At present this parcel is an old apple orchard with 2 single family residences at the south end, trees between them and the orchard, and trees at the north end. The existing residences will be demolished. The post card sent to nearby residents states: “The proposed project is for 16 unit multi-family units. Each ranch style unit has, two bedrooms, its own entry and a single car garage.” Here is the revised proposed site plan.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Neighbor Issues and Concerns for City Staff to Address

Please use the Comment section here to describe your issues, concerns, comments, questions, etc. about the proposed Glendale Condo development.  These will be shared with City Staff.  Please include your address, along with any other comments you post.

To Comment:  In the slightly gray bar immediately below, click on # comment.  A box “enter your comment” appears, with “Select profile” below it.  Enter your comment, then pick a Profile from the drop-down; if you choose Anonymous, you will be asked to enter the displayed word or phrase to prove you are not a robot.  Finally, click on the Publish button.

Thanks for your help!
Lynn Borset

Glendale Project Update, 4/18/13

Hello Virginia Park Neighbors and Friends,
     The Developer’s application and site plan for the proposed Condos in the old orchard at 312 Glendale Dr. was submitted to the City Planning dept. a couple of weeks ago.  You can view project documents and track the status at this link:     (In the Search String field on the right, enter 312 Glendale and click Search.  A box with Project #, Address, Project Name should appear.  Double click on 312 Glendale to see details.  Scroll down to Attachments to find documents containing the site plans and City staff review comments.)
     The Planning Commission review of this project is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday May 21, 2012.  Please put this date on your calendars as we need as many people as possible to attend this meeting!
     It is very important that we raise our questions NOW during the City staff review of this project, so staff can address our issues with the developer, before it goes to Planning Commission.  To date, some questions on zoning, pedestrian path, and storm water run-off/sewer capacity have been submitted.  The assigned City Planner, Jill Thacher, appears to be taking our concerns seriously, and following-up on them.
     Your help is needed in raising other issues, such as traffic, brownfield/contamination, re-grading of property, or any other health, safety, or environmental concerns you have.  Also needed is a review of our Ordinances, to document that our concerns are justified and protected by City Ordinances or regulations (see two links below the PS).
     Please record your concerns and questions in the Neighbor Issues section of our blog:
(If that does not work for you, you may send your comments to me).
     Neighborhood participation and opposition (such as that delaying approval of the proposed 14-story student development at the corner of Huron and N. Division) will have the biggest impact on the outcome of the 312 Glendale Dr. development!  Collectively, we can make a difference if we speak up by:
     -- asking City Staff to investigate our issues and concerns ASAP,
     -- filling out the Flooding Survey and returning it to Kira Slovacek (thank you to the 49 who have already done so!),
     -- researching City Ordinances,
     -- turning out in large numbers for the Planning Commission meeting, tentative date, Tuesday 5/21/13, and
     -- turning out in large numbers for City Council meeting (date to be announced).
Thank you,

PS:  As always, if you want to be removed from this email list, please let me know.

Links to City Ordinances/Regulations:
Chapter 57:  Subdivision and Land Use Controls (Go to Title V:  Zoning and Planning and you will find Chapter 57)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Second Citizen's Participation Meeting

The attendees were fewer than at the first meeting, but I think there were more than 40, and a few new faces.  The developers did not attend.  The Landscape firm, Susan Bowers and Scott Bowers, presented the new design.  

Residents raised all the concerns voiced in our first meeting (stormwater, sanitary sewers, flooding, traffic, grading/topography, easement for pedestrian path, building size/design, etc.), plus concerns about environmental contamination from the old factory just west of the orchard.  Scott said after our first citizen meeting (he said the largest one ever) they basically told the developer that the first design would not work and they went back to the drawing board.  They said the new design would "almost leave the land as it is" in terms of grading. 

They were not aware of possible site contamination or need for an environmental study.  They encouraged us to begin raising our concerns with the City, especially about storm water.  (If anyone wants to offer more detail on this meeting, please do so!)
They plan to submit the development Site Plan to the City in a couple of weeks, and take it to Planning Commission in March.

We have been advised to collect information on current flooding and stormwater problems in our neighborhoods.  If you have ever had any basement, yard, or street flooding, please describe the problem under the post “Record your existing Flooding problems and concerns!”  on this blog.  Instructions for posting a comment are there.  (There are several other important updates/topics about the Glendale Development proposal on this Blog as well, and you may post comments on any of them; see instructions on this topic if you need help.)
We need to get organized to make sure our concerns are voiced to City Planning Commission and City Council.  Can you help with researching the questions, or?
Please share this with your neighbors who may not be on this email list.  Even if they are not concerned about the Glendale Orchard proposed development, it is important to record all flooding / storm water concerns!  And please see the links/information below.


