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Downtown Design Guidelines

New! The Downtown Design Guidelines were adopted by City Council on February 7, 2011 and may be viewed here:  Downtown Design Guidelines. The associated City Council Resolution, including a list of Design Review Board members, may be viewed here: February 7, 2011 DDG Resolution

Task Force

City Council established the Design Guidelines Task Force on January 19, 2010 and named the following seven members to the Task Force on February 1, 2010:

Marcia Higgins, City Council

Kirk Westphal, City Planning Commission

Tamara Burns

William Kinley

Richard Mitchell

Peter Pollack

Norm Tyler

Click here for the Task Force's charge. 

Task Force Meeting Packet Materials

See the Draft Document page for previously prepared documents and materials, including the draft Downtown Design Guidelines prepared by Winter & Company (dated September 30, 2009). 

Task Force Meeting #1 (March 24, 2010)

Task Force Meeting #2 (March 31, 2010)

  • Summary:  The Task Force discussed the Introduction chapter of the 9/30/09 draft and recommended the applicability section be moved to the first page, the credits and vision sections be moved to the appendix, and the remaining sections be re-ordered. 

Task Force Meeting #3 (April 7, 2010)

  • Summary:  The Task Force reviewed the changes made after meeting #2 and recommended numerous edits to the introduction, regulatory framework and interpreting paragraphs. 

Task Force Meeting #4 (April 21, 2010)

  • Summary:  The Task Force continued discussion of changed made and recommended additional revisions. 

Task Force Meeting #5 (April 28, 2010)

  • Summary:  The Task Force discussed the meaning of context and how it should apply to the guidelines.  The discussion included different ways in which context can be interpreted, different levels of context, and alternative words that may bettery convey the goals of the design guidelines. 

Task Force Meeting #6 (May 5, 2010)

  • Summary:  The Task Force began discussion of Chapter 2 General Design Guidelines and directed staff to streamline and consolidate the Introduction and Chapter 1. 

Task Force Meeting #7 (May 12, 2010) - CANCELLED

Task Force Meeting #8 (May 19, 2010)

  • Summary:  The Task Force continued streamlining the document by assigning each design principle to one of the design guidelines, then experimented with incorporating the principles and general guidelines together to reduce repetition.  Discussion on the definitions of context and contextual design, and how these should be emphasized in the document, continued. 

Task Force Meeting #9 (May 26, 2010)

  •  Summary:  Work on potentially combining the principles and general design guidelines, as well as emphasizing context and contextual design, continued.  Pros, cons and potential pitfalls were identified.  The next 5meeting dates were set.

Task Force Meeting #10 (June 2, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to the guidelines continued. 

Task Force Meeting #11 (June 9, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discusson on revisions to the guidelines continued.

Task Force Meeting #12 (June 16, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to the guidelines continued.

Task Force Meeting #13 (June 23, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to the guidelines continued and discussion on potential process and implementation plan started.

Task Force Meeting #14 (June 30, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on potential process and implementation plan continued.  Preliminary decision to require review before an independent design board who offers a nonbinding opinion.  Final decision to be made after revisions to the guidelines completed.

Task Force Meeting #15 (July 14, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to guidelines resumed. 

No meeting July 21, 2010 (due to Art Fair)

Task Force Meeting #16 (July 28, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to general guidelines. 

Task Force Meeting #17 (Aug. 4, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to general guidelines.

Task Force Meeting #18 (Aug. 11, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to general guidelines.

Task Force Meeting #19 (Aug. 18, 2010, 5:30-7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Review of all revisions to general guidelines.  It was determined that the general guidelines are now mostly complete and the focus should now shift to the character district design guidelines. 

Task Force Meeting #20 (Sept. 8, 5:15 - 7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Continued review of past work on general design guidelines and beginning discussion on revisions to character district design guidelines.  Start time changed for September meetings. 

Task Force Meeting #21 (Sept. 15, 5:15 - 7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to character district design guidelines. 

Task Force Meeting #22 (Sept. 22, 5:15 - 7:00 pm, 6th Floor Conference Room)

  • Summary:  Discussion on revisions to character district design guidelines.

Task Force Meeting #23 (Sept. 29, 5:15 pm, walking tour, meet at Michigan Theater on E. Liberty) 

  • Summary:  Walked and observed the State Street Character District.

