The Ann Arbor Planning Commission voted unanimously last night to recommend to the Ann Arbor City Council that the body approve the annexation and rezoning of 12.5 acres of land at the site of the University of Michigan soccer complex for the construction of a stadium.
The complex, located at 2323 South Main St., is currently comprised of three fields – two for practice and one for competition. The stadium, for which preliminary construction has already begun, will seat approximately 2,000 people and include grandstands, concession stands, a press area and restrooms.
Construction on the site began last May after the Board of Regents approved the project. Troy-based architectural firm Jickling Lyman Powell Associates, Inc. designed the plan for the building and the Athletic Department provided the $6 million in funding.
The University petitioned for the site to be rezoned for public land because of the variety of zoning districts on all sides of the parcel. Currently, the facility does not comply with the city’s master plan recommendations, which allots the space for parklands.
By rezoning, the University would be able to continue to use the space for a sports venue and continue construction, allowing the facility to be connected to the city’s sewer and water systems.
Homeowners in the area were notified of the proposal by postcards in the mail but there have been no complaints, according to Thatcher. One resident did request clarification about entrance into the stadium and how it might crowd that area of Main Street during games, Thatcher said.
Jim Kosteva, director of community relations for the University, said he has held multiple neighborhood meetings since the plan was formulated.
Kosteva said access to the stadium will be limited to South State Street to avoid heavy traffic on the Main Street side. This will be done to prevent interruptions to local residents and stop businesses from losing parking spots to sports fans. The Main Street side will only be used for maintenance and care purposes and will be fenced off, he said.
The planning commission also addressed noise levels of the new facility. Kosteva said he did not foresee noise being a problem. Planning Commissioner Jean Carlberg said she was concerned that night games would disturb families in the proximity.
Kosteva said the complex has had night games for the past two years and no complaints have been filed, and that of the 15 to 20 home games between the men’s and women’s teams, only between 30 and 40 percent will be night games.
Kosteva said the complex is expected to be completed in time for the upcoming fall season.