Two Meetings

It really was a night where we should have been in two places at once.  My husband went to the city stormwater meeting at the Downtown Library, and I went to the meeting at Eberwhite with the architects, and after conversing with my husband I wonder if we all would have accomplished more to change the course of this development had we instead gone to the library.

My husband reports he seemed to be the only resident there who represented our neighborhood.  He did speak personally to two representatives from the office, and he did speak publicly about the conditions that already exist in our neighborhood with storm and rain water, and the negative impact that further development on Glendale will have.  He reported that Mike Anglin, our city council representative, spoke publicly about the need to handle this city problem with storm and rain water by preserving the present open spaces.  I think that Vince's comments about city purchase of the orchard property with greenbelt dollars is a real possibility, and our persistence with this issue of rain/stormwater issues is a way to turn this project.  

Our voices can still be heard even if we could not attend both meetings tonight.  I encourage all to personally email Jennifer Lawson, City of Ann Arbor Water Quality Manager at with examples of water problems now present and how any new development will make them worse.  Lynn, your pictures specifically and other similar examples can be emailed to and the short stormwater survey can be found at https//

As was indicated by Mr. Eaton and Mr. Caruso in their previous comments, the stormwater and watershed issues should be prominent in the planning commission discussions, and if we can show the problems we already have with these issues in our neighborhood, we may well be able to achieve the preservation of the orchard open space to mitigate those problems, not compounding them with further development on this property.

Marti Keefe
Abbott Street

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Record your existing Flooding problems and concerns!

There are flooding problems in Virginia Park and adjacent neighborhoods.  It is important to document the existing problems, and report them to the City.  The concern is that the proposed Condo development on the Glendale orchard may increase storm water runoff, and therefore cause more flooding.

Please use the Comment section here to describe any basement or yard flooding on your property, or street flooding in your area.  Please include your address, along with any other information you post.

To Comment:  In the slightly gray bar immediately below, click on # comment.  A box “enter your comment” appears, with “Select profile” below it.  Enter your comment, then pick a Profile from the drop-down; if you choose Anonymous, you will be asked to enter the displayed word or phrase to prove you are not a robot.  Finally, click on the Publish button.

Thanks for your help!
Lynn Borset

Monday, February 4, 2013

Response to Planning Commission and Council

I would like to discuss how to respond to the Glendale condo project. I would start by reminding neighbors that there are some reasons that might be effective and there are some reasons that will not be effective in opposing this (or any) site plan.

The visual blight or the impact of having a new building close to your own home is not a reason the Planning Commission or City Council can use to deny the developer's site plan. The type of housing -- rental versus owner occupied -- is also not grounds for denying the site plan. Whether the particular project may be successful or not is also not a matter that the Planning Commission or City Council can consider. We must find reasons in the City code and other planning documents to achieve what we can.

I would start by reciting the City code section on the role of the Planning Commission and City Council in reviewing a site plan:
Chapter 57 section 5:122(6):
Standards for site plan approval. A site plan shall be approved by the appropriate body after it determines that
     (a)The contemplated development would comply with all applicable state, local and federal law, ordinances, standards and regulations ; and
     (b)The development would limit the disturbance of natural features to the minimum necessary to allow a reasonable use of the land, applying criteria for reviewing a natural features statement of impact set forth in this Chapter; and
    (c) The development would not cause a public or private nuisance and would not have a detrimental effect on the public health, safety or welfare.”

The zoning regulations can be found in the City code:

I believe that section
5:122(6)(a) allows us to look at the City code, county code and Michigan DEQ regulations for storm water impact on the surrounding neighborhood. As Glenn previously noted, the City code seems to leave the question of storm water systems up to the County Water Resources Commissioner. Evan Pratt holds that title and has a good professional staff.

