The Ann Arbor City Council met Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new apartment complex downtown.

The Council’s consideration of a 32-apartment residential development, called Madison on Main, prompted heated responses from several community members. If approved, the building would be located on a property at 600 S. Main St. near the Washtenaw Dairy.

After discussion, the development was approved over the opposition of Councilmembers Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5) and Sumi Kailasapathy (D–Ward 1).

Three Ann Arbor residents expressed concerns about the project during commentary, telling the council they felt the construction and congestion would infringe upon their daily lives. Concerns of community members include the building’s planned large size, structure and potential traffic problems it could cause.

Ann Arbor resident Ethel Potts said she believes the building would only further contribute to the excess of large buildings in Ann Arbor.

“This proposal will be a continuation of the tall, massive building already built, which is towering over,” Potts said.  “The proposal shows no imagination, just profit.”

In an interview after the meeting, Potts said she planned to protest the Council’s decision to approve the building.

The apartment complex will include 32 apartments and 16 parking spots, a number that several residents said was too low.

Community members said they felt parking was already limited on Main Street and the low number of parking at the complex would congest the area even more.

“There will be a negative impact on the whole community due to inadequate parking,” Potts said.

The contractor, developer and a representative from the site designers were also present at the meeting to address resident concerns and discuss the logistics of the construction process.

Bill Kinley, owner of Phoenix Contractors, said his team is already working to solve parking issues. He also addressed pedestrian safety.

“Within 90 days, we will develop a long scaffold construction tunnel to minimize impact on the neighborhood,” Kinley said.

Victor Saroki, president of Saroki Architecture, attended the meeting to defend the building’s design.

“We’ve had good meetings with staff, review and board meetings,” Saroki said. “We’ve hopefully tried to address the concerns.”

In response to community members who felt the building would be higher than promised, Saroki said the building is still slated to reach the originally proposed height of 60 feet tall.

Councilmembers also expressed several concerns about the project before voting to approve it.

Councilmember Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) questioned whether or not the name — “Madison on Main” — would be confusing to the Ann Arbor Fire Department. 

Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) also wanted to know why the parking driveway would be placed on Main Street and not Madison Street.

Anglin, who voted against the proposal, said he felt that the project wasn’t appropriate based on the area’s zoning.

“This building is trying to squeeze something into a spot that it doesn’t work in,” Anglin said. “As someone said earlier, there are alternatives. There are always alternatives.”

Along with the apartment complex, Council also began discussion about the adoption of a Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance — a proposal which would have directed the city’s planning committee to address flood zones in the city.

Some councilmembers felt that the issue should be postponed. Others said the policy area necessitated urgent action, and argued the ordinance be directed to the Ann Arbor Planning Committee immediately.

Postponement eventually carried with a 7-4 vote after an hour-long debate.

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