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Re: E-M:/ Saving the Bluffs



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Enviro-Mich message from "David Zaber" <dzaber@chorus.net>
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Great work and a useful explanation of the strategy.  One comment however,
based on this snippet from the article:

The deletion disappointed Commissioner Kevin McDonald.  "One of the things I
did look forward to in this project is affordable
housing," he said. "It lacks a reason to make this a planned project. It
lacks benefit to the public."

 I hope that Commissioner McDonald's vote would not have changed if
so-called affordable housing units were included in the design.  Even if the
entire project consisted of affordable housing, it would still fail the
environmental test and therefore would still merit a no vote.

David J. Zaber
dzaber@chorus.net


----- Original Message -----
From: Anne Heise <aheise@orchard.wccnet.org>
To: enviro-mich postings <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2000 8:02 PM
Subject: E-M:/ Saving the Bluffs


> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Anne Heise <aheise@orchard.wccnet.org>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> Here's the press clip on the Ann Arbor condo project that got voted down
> by the Planning Commission due to community opposition.  Doug
>
> _____________________________________________________
>
> Condo project rejected Planning Commission vote a victory for
environmentalists
> Site currently contains office complex, mining sites, woodland
>
> Ann Arbor News
> Wednesday, December 22, 1999
>
> By ANNMARIE SCHULTZ
>
> The developer behind the Autumn Ridge condominium project on North Main
> Street was dealt a major setback Tuesday when the proposal got a unanimous
> thumbs down from the Ann Arbor Planning Commission.
>
> Rejecting the advice of its own planning staff, the Planning Commission
> voted 8-0 to recommend to the City Council that the project be denied
> approval.
>
> The vote was a big victory for a group of environmentalists and area
> residents who want the 21.8-acre site along North Main Street, next to
> Bluffs Park, kept natural. The site currently contains a 3.5-acre office
> complex, a one-time farm, several aggregate mining sites and about 6 acres
> of woodland.
>
> Steven Schafer, secretary-treasurer of Farmington Hills-based Phoenix Land
> Development, was disappointed with the commission's recommendation.
>
> "We've worked long and hard with the (city planning) staff and they
> recommended approval," he said. "We wanted to deliver a high quality
> development to the city."
>
> The proposal now goes before the City Council, which will have the final
> say.
>
> The city planning staff recommended approval of the development, which was
> recently scaled down from 208 units to 191. Other changes from earlier
> plans included scaling back the size of the tallest buildings from 38 to
> 35 feet and moving two buildings on the site to the east to reduce the
> visual impact on neighbors and to save landmark trees.
>
> Reasons for criticism of the development included increased congestion on
> Main Street, the value of existing wetlands on the site, erosion of the
> steep slope of the property and potential damage to the Huron River from
> runoff.
>
> Reasons for criticism of the development included increased congestion on
> Main Street, the value of existing wetlands on the site, erosion of the
> steep slope of the property and potential damage to the Huron River from
> runoff.
>
> "The members of the public here behind me believe (the development) takes
> more than it gives," said Mary Beth Doyle, a representative of Friends of
> the Bluff, a group that wants to preserve the parcel on which Autumn Ridge
> would be built.
>
> Nadia Selim, a representative of Cushing Malloy, a firm across Main Street
> from the proposed development that employs about 80 people, expressed her
> concern at the increased traffic along Main Street.
>
> "We have three drives and it's already impossible to get out of the drive
> during rush hour," Selim said.
>
> Friends of the Bluff member Bob Johnson said the two wetlands are more
> important than the city's building department claimed. He said a privately
> hired wetlands consultant found one of the wetlands is protected by the
> state because it has a connection to the Huron River.
>
> Planning Commissioners also found fault with the proposed development.
>
> "I find myself in agreement with much of what I have heard," Commissioner
> Sandy Arlinghaus said of the audience members' comments.
>
> "I do not believe development on this parcel is appropriate. I like to see
> condos - fine. On this site? No."
>
> Commissioner Jean Carlberg was particularly concerned with the traffic
> study's failure to address how quickly and how safely a turn could be made
> from the proposed development to Main Street.
>
> One item the developer withdrew prior to the public hearing was the
> opportunity for affordable housing on the site.
>
> The deletion disappointed Commissioner Kevin McDonald.
>
> "One of the things I did look forward to in this project is affordable
> housing," he said. "It lacks a reason to make this a planned project. It
> lacks benefit to the public."
>
> Critics of the development were pleased with the commission's
recommendation.
>
> "We're thrilled," said Bill Hanson, of the Friends of the Bluffs. "We
> think the Planning Commission did the right thing here tonight. They sent
> a clear message to the developer."
>
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