The County Water Resources Commissioner's web site includes the applicable regulations for storm water drainage.
2. All preliminary plans will include the following required storm water
management information:
a. The overall storm water management system for the proposed
development, indicating how storm water management will be provided
and where the drainage will outlet.
b. The location of any on-site and/or off-site storm water management
facilities and appropriate easements that will be dedicated to the entity
responsible for future maintenance. Easement information will be
consistent with PART 2, Section XI of these Rules.
c. A description of the off-site outlet and evidence of its adequacy. See
Engineer’s Certificate of Outlet, Appendix Q.
d. If no adequate watercourse exists to effectively handle a concentrated
flow of water from the proposed development, discharge will be reduced
to sheet flow prior to exiting the site. Additional volume controls will be
required in such cases, as will acquisition of rights-of-way from
downstream property owners receiving the storm water flow.
e. A map, at the U.S.G.S. scale, showing the drainage boundary of the
proposed development and its relationship with existing drainage
f. Any drainage originating outside of the development limits that flows onto
or across the development. Drainage from off-site shall not be passed
through on-site storm water storage facilities unless alternatives are
proposed for the off-site flow that will achieve the water quality objectives
of these standards, such as separate basins for water quality treatment
and storage of the 100-year storm volume.
g. Any natural water courses and/or County Drains passing through the
proposed development, along with the following:
(1) Area of upstream watershed and current zoning.
(2) Preliminary calculations of runoff from the upstream area for both the 100-year and 1.5-year 24-hour design storms, for fully developed conditions according to the current land use plan for the area.
h. Any natural watercourses or County Drains that abut the development.
3. The increased volume of water discharged due to development of the site must not create adverse impacts to downstream property owners and water courses. These adverse impacts may include, but are not limited to flooding, excessive soil saturation, crop damage, erosion, and/or degradation in water quality or habitat.
The county regulations can be found here:

The City has a series of planning documents that in the aggregate are considered to be our Master Plan. In Chapter 10 of the Land Use Element plan, the area near this Glendale property is discussed as such:

Site 13 - The old Barnard Plating Company and a single-family residential home exist on this small 1.2-acre site, located on the south side of Jackson Avenue, between Glendale and Burwood. The Hillside Terrace Retirement Center is to the east and the Jackson West Apartments are located west of the site. Across Jackson Avenue, to the north, are the Granview and Fairview Heights single-family subdivisions. Multiple-family dwellings are located to the south.

Although the Barnard Plating factory building remains on the property, it has not been in operation for some time, and any redevelopment would likely require a clean-up of the site since there is a strong possibility of contamination. Assuming that contamination can be mitigated, multiple-family residential uses at the R4C density standards are recommended for the site. This recommendation is justified by its compatibility with the surrounding multiple-family uses, as well as the need for additional multiple-family residential uses in the area.
I have emphasized the statement "any redevelopment would likely require a clean-up of the site since there is a strong possibility of contamination" because the neighborhood needs to ensure that the developers obtain a good environmental study of the contamination of the site to determine how much clean up is needed. The master plan "assumes" the site can be cleaned up. I would hope that the clean up would result in a rather pristine condition if multi-family residences are going to be placed on this site.

The neighborhood may wish to hire its own environmental consultant. I recall that the Friends of Dicken Woods hired a consultant to do an environmental study of that site, primarily related to wetlands and storm water, if my memory serves me. But here, you could seek a study of the ground contamination. The MDEQ might be of some assistance, but my faith in them is diminished by their failure to protect us from the Gelman plume.

A link to the City Code can be found on this page:

I believe that section
5:122(6)(b) allows us to challenge the plan to completely regrade this site to a substantially lower level. That action would require the developer to completely change the natural features of the property. All trees will be removed. the entire site would be bulldozed.

The requirements in section 5:122(6)(c) are more difficult to predict. When my neighborhood was fighting the 42 North project at South Maple near Pauline, the Council was advised that the “public health, safety or welfare” standard was unenforceable. My group argued vigorously that the standard was similar to ordinances that had been found enforceable, but the Council followed the advice of their attorney and approved the 42 North project.

Since then, the Planning Commission has entertained arguments regarding the adverse impact of a site plan. When Planning Commission was deliberating the Maple Grove project near North Maple and Miller, Tony Derezinski implied that to find an adverse impact, the impact had to be significant.

The areas that may raise issues of adverse impact include the storm and sewer problems identified by neighbors. Traffic can rise to the level of an adverse impact. That was the issue with Maple Cove. I suggest that we ask the developer to conduct a traffic study. I would warn you that traffic studies usually turn out the way the person hiring the study wants it to turn out. You may need to hire your own consultant for that.

