Overwhelming Community Opposition

Community members across Ann Arbor are speaking up.

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Contact Your Representatives

We need to stand up to big business when it works against the community.

City council needs all the help they can get. A sample letter is provided below, feel free to use it in full or in part to contact state and national representatives. The links below go directly to their respective contact pages.

Subject: Democratic Values | 1140 Broadway St. Ann Arbor, MI

Dear Senator,

A troubling issue has arisen in Ann Arbor, one of Michigan's core Democratic strongholds, and we could use your leadership to help our city government stand for the community on November 20, 2017.

Boiling it down, the issue involves a proposed $150MM, 6.4 acre development at 1140 Broadway in a transition area between historic neighborhoods and Ann Arbor’s downtown core. The current zoning would guarantee key benefits like affordable housing and commercial services and return our ‘neighborhood village.’ The developer has petitioned to change the zoning removing or dramatically reducing every guaranteed community benefit.

There are key, achievable compromises that the community and Mayor Taylor want, but the developer will not entertain changing them as he strongly believes he has the 6 votes needed to rezone the parcel.

We need your support.

If we can’t stand up to big business in Ann Arbor, with a fully Democratic city council with overwhelming community support, I fear for the future of the party and the country.

Thank You.

Speaking Arguments

Your last chance to be heard is Monday, November 20th at 7PM at City Hall

We want this site developed, just with the existing, completely viable PUD zoning.

  • 1140 Broadway is quintessentially the text-book example site for a (P)lanned (U)rban (D)evelopment
  • Claims that PUD zoning is not viable are simply false
  • The Great Recession caused some developments to fail, but PUD zoning remains a great success--the city has maintained it's right to influence what gets built at 1140 Broadway
  • For such a special site, the city must keep every tool at its disposal to ensure a successful project
  • We'd have a much better site plan if this were a PUD
  • While requesting zoning allowing for Mixed-Use, the developers proposed site plan offers only 1/20th of the previous plan
  • C1A/R zoning was intended for the University of Michigan campus, not one of its wholly owned subsidiaries
  • Extensive variances are sought by the developer even with the extremely accomodating zoning C1A/R
  • Much of the existing site plan would be possible under a PUD
  • The site-plan is NOT tied to the re-zoning--the instant the property is re-zoned, it could be sold for a huge profit
  • *If* the site were to be re-zoned, more appropriate (D1/D2-like) zoning options need to be created!

Existing PUD zoning allows for the costs to be balanced with benefits. The proposed C1A/R is one-sided--the developer's side.

  • Squandering the potential catalyst of Lower Town community-centric development is too great a cost
  • Migrating pollution will be cleaned up by any developer, and public funds were spent once already to no avail
  • Traffic, of all types, will increase dramatically in an already stressed area with more influx in the works
  • Construction will go on for years, the ugliest structures going in first
  • The Broadway Vista hillside, completely obstructed by a massive 8-story building
  • Lower Town walkability will improve with any development, but almost any alternative plan would be better, faster, and, with a PUD, guaranteed
  • The developer promotes his plan as against an expanding U of M, but variances sought due to its vicinity and prospective residents show the opposite

With a PUD, many of these critical oversights would be addressed naturally.

  • The proposed condos should be moved closer to the neighborhood
  • If there are to be massive/tall buildings, they fit naturally next to the Kellogg Eye Center
  • Use of quality materials like brick need to extend higher than two stories as the majority of visual interactions will occur from higher elevation
  • There's no hiding our Lower Town parking structures now, the mass of the "Texas Doughnut" design offers little to no benefit
  • The parking structure should be located next to other structures, perhaps with first floor retail
  • The proposed site lacks small-scale retail locations for local businesses like Argus, Eat, Juicy Kitchen, Dear Golden Vintage, which increase desirability and offer community benefits
  • Critical to Ann Arbor's survival, and viable above the ground level of the planned development, commercial space is non-existent

Rushed and confused decisions only hurt the community.

  • The site plan is not tied to the re-zoning, yet continuously confounds city officials and citizens alike
  • Critical meetings have run very late, undeniably influencing critical votes
  • The re-zoning in addition with many variances, may not be legally defensible if approved

The Letter to Council

This was the original letter 450 of us (and counting) have signed.

To the Mayor and City Council of Ann Arbor:

We, the undersigned, insist that both the request for re-zoning to C1A/R and the specific site plan being proposed by Morningside Development called "1140 Broadway" be rejected.

In particular, we demand a zoning that will not allow Building A---with a height of 100 feet and a footprint of over 72,000 square feet---to be built right next to the neighborhood. Building A is the most massive and the tallest building of the three buildings being planned, with 286 units and a 7 -story, 450 space parking garage in its core. The proposal as a whole will add 620 units on 6.4 acres, a density way out of proportion to the surrounding area. It is a density unmatched in the city except, perhaps, by student housing downtown.

If this were downtown, the city planners would have zoned this site D-2 and given it an overlay that would have capped the height and massiveness well below what is being proposed. We need a similar zoning that recognizes this site as a transitional area, and thus protects the neighborhood. C1A/R does not do this, even with the added conditions.

C1A/R zoning was intended to enhance C1A districts by combining dense residential buildings with commercial property near the campus business district. It is an unacceptable stretch to call this area the "campus business district." And it is an unacceptable stretch to say that this proposal, with less than 1% retail, is the "mixed-use" intended for C1A/R. It is obvious that this zoning was chosen to avoid the restrictions of residential zoning, even though it is essentially, 99%, residential.

The Master Plan specifically suggests a PUD zoning for a good reason. With a PUD, the city could control the height and massing and it could get a reasonable allotment of affordable housing, as well as the retail this area sorely needs. The current Morningside plan will have only 15 units of affordable housing, less than 2.5 % of the total units. Moreover, both the amount of affordable housing, and all the retail space, depend on Phase 3---Building C---actually being built.

Many of us are also distressed by the appearance of the proposed buildings. They not only are completely out of scale for the neighborhood, but they also will be a jarring bulk of modernity in a historic part of the city. The Master Plan's call for brick and stone would be so much more compatible with the area.

And finally, this development, because of its enormous size and density, will bring extensive parking problems and traffic congestion to a large area surrounding it.

We welcome development on the site and we are grateful for the developer's concession to the neighborhood of lowering the small arms of Building A by one story and stepping back one of the arms to allow for a path along the creek. This was no sacrifice for the developer; he more than compensated for the loss of those few units by adding another story to the other part of Building A, adding more height to an already too tall building.

This proposed development, as it now stands, will be disastrous to the neighborhood. Furthermore, it will set a dangerous precedent for inappropriately sized projects near residential areas in other parts of the city. We need---the whole city needs---zoning that will protect neighborhoods.

Please do not approve this zoning change and do not allow the construction to go forward with the current site plan.


MLive Article With Scale Model

Take a look at the what the developer plans to build if we don't stop the re-zoning! Thanks Laura and Bill! http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2017/10/146m_development_spurs_debate.html

1140 Broadway eTrakIt Page

All submissions from the developer for the 1140 Broadway project. (http://etrakit.a2gov.org/etrakit3/Search/project.aspx?activityNo=SP17-009)

City Code Reference

Ann Arbor's municipal codes, including zoning. (https://library.municode.com/mi/ann_arbor/codes/code_of_ordinances)

Ann Arbor City Calendar

Calendar of city business. Find upcoming meetings, and links to notes and recordings of past meetings. (https://a2gov.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx)