Boyd Feb03pc


Notes from Presentation to the Planning Commission, February 4, 2003

James Boyd

Rezoning

Zoning is the pre-eminent question in this proposal. Crosswinds words don't match their own figures. They claim they can't build R1C because the extent of natural features was not known in 1995. Yet, their own assessment agrees with that from the 1995 Master Plan: 50% of the property is natural features. Their original R3 plan, designed to preserve as much of these natural features as possible, would have left only 15% woodlands and 16% wetlands. The current proposal will be even worse, and will include such untenable patches as the 543 sq ft. of woodlands on the SE corner.

Zoning matters. It is a commitment by the city to everyone who lives in Ann Arbor. Changes to the zoning should be compelling, and clearly benefit the city. It should not be left to the whim of developers. Comments regarding the desirability of mid to high level density are out of context. No one would propose R3 for all the remaining undeveloped lots in the city. Pauline and the natural features of this lot would make for an excellent transition from the numerous condos and apartments north of Pauline to the single-family detached homes to its south. This plan would waste that natural transition and push the R3 zoning on top of our homes. The Master Plan was created to provide a rational framework for the development of Ann Arbor. Any casual or laborious analysis of the zoning map shows that R1C is rational, R3 is not.

Footing Drain Disconnects

The Planning Department report claims that the FDD program will not be affected in "any way." Yet in the same paragraph they caution "It may be that additional footing drains, above and beyond those in the FDD program, will be disconnected as a result of this proposal."

The Planning Department agrees that the lot is indeed part of the Allen Creek headwaters. Do we have any information regarding how much of the headwaters are still open?

"There is no underground spring or any other single source of surface water originating from this site." We would be anxious to see the data that categorically negated these possibilities. The water is claimed to be runoff. I'd like to know, from where?

Traffic

The traffic analysis is only half complete. Traffic leaving the development must eventually use either Scio Church or Stadium. The Scio Church/South Maple intersection was studied and has significant delays. No analysis of the heavy Stadium traffic is included.

Track Record

One comment from the last public hearing referred to the history of quality of construction by Crosswinds. So far I only have commentary regarding Brentwood Square, and two of the buildings in that development have significant problems with water welling up between garage floors and driveways, causing wet garages. The condo association suspects that there are ground water sources that were not clearly identified at the time of construction. Crosswinds has made recent efforts at remediation, but until the Spring thaws and rains it won't be clear if the problem has been rectified.

Site Plan
Streets

The Planning Department appears bent on opening the stub streets from our neighborhood without regard for neighborhood input. The local residents do know what they want, and they want those stubs to remain deadends. Everyone on the PC knows what reaction to expect from residents at the prospect of opening any such dead end street in Ann Arbor. It will be loud and antagonistic. Has anyone here ever even heard of a petition from residents asking that their dead end street be open to through traffic? Opening the streets does exactly what you'd expect: it allows cars to cut through the neighborhood. I've never met a neighbor or made a friend by driving past someone's house.

I admit to being dismayed by the comment at the end of the Planning Department staff report, that following rezoning, the department would actually encourage the developer to return to their original plans, which were so heavily criticized back in November. For most of us neighborhood residents, this zoning and area plan business is entirely new. I did not at first actually believe that if rezoning were approved, we would have significant worries about changes to the approved area plan. I naively thought I could trust the city to hold the developer, within reason, to the area plan. Now, I feel blind-sided by city's own Planning Department, which is recommending major changes once rezoning is approved.


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