At their meeting Monday night, the Ann Arbor City Council addressed D1 zoning plans, public art and plans for the site at 413 East Huron Street.

The D1 zoning, the core downtown zoning area, has been a hot topic at council because some residents are opposed to the expansion of high-rise development in the downtown area. The D1 zoning resolution passed Monday requests that the city’s planning commission review the possibility of expansion within the area.

However, council members would still like to bring more specific recommendations to the commission. Specific requests include an inquiry as to whether the D1 zoning area is located on the north side of Huron Street between Division Street and South State Street, or on the south side of William Street between South Main Street and Fourth Avenue. The deadline for the review is Oct. 1.

Councilmember Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) argued that the resolution should be supported because it allows the commission ample time to complete a thorough review.

“The proposed resolution simply provides additional guidance to the planning commission and sets a clear deadline,” Briere said. “I believe the scope of work is accomplishable in six months and should be something Council members can support.”

Councilmember Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5) said he was concerned that the public would not be able to comment on the issue as it went to the planning commission, but Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said the residents will be able to write in and give feedback at more informal meetings.

Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) said he was worried about what Hieftje called a “concrete deadline.” Both he and the mayor said they want to make sure the review would return to City Council by the deadline.

Resolution to approve 413 East Huron site plans delayed

City Council moved to delay a vote on the resolution to approve the plans for the site at 413 East Huron Street that would create a 14-story apartment building with an underground parking garage.

A moratorium was placed on the development, which is set to be built in the D1 zoning area, twice before. At the March 18 City Council meeting, members engaged in a lengthy discussion that lasted well past midnight — most ended up agreeing that they should re-evaluate the project.

Many of the previous issues raised have been mitigated, and the current resolution addresses alternative tree mitigation, a contribution to city parks, drain requirements and energy specificities, among others.

Suspension of public art funds

City Council approved a resolution to extend the Percent for Art Program’s funding suspension until May 31.

The suspension, set to expire the night of the May meeting, was first extended on Dec. 3, 2012.

City Council’s intent in suspending the funding is to allow their committee — the Public Art Task Force — to reconsider city code with regard to public art and to allow City Council members time to review these considerations. The committee is currently still in the course of reviewing city code. They have asked for more time to finish their work.

Briere said she believes the extension should be granted due to unforeseen delays.

“I think that the task force has been quite effective in working through its concerns about public art and public art funding, but in the last month we have run into inevitable delays,” Briere said.

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