Zoning Changes Simplified, and the Moratorium

As promised, Councilmember Sabra Briere sent out an inquiry to her constituents in preparation for her vote on the proposed R4C/R2A moratorium.  With it, she helpfully included a thumbnail summary of all the zoning decisions to be made in Ann Arbor’s near future, with a  map to show the areas affected.

As she notes, “If you live in the downtown area, you live in the neighborhoods colored pink in the Zoning Activity Map.  This is the area involved in the A2D2 (Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown) study process.  We are nearly done with that, but not quite.  So far, we expect to vote on the final zoning and design guidelines in the fall.   (Editor’s note: postponed to the September 8 council meeting. Links to documents at the Planning website.)

“If you live in the areas colored yellow – or even just near them – you are in the areas currently impacted by the Area, Height and Placement zoning review, which is looking at (mostly) multi-family, commercial, industrial and office zoning.”  (Editor’s note: this is sometimes called the Chapter 55/59 revisions [big file]. Public meetings have been scheduled and anyone may go to any meeting.  Only the ones in the 3rd and 5th wards remain.  They are July 23 at Cobblestone Farm and July 30 at Forsythe, both at 6:30.)

“And if, like me, you live in the orange areas, you could be impacted by a development moratorium, and you definitely could be affected by the proposed study of R4C and R2A zones.”

CM Briere goes on to explain (the following has been edited for continuity),

“The Council has recently confronted a number of development proposals that fit the R4C zoning specifically but that don’t fit the master plan for the area of the proposal.  This disparity between the zoning regulation and the master plans has created significant difficulties for the adjacent neighborhoods, the planning staff, the Planning Commission, the Council – and even the developers.  The Council has felt constrained to approve projects that are not necessarily consistent with the plans and goals the citizens of set out for the City’s future.”

“Because these projects, often called ‘by right’ but truly just within the zoning, are likely to continue to be proposed, the Council decided to empanel a committee to look at the R4C and R2A zoning and the various area plans, and see how these can be brought into conformance.  At the same time, the Council directed the committee to address issues about the future use of these areas, and what types of protections should be created for the neighborhoods represented by these zonings.”

“Right now there are three projects under consideration. One of these is City Place, which just received a postponement until January, 2010. Another is The Moravian, which is proposed for the block of Madison between 4th and 5th Avenues, opposite Fingerle’s Lumber. The third is a speculative PUD (Planned Unit Development) being requested for Casa Dominick’s. No building is currently planned for that location, but the property owners would like the land zoned PUD.”

She asks the following questions (again, edited for brevity and consistency):

1. How do you feel about closing off demolition and development while the study committee studies R4C and R2A areas? (Editor’s note: remember this is for 180 days in the current draft resolution.)

2. Do you believe it’s fair to impose a moratorium while there are projects under consideration?

3. Do you believe, if a moratorium on development is imposed, that it should extend to the entire R2A and R4C areas? (… “the R4C and R2A areas are scattered all over the City.  However, the resolution is focused on the Central Area.”)

4. Is there anything else?

CM Briere invites any and all to respond to her by email (sabra.briere@gmail.com).  But it seems to me that this also serves as a good script for you to contact your own representatives on council and let them know what you think.

If you do nothing else, do take a look at that Zoning Activity Map.  It provides a really good perspective on all the zoning changes in the works.

Update: The Ann Arbor Chronicle has a long explanatory article about the Area, Height, and Placement proposals.

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One Comment on “Zoning Changes Simplified, and the Moratorium”


  1. This is such a great service. My hat goes off to you in terms of filtering all of this for us. Thank you.


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