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Planning Commission, Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Video, Legistar details.

I mostly just skimmed through the discussion of the plan for an 8-unit residential building at 212 Miller (D2 zone). See also an mlive article on 212 Miller. Discussion is mainly about accessibility, since the only wheelchair access is through garage space. Postponed to next meeting (in two weeks) to consider alternatives.

A second petition is to annex 5.71 acres at 2600 Pontiac Trail. It will then eventually be zoned R4A and site plans (this is planned to be part of The Village of Ann Arbor project), passed without much discussion.

Next, a presentation on the Ann Arbor Sustainable Energy Utility. I don't know much of this, so I'm not entirely confident of my summary, but I'll try: They say that building entirely new replacement for DTE, or buying out DTE's infrastructure, would be a huge, expensive project. So they're talking instead about a utility that would be some sort of parallel supplement--microgrids of solar panels and batteries may just cover a few neighboring households, if I understand correctly. If I understand right, it would help owners finance panels and batteries by paying the upfront expenses and then collecting utility fees. Also, currently DTE caps solar production to what was historically consumed at that site, this would allow someone to produce more and share with a neighbor (say a neighbor on a shadier lot). More at Commissioner Lee has some questions about initial capital and responsibility for maintenance.

Finally there's the commission's work program (discussion starts here). Maybe it's the way it has to be, but it all feels a bit slow, and modest. I wonder what else should be there, or what should be reprioritized? Commissioners asked about TC1 rezoning schedule and it sounds like staff time and public engagement are bottlenecks.

Items that seem like they could add significant housing supply: TC1 Rezoning (Stadium 2022, Washtenaw 2023, Plymouth 2024). Parking minimums (2022). R4C (Someone asked a question about this but I'm still a little vague on what it would mean. Are there any other plans to liberalize existing zones? I guess that waits on the "single family zoning" subcommittee?

I noticed "Pedestrian connectivity between/among private developments", just listed vaguely as "future". I'd be curious to hear what might be feasible there, as it's long been a pet peeve of mine; there are lots of places in Ann Arbor where it looks like there should be a simple, direct, route pedestrian between points A and B, but in fact you have to make a long detour around a fence that has no real reason to be there.

Commissioner Wyche reminds the commission of the racist origins and effects of zoning and makes a plea for prioritizing equity and housing supply, mentioning "missing middle" housing in particular.