Task Force Meeting #24 (Oct. 6, 5:15 - 6:30 pm, driving tour, meet at City Hall)

  • Summary:  Van tour of the South University, Main Street and First Street Character Districts. 

Task Force Meeting #25 (Oct. 13, 5:15 - 6:30 pm, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Ave.)

  • Summary:  Discussion about observations from walking and van tours, continued discussion on character district guidelines. 

Task Force Meeting #26 (Oct. 20, 5:15 - 6:30 pm, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Ave.)

  • Summary:  Continued discussion on character district descriptions and guidelines. 

Task Force Meeting #27 (Oct. 27, 5:15 - 6:30 pm, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Ave.)

  • Summary:  Continued discussion on character district descriptions and guidelines.

Task Force Meeting #28 (Nov. 3, 5:15-6:30 pm, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Ave.)

  • Summary: Continued discussion on character district descriptions and guidelines.

Task Force Meeting #29 (Nov. 10, 5:15-6:30 pm, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Ave.)

  • Summary: Reviewed photographs to be inserted in guidelines document.

Task Force Meeting #30 (Nov. 17, 5:15-6:30 pm, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Ave.)

  • Summary: Discussed process issues, including composition of Review Board, submittal requirements, and staff involvement.
Task Force Meeting #31 (December 8, 5:15-6:30, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Ave.)
  • Summary: Discussed process issues and reviewed staff recommendations.

Task Force Meeting #32 (December 15, 5:15 - 8:00, at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Avenue)

  • Summary: Discussed revisions to the guidelines document.
Task Force Meeting #33 (January 5, 5:15 - 6:30 at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Avenue)
  • Summary: Finalized portions of the guidelines document text and photographs.
Task Force Meeting #34 (January 12, 5:15 - 6:30 at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Avenue)
  • Summary: Finalized portions of the design review process.

Task Force Meeting #34 (January 26, 5:15 - 6:30 pm at Mitchell and Mouat Architects office, 113 N. Fourth Avenue)

  • Summary: Final meeting.
Comments from 2009 A2D2 Process 

Comments are continually collected by staff on behalf of the A2D2 Steering Committee and posted on the A2D2 website (see links below).  Go to the Design Guidelines Project Archive page to review meeting summaries from past workshops and public meetings. 

Background 

The Recommended Vision & Policy Framework for Downtown Ann Arbor (pdf), prepared in 2005 by Calthorpe Associates, calls for the development of new Urban Design Guidelines that:

  • Encourage high quality building design 
  • Prioritize the pedestrian experience
  • Complement the recommended overlay zones
  • Clearly illustrate the goals and standards for each requirement while being as objective as possible
  • Promote green building technologies

In 2006, City Council adopted a work plan for the Downtown Design Guidelines project and appointed an advisory committee to work with staff to guide the development of zoning changes and amendments to the Master Plan.  Committee meeting notes and public workshop materials are provided on the Project Archive page.

On October 15, 2007, City Council approved the recommendations of the Design Guidelines Advisory Committee and directed city staff and the Planning Commission to move forward with implementing code amendments.  The full report is provided on the Recommendations page.

On April 30, 2008, the first draft of proposed Downtown Design Guidelines was completed.  After an initial review, the A2D2 Steering Committee temporarily postponed work on the guidelines to instead focus on the Downtown Zoning project.  Attention returned to the guidelines in the spring of 2008 when the A2D2 Steering Committee requested revisions which simplified and streamlined the proposed document.  A draft of the simplified, streamlined version was completed on August 28, 2009. 

A public workshop to present the simplified, streamlined 8/28/09 draft of the proposed Downtown Design Guidelines was held on September 2, 2009.  The City Council, Planning Commission and Downtown Development Authority met jointly on September 14, 2009 to review the proposal.  A revised draft was completed on September 30, 2009 and the City Council held a public hearing on this version on October 5 and November 16, 2009. 

Last Updated: January 16, 2011

Citizens at a Design Workshop

Meetings

> Learn more about A2D2 meetings.

Contact

A2D2feedback@a2gov.org

or

Jill Thacher jthacher@a2gov.org
734.794.6265 x
42608

 


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