Friends and Neighbors,
Two years ago our communities joined together under the banner of the Northeast Ann Arbor Community Coalition (NEA2CC) to address the proposed Transportation Center at Hubbard and Green. This collaborative effort led to a strategic pause in any subsequent planning so that University of Michigan leaders could reassess the overall process and goals. In May of this year, University planners re-engaged with certain members of the NEA2CC, Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association, Vintage Valley, Green Baxter Court and City Council to elicit views on a significantly altered plan. They came back to these individuals this past week with their conceptual plan and to receive additional feedback. We would like to thank the University of Michigan representatives for engaging our community early in the planning process to include our inputs prior to presenting their plans for Regent approval.
This week, University planners will be forwarding a proposal to the Regents to redevelop the property currently occupied by the laundry facility west of Dean and south of Baxter. This new plan would meet some of the transportation needs from the 2016 plan. The University now proposes that since this location already has frequent trips of laundry vehicles and service calls with an industrial footprint, this alteration would support the University’s transportation needs while reducing overall impacts – particularly when compared to the original proposal. In addition, the University acknowledged that the additional traffic and space requirements associated with small vehicle maintenance would stress the proposed location, and so these operations (a part of the 2016 plan) will not be included on this site.
While the new plan currently preserves the original parcel of land at Hubbard and Green in its current, natural state, there are no assurances or guarantees that this parcel will remain undeveloped. At the same time, officials acknowledged any future plans for that area would include input from the community and have a look more commensurate with other nearby buildings and properties. Although they have not historically involved this much community input for a project like this, we are encouraged planners have included us this early in their conceptual formation and are to be commended.
In summary, the previous concerns of traffic, noise, and air will be considered in this process and mitigation efforts are being taken very seriously. Other issues of building height, sight lines, lighting and watershed protection have also been raised for further investigation by University planners. In addition, they will be proposing ways to fulfill the City of Ann Arbor’s goals of connecting spaces through foot traffic by building new sidewalks along the north edge of Baxter Road between Green Road and Huron Parkway as well as the east side of Dean Road, connecting Baxter Road with Hubbard Road.
The timeline is still fairly distant as the University needs to find a new location for laundry services. They suggested they will be hosting additional sessions with stakeholders as plans become more firm and they are able to provide more details on the overall site plan and functionality. We have specifically charged them with portraying a current and projected status of the laundry facility compared to the new bus maintenance area so we can review the relative differences, if any, on our community. We will keep everyone apprised as more granular plans make themselves available for review. If you have any questions, you are welcome to submit your feedback, comments and concerns through an online form so that we may consolidate responses.
Thank you and we look forward to comments,