip Reed

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:55 a.m.

This used to be the impound lot for Fox's Towing, so I guess apartments would be an improvement over an oil-soaked empty lot. The Maple-Miller area has never been the fancy part of town (I moved there in 1958), so maybe nobody has been clamoring to build nice single-family homes on that land.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

became fancy


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

It became when the Hollywood subdivision was built.