Jack Eaton

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Proposed Stormwater System

The developer of the 312 Glendale project recently issued a report of the Neighborhood meeting held on January 15, 2012 at the Cobblestone Farm. The report, in pdf file format, has been circulated and  is posted here . The report seems comprehensive and the developer should be commended for their efforts to record and report the discussion of the meeting.

However the report does raise some questions, primarily about the proposed stormwater treatment. The devil is always in the details, so let's look at some of the details reported. First, both the City and the County assert that the developer must detain the “100 year storm”.

DEFINITION – 100 year storm

The storm that has a 1% probability of occurring in any year.
In Ann Arbor, usually a storm of 4.75 inches in a 24 hr period.

The developer states that the area to be developed is 115,011 square feet (sqft) The 100 year storm, 4.75 inches of rain over this area would result in 45,500 cubic feet (cuft) of water. The developer proposes an underground culvert detention system designed to hold 20,000 cuft. The developer also proposes surface swales, but did not provide any dimensions or estimates of the volume of water that would be detained.

The underground detention system proposed by the developer is really only sized for the additional impervious surface that will be added. I estimate the new impervious surface to be about 51,000 sqft. A rain of 4.75 inches over 51,000 sqft is about 20,200 cuft.


Is it the developers responsibility to detain all the water of a 100 year storm on the site, or just the water from the new impervious surfaces?

Another troubling aspect of the report is that the developers assert their right and their intent to discharge water from the site at the allowed County agricultural rate of 0.15 cubic feet per second (cfs) per acre. How can this be considered an agricultural site? How many agricultural acres are next to the site to receive the discharge?

The discharge rate for the entire site is about 0.4 cfs. This may not seem like much, but if it is constant, that is about 1,400 cuft/hr. There are several ways to consider the effect of this discharge rate. For any storm that is about 1/3 in/hr or less none of the water from the new impervious surfaces would be detained. This would be the case even if the total rain fall is the 100 year storm.

If the rain fall occurs over a shorter time period there will be partial detention. For example, if the 100 year storm occurs over 4 hrs about 26% of the water will be released during the storm Even the detained 72% will be released in the next 10 hours. This might help a small amount to decrease the magnitude of a flood, but only if there would be greater runoff from the present undeveloped lot.


Under light rain conditions there will be increased runoff after the development. Even in the case of a 100 year storm over several hours the entire amount from the new impervious surfaces will not be detained. Is this what the Planning Commission, the County Water Resources Commission and our City Council consider detaining the 100 year storm event?   Is it the flood improvement they intended to get from the city stormwater ordinances? Is it the flood improvement the citizens expect from the increased storm water fees?

The real unfortunate aspect of this development is that the city is losing an opportunity to make a significant contribution to reducing the present  flooding in the area. If the area were left undeveloped and converted to flood control it could detain several hundred thousand cubic feet of water. Water from Hillside Terrace and other developments farther west could be diverted and stored during heavy rains. The storage could be large enough that the detained water could be released, or used, over a longer time period.

Vet's Park is another example. It could be a huge water retention area. Instead, the city keeps developing and paving more like the proposed skate park, while adding marginal water retention and treatment in other areas like the proposal for 312 Glendale.

Glenn Thompson

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Storm water Questions

At the last public meeting citizens asked questions about storm water run off from the site.  The city has specific requirements for commercial development but uses the County requirements for multi-family residential development.  

Jack Eaton contacted the County Water Resources Commissioner, Evan Pratt, and asked what the County storm water requirements were.   Jack reported he was told:
To manage both water quantity and quality basins must be designed to capture  . . . the 100 year storm event 
The developer proposed drawings state the area of the development is 115,000 sq ft.  A 100 yr storm event in Ann Arbor is usually considered to be 4.75 inches in a 24 hour period.  That amount, 4.75 inches over 115,000 sq ft is about 45,500 cubic ft of water.

