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Call for an Alliance

This is the text of the original notice for the first meeting:


Meet Wednesday October 1, 2008 in the 3rd floor Conference Room at the Main Public Library 7:00 PM.

The City has embarked on an effort to increase the density of Ann Arbor.  The first of these changes, the removal of height limits in selected areas of the city, has already occurred while most of us were not watching.  Those changes have caused considerable concern among many of Ann Arbor’s citizens about the 25-story proposal for 601 Forest that could have between 1200 and 2000 occupants.  Many of the proposed changes and new interpretations of existing ordinances may have unintended consequences, create safety and quality of life issues, increase storm water runoff, decrease open space, place density above preservation of natural features.

Proposed changes to City regulations are intended to:

          Streamline the development process

          Further re-define and rezone the downtown and adjacent areas (A2D2)

          Revise the parking and private access ordinances

          Make alterations to the City’s Zoning regulations in Chapter 55

          And more…….

A broad, far-reaching revision to Chapter 55, the City’s zoning and land use ordinance, has already passed Planning Commission and is now before City Council for consideration.  These proposed changes include:

·        Significant increases in height for ALL non-single and 2-family zonings throughout the whole City.

·        Allowing these uses to increase to 5-12 stories when they abut residential uses

·        Allowing these uses to have NO HEIGHT LIMITS if they do not touch single or 2-family uses

·        Reduction of front setbacks and encouragement of non-residential developments to come to the sidewalks in ALL areas of the City, to make them more pedestrian friendly.

And, proposed changes to single and 2-family zones will be rolled out later…

There has been virtually no general citizen input on these proposed changes.  Business property owners were given an opportunity, as stakeholders, to preview the proposed changes to Chapter 55 before Planning Commission approved them.  However, the general public did not have this opportunity.  We, the general citizenry, need to make it clear that we are also Stakeholders.  We need to take the time to become informed and play a meaningful part in the process.

There is a need for neighborhoods to join together, share concerns and ideas, study proposed changes, and raise awareness, so that what is adopted is an improvement for the City as a whole and for existing neighborhoods.  An alliance of neighborhoods can be an effective forum, but will not replace existing groups.

If you are interested in joining an Alliance of Neighborhoods to study these and other planning issues, so that we may influence their final form, please plan to attend a preliminary organizational meeting of the Alliance of Neighborhoods, Wednesday October 1, in the 3rd floor Conference Room at the Main Library, 7:00 PM. 

In the meantime, if you are not aware of the proposed changes to Downtown OR the Citywide Zoning regulations, you can educate yourself and your constituents by downloading the proposed details of changes under review from the City Website: http://www.a2gov.org/government/communityservices/planninganddevelopment/planning/, by attending the City Council working session on the Chapter 55 changes September 15th or the Public hearing before Planning Commission on the proposed A2D2 changes to the Downtown definition and regulations, September 16.