A public evaluation of the downtown zoning amendments, adopted in 2009 as part of the Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown (A2D2) initiative, began in late July 2013. A series of interviews, focus groups, public events, community coffees and online activity is scheduled from July through September 2013 to engage residents, businesses, employees and downtown property owners in this process.
The goal of the Downtown Zoning Evaluation Project is to have a constructive discussion about what works in the downtown zoning, what does not, and possible changes. Through Friday, Aug. 16, constituents will be asked what issues should be addressed in the evaluation. After that time, options for changes to the downtown zoning will be evaluated and revised for final presentation to the City Council in October 2013.
The downtown zoning amendments were adopted in coordination with amendments to the city’s Downtown Plan (see www.a2gov.org/a2d2/zoning for more information). At the time of adoption, the City Planning Commission and City Council agreed that the ordinance should be evaluated after one year. Given the slow economy, this evaluation was deferred, but recent downtown development interest has prompted concern that the ordinance may be encouraging development that is inconsistent with the Downtown Plan objectives.
In March and April 2013, City Council passed the following resolutions directing the City Planning Commission to review the A2D2 zoning and provide a report with recommendations for any necessary amendments.
The City Planning Commission’s Ordinance Revisions Committee (ORC) is overseeing the evaluation process. ENP & Associates, a planning consulting firm based in Ann Arbor, was hired to facilitate this process with assistance from the city’s planning and development services staff.
Phase 1 - Identification of Issues
From mid-July through early August, ENP & Associates conducted interviews, focus groups, community coffees and a public workshop to identify potential items to change and items to keep in the downtown zoning. An overview of the project is contained in the Focus Group Handout (pdf).
Summaries of the information collected to date are provided below:
Phase 2 - Review of Alternatives
The consultants reviewed alternatives in a series of feedback sessions during September 2013. The options considered are provided in the links below:
ENP & Associates provided its final report and recommendations on October 10, 2013. The report and appendices are provided in the links below:
Final Downtown Zoning Evaluation Recommendations Report (3MB pdf) - 10/1013
The Planning Commission currently is considering the report and recommendations for its response to City Council. Information about upcoming public meetings will be posted on this site. Written comments may be submitted via email at Planning@a2gov.org
or in person at Planning & Development Services, 301 E. Huron St.
Updates will be posted on this website throughout the process. A link to sign up for email updates can be found below. Select the "Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown Updates" from the Community Services subscriptions.
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Last Updated: November 7, 2013