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, 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