But in the report by developers of their recent meeting with neighborhood citizens the developer states:
The developer is responsible for storm water management for the entire 2.64 acres. . ....The storm water detention system holds approximately 20,000 cf of water in pipes that are 72” in diameter.
We need to ask why there is such a large difference and if the County and the Planning Commission intend to accept the developers calculation.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Zoning: Some information

I have attempted to summarize information from several emails.  This is not complete zoning information, just a start at understanding future tools, or obstacles.  See R4B below.  Please add information or corrections in Comments below.  Lynn

     From Wendy Rampson, AICP, Planning Manger, A2 Community Services:  The property has been zoned for multiple-family development for many years, and in fact, Hillside Terrace had a site plan approved for an assisted living expansion about 20 years ago that was never built.
     Answers from Susan Bowers (contact person for petitioner/developer):  Q:  How many units?  A:  The City of Ann Arbor Zoning Ordinance would allow the owner to develop 38 units.  But the Owner is only going to build 16 units.  Q:  How tall with the buildings be?  A:  The buildings are single story and some have daylight basements.  The mid point of the roof is 17'-6"
     From Sue P.:  The majority of the property is zoned R4B (multiple family dwelling), and has been for many years (25 or more?).  A small portion of the southern most property, which contains the present two rental homes (one behind the other), is zoned R1D (single family dwelling).  Here is a good site to view our zoning map, and give a good perspective of all the different types of zoning within our area.  (I zoomed to 1600% to see the detail I wanted).
Here is an excerpt from the city zoning ordinances as it pertains to R4B zoning:  “Section 5:10.8. Intent: The multiple-family dwelling districts are intended to permit dwelling units to be arranged one above the other or side by side.  The R4B multiple-family dwelling district should be located in intermediate areas of the City, situated on small tracts of land in established areas for in-fill purposes or medium sized tracts of land for moderate-sized developments.”
     From E. Potts (former Zoning Appeals Board member):  It is hard to find out when a parcel was zoned.  Most zoning is assigned at the time of annexation to the City, or if the land owner asks for a rezoning, for development purposes.  Once zoned, the zoning goes with the land, whoever the owner or whether or not it's developed, until an owner requests another zoning.
R1 is single family zoning, R2 is 2-family duplex, on up to R4 which is multi-family = apartments.  The added A, B, C, etc. designates where such zoning is suitable.  Each variation of zoning has different requirements for setbacks, lot size, open space, etc.
R4B zones are located away from the center of the city, for in-fill purposes or on medium sized tracts of land. This (Glendale Project) meets those standards.  Minimum gross lot size must be 14,000 sq.ft., 120 ft. in width.  Minimum lot area per dwelling unit is 2,900 sq.ft., with minimum open space of 55% of lot area and 300 sq. ft. of active open space per dwelling unit.  This tells you how many dwelling units can be built on a land parcel.  Required setbacks from lot lines - 25 ft. in front, 12 ft. each side, 30 ft. rear.
R4B also permits less dense development, such as single family or duplex structures, using single family or 2 family requirements.  (Emphasis added by Lynn.)
Site Plans:  The drawings the developer shows you should have these dimensions marked.  If not, they are omitting essential information.  If they don't tell you all of these dimensions, ask!  Look for the plan with contour lines showing steep and flat places, to orient yourselves as to what is where.  Ask to see the plan BEFORE the planned grading and the plan AFTER grading.  And the landscape plan -- it may all be one, for such a small project.
     From Sabra B.:  The ordinance on parking requires 2 parking spaces per dwelling unit for R4B.  (It also requires 1 bike space per 5 dwelling units, so expect a minimum of 32 parking spaces and 3-4 bike spaces.).  The site plan required for this proposed project will have to include storm water control measures.
     From R.Beane:  The one thing about the zoning that's been nagging at me from the start is that it was originally assigned when the parcel was part of Hillside Terrace and had Jackson Ave access.

Development Plan Approval Process

I do not live in the neighborhood near the Glendale project. I have, however, been through a couple of planning cycles for terrible site proposals. I'd like to comment briefly on how a development progresses through the planning process.

The planning process starts with the citizens participation meeting.  After that, the developer and planning staff hold a pre-submission meeting.  As I understand, the pre-submission meeting is held to give the developer some insight into what might be missing from the site plan and what must be done to comply with the zoning regulations.

The developer can submit the site plan after that meeting.  There is a deadline each month for submitting a plan in time to be included in the next Planning Commission meeting, but the site plan can be submitted at any time after the pre-submission meeting.  After the site plan is submitted, a planning staff member is assigned to the project.  Next, city staff holds an Advisory Development Committee Meeting.  That meeting will be open to the public.  Planning staff will write a report and the site plan will be submitted to the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the site plan.  Notice of the planning commission's public hearing will be sent at least to everyone who signs in at the citizens participation meeting.

The citizens participation meeting is intended to allow neighbors to learn about a plan early enough in the process to allow them to try to influence the project.  It is a good idea to come to that meeting with an open mind, but a healthy sense of skepticism, too.  Be particularly concerned about the impact the project will have on traffic, storm systems and waste systems.  It may turn out that this project is a great addition to the neighborhood.  This meeting is your chance to learn about the plan and if necessary begin to gather information upon which to base opposition, if needed.

