Development Process

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The Recommended Vision & Policy Framework for Downtown Ann Arbor, prepared in 2005 by Calthorpe Associates, calls for streamlining the development process in order to:

  • Establish a specific timeframe for the review and permitting process for all Downtown development projects
  • Establish an expedited time frame for the review and permitting for Downtown development that adheres to the special zoning overlay and design guidelines
  • Produce final graphics that illustrate the review and permitting process
  • Post final graphics on the City’s Planning and Development Services web pages. 

In July 2006, City Council adopted a work plan for the Development Process project.

Advisory Committee

City Council appointed the following individuals to the Development Process Advisory Committee on October 3, 2006.  The Committee will work with staff to guide the development of policies, practices and procedures to aid in streamlining development processes. 

    • George Beal, Developer 
    • Bill Kinley, Developer 
    • Scott Munzel, Developer 
    • Jerry Lax, Citizen at Large
    • Brandt Coultas, Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce   


On June 18, 2007, City Council approved the recommendations developed by the Development Process Advisory Committee. 

On September 24, 2007, City Council approved the implementation schedule for the development process recommendations.

Implementation Status

  • Development Software Implementation Timeline (pdf)
  • October 2007: Identify reviewers, responsibilities and contact information (organization chart for development process).

    A comprehensive development process contacts list has been prepared and is currently in use. This information is used to provide developers and staff with contact information from all of the City’s reviewing service units and included a company ladder for easy reference. This information has been delivered to CRW for inclusion into the development process workflow software program.  Once configuration of the program is complete, a link will be established on the P&DS web page for easy access by the public.

    November 2007 Establish a protocol to be used for providing process status information to all staff involved in the project review process

    This information has been provided to CRW in conjunction with the preparation of  the development process workbooks. Upon completion of system configuration, all staff members utilizing the system will have access to project status data for every project and permit. Access to this information will also be made available to the public upon establishment of appropriate security measures which have not been determined as of this date. Public access and security has been identified as one of the issues to be resolved in advance of going live with the new program in April.

    December 2007 Establish a protocol to be used for coordinating functions that involve other approvals (Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Historic District Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals).

    The City has established a standard protocol for all development projects seeking entitlement that involve either Historic District Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals. These projects will first be heard by the City Planning Commission, followed by either HDC or ZBA, and then City Council. All approvals from HDC or ZBA shall be granted prior to moving on to City Council. Projects involving Brownfield Redevelopment Authority funding either due to environmental cleanup or replacement and rehabilitation of a blighted or functionally obsolete property shall be processed as noted above except that these projects require convening the City’s Brownfield Redevelopment Committee in advance of accepting an application for funding and in advance of processing the related entitlement. This information has been included in the development process workbook submitted to CRW and shall be included as part of system configuration.

    January 2008 ; Establish regular meetings with development community regarding topics of interest.

    Planning and Development Services has setup semi-annual meetings (fall and spring) with the Home Builders Association (HBA) and is finalizing a schedule with Washtenaw Contractors Association (WCA) to meet on a quarterly basis and will be attending a meeting on January 29, 2008 to work out the details and confirm dates.

    January 2008: Establish a protocol to be used that reduces the level of detail required on plans for City Planning Commission review such as engineering drawings and site grading.

    The project management software program (CRW) has taken up much of the time needed to be spent on this matter and it therefore has not gotten much attention over the past several months. We now have a new Senior City Planner who will be devoting time to address this matter and we expect to report out in February.


    Updated February 27, 2008



    Alexis DiLeo

    [email protected]

    (734) 794-6000

       extension 42610