Just for background, you may find the experiences of my neighborhood informative.  We have seen four different bad plans for a site on South Maple Road.  None have been built.  To read about it, see:
Best wishes, Jack Eaton

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some questions to consider

I am a member of the West Washtenaw Business Association.  I was just at a meeting where our 5th ward council representative, Chuck Warpahowski (sp?) and Chris Chang, a city planner, were present.  I talked to both of them about this planned development.

Because the development meets the multi-family zoning, there may not be any way we can change it to a few single-family homes.  The city has not seen any site plans yet.  However, the scheduled neighborhood feedback meeting on the 15th is very important because they will be taking into consideration all comments/questions about the development.  Important things to find out are:

1. Will there be a new extension of Charlton to the other side of Hillside Terrace?  Charlton is the path of least stop signs.  Can traffic bumps be installed to slow down the cars racing to get from one end of the street to the other?  (The Chris Chang didn't know about the "start-stop" of Charlton that occurs on this property.)
2. How will exit/entry traffic from the development be handled, especially with the planned traffic calming on Jackson Rd.?
3. How much of a set-back from Glendale will be allowed?  The city planner said the city WILL put in a sidewalk along Glendale.
4. Is there any way the developer can reduce the number of units?  This development, as planned, may add up to 32 more people to the neighborhood and at least 16 cars.
5. What about visitor parking to this development?  Where will that go?  On Glendale?
6. What upgrades to the sewage and water systems will be made in the neighborhood?  Many of us down the hill from Jackson have experienced sewage back-ups and water in our basements.  Supposedly we are not on the list of neighborhoods to have the planned footing disconnects.
7. Is the developer one who has a good aesthetic sense?  Does he care about how the development fits aesthetically in the neighborhood?  Think about what is planned for the corner of Division and Huron or what happened to the Heritage Row/City Place project on S. Fifth Ave.

These are just a few of the issues we discussed.  Chris Chang will not be at the January 15th neighborhood meeting, but will be at the planning commission meeting, which will be the next step.  He was surprised this property had not been developed, but was not that familiar with the neighborhood.  I encouraged him to drive down Glendale on his way back to his office.  Chuck may be present for at least part of our meeting.

In retrospect, it is too bad that Hillside Terrace didn't get to build their extension when they wanted to about 25 years ago.  It would have been preferable, I think, and a quiet addition to the neighborhood.  They may even have left some of the trees.  But they were scared away by some neighbors' objections to a sidewalk. 

Get your questions ready. See you on the 15th.

Mary Cronin

Some history and perspective

It seems there are already many topics to talk about in regard to the Glendale Condominiums.

At first glance, the site plan for Glendale Circle Condominiums seems to be quite nice, and is better than I would have hoped for on this parcel.  I am surprised that the developers didn't opt for more units/more money.  I don't know what the planned price point is (probably more than we would expect, but am guessing somewhere under $300K) but I think it's terrific that someone is building ranch-style condos with attached garages in a west side neighborhood.  As a long-time Virginia Park/West Side resident, and life-long Ann Arborite, and nearing retirement age - - I know that the options to find one-floor, no-steps housing in this part of town is extremely difficult and very, very limited.  There are many folks that would like to buy or remain in our older, near town neighborhoods - - even though their health, age, or disabilities may/will require bedroom-bath-laundry on a ground floor.

The prevailing reason for the addition to my own home in 2005 was exactly that.  There are a number of attractive and small condo communities nearby (Allen Creek, Tulip Tree, Walnut Heights, Parkside Commons, Old Orchard, Liberty Heights, Ridgewood), but almost all of them are two-story, with very few offering a first floor bedroom, bath, or laundry - - or no-step living.

As a real estate broker for over 25 years, I've had countless clients that would have been eager and excited to buy one of these proposed condos - - mostly for the reasons above.  I don't know the owner, the developer, or any of the principals involved (wouldn't know Mr. Starman if I saw him), so I have no vested interest in this development - - other than that it's possible I may bring buyers to the development.

All that being said, a few pieces of random info or comments:

(1) The development as proposed seems to be quite low density.  It's likely that this parcel would allow for twice the number of units and up to 2-1/2 stories tall.  Could possibly be stacked, apartment-style units - - which would be more likely to attract absentee owners and student renters.  I'm relieved that the proposed units are one-story, which IMO would have much less neighborhood impact and a less "towering" appearance.
(2) I did talk briefly with Susan Bowers of Bowers and Associates (the name and number on the postcard).  As I had thought, Susan thinks the target buyers will be empty nesters and single parent families or single professionals.  Each two-bedroom unit will have about 1300 square feet, a full unfinished basement, first floor laundry, attached one-car garage.  The exteriors will be Hardi-Plank siding and some ledgestone (Hardi-Plank is approved by our historical commission).
(3) The majority of the property is zoned R4B, and has been for many years (25 or more?).  A small portion of the southern most property, which contains the present two rental homes (one behind the other), are zoned R1D - - which I assume the developer will ask to be rezoned to R4B.  [See Zoning Section of this Blog for further details.]
(4 ) The two homes to be torn down are likely solid and worthy of restoration ( I like them, but always wondered how one home came to built in the backyard of the other ?).
(5) I think that Hillside Terrace (the retirement/nursing home) had at one time owned all of this property for possible future expansion.  I think they sold it to Starman in 2003.
(6) It seems that parking is adequate.  I doubt if many folks would park on the street - don't know why they would since they can park in their garage or in front of their garage door - which is usually the case with many other condos like this.  The number of 2-car owners might be offset by the number of owners who are bikers-walkers-infrequent car users (which would likely be the profile of many interested buyers).  So likely on a day-to-day basis, the proposed parking would be sufficient - - but if anyone is having a party or large gathering, parking could/would be problem.  (Same problem for all of us, I suppose - - with parking limited to one side of most streets, the guests of anyone having a party usually take up most available street parking for several blocks.)
(7) I haven't checked with the county treasurer, but it's possible that the owner MAY be current on all his property taxes.  The city tax site would NOT show late payments made to the county rather than the city treasurer.  At some point after taxes are past due, the city turns them over to the county for collection.  Some businesses make a practice of doing this, figuring they are better off paying the penalty and interest.  Not a good practice IMO, but it's done frequently nevertheless.
(8) On the postcard, I don't see a water catchment basin either, so I'll be interested to see a larger, more-detailed plan that will hopefully be available at the meeting.  It would be hard to imagine that some provisions haven't been made for this, since the city is very stringent in this area.  I've seen much smaller residential or business developments that have been required to have on-site water run-off basins.
(9) The condos/townhomes on Montgomery near Bemidji were/are a different situation altogether.  Different zoning - - and all 4 to 6 new condos (which essentially replaced 4 or 5 older duplexes) comprise a total land area equal to about 1/4 or 1/5 the size of the Glendale property - - so the density there is about the same or more than Glendale.
Sue Perry

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Project Grow Garden and Pedestrian Path

I am concerned about a couple of things:
1) Will the condos affect the Project Grow garden in any way?
2) There is a path that has been used by pedestrians for many years.  It connects the two blocks of Charlton where the street dead ends.  Basically is goes up the driveway of the house on the hill and through the forsythia hedge.  I'm hoping that the fact that it has been in use for many years will give pedestrians who use it some legal rights, like an easement.
Kathy Boris

Developer Tax Record

Thanks, Lynn.  I thought it would be helpful to know about the developer's history, so I looked up some public information.  The owner is Jeffrey Starman of Madison Property Co., founder of Arch Realty that owns/manages lots of student properties:

Here is some information from public records about the property:

Note that 2012 property taxes have not been paid:

And info on some of the owner's other properties (note that both Helen and Jeffrey Starman list the same address):

Taxes are also overdue on several other properties:

Thanks, Lynn - we'll be at the meeting.



They are single car many people in 2 bedroom townhomes do you think will have only one car? Can't wait to add another 16 cars worth of street parking!! Also, this construction will begin around the same time that they bring Jackson Rd. down to a single lane in each direction with a left-turn lane down the middle. Odds are good that the additional traffic will hustle down Abbott (no stop signs) to avoid the speed bumps on Glendale & enter the 2 lane zone that begins from Virginia/Jackson toward downtown. The MDOT study was completed before the proposed building project. Another concern I have is that of permeable surfaces. We are going to lose an orchard (fairly permeable) and gain rooftops and concrete driveways (impermeable). There is no proposed drainage catchment for the site, and I sit at the lowest part of the street:) See you at the meeting!!!! Gretchen Hahn