Ypsilanti Citizen News Ypsilanti Cycle

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Council may ease Water Street selling process

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Project’s site plan, development discussed

By Dan DuChene
Jul. 22, 2009    ·    4:36 a.m.

City Council voted to ease the process of selling property on the Water Street project Tuesday.

A resolution was unanimously approved to allow City Council the ability to pass a single ordinance to sell property on Water Street. Individual plots will be approved by resolution of Council.

Mayor Pro-tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, and Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2, were not present at the meeting.

The resolution stems from a city charter amendment requiring the City Council to approve the sale of its assets through the adoption of an ordinance, which requires publication, two readings and a public hearing.

Resolutions simply require a majority vote. However, the resolutions for selling parcels of the Water Street project will require a public hearing, a notice for which will have to be published.

The ordinance to sell the land will likely be considered at City Council’s Aug. 18 meeting.

During the Water Street update during Tuesday night’s meeting, Assistant City Manager April McGrath said the city is still in negotiations with several firms to develop portions of the project.

Previously, the city has said interested buyers include German-based discount grocer ALDI Food Stores, a fast food restaurant, a student housing development and a senior housing development.

The individual parcels on the 38 acre site are being sold through real-estate brokerage firm C.B. Richard Ellis.

To help negotiations with potential buyers, City Council also unanimously adopted a rough site plan for the project’s infrastructure.

Developed through the contracted work of Orchard, Hiltz and McCliment, Inc., the basic plan calls for the extension of River Street past Michigan Avenue and Water Street to remain where it has been historically.

The two streets will be connected by an extension of Parsons Street from Park Street.

A variation of this plan calls for River Street to extend past Parsons Street and end in a cul-de-sac farther south.

A new water main will be required, but the city hopes to re-use many of the existing sewer lines. The city would construct the “backbone” of the storm sewer system, with developers building their own extensions for the system from each parcel.

OHM predicts the storm sewer will empty right into the near-by Huron River.

City Council discussed a “vision” for Water Street toward the end of the meeting. Councilmember Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1, initiated the conversation during Council-proposed business.

“I don’t know if we on council have a clear vision on what we want on Water Street,” Richardson said.

She said she feared a “hodge-podge” of development on the site by not determining a clear plan.

“We may let our desperation determine our destiny,” she said. “I don’t want that.”

Councilmember Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, brought up the payments that will become due, and the looming budget deficit predicted for the next fiscal year.

Currently looking at a $31.2 million debt for the project, the first bond payment will be due in November of next year. The two payments due for that fiscal year are estimated at $854,000. Payments will escalate following years, averaging at a $1.44 million payment every year until 2031.

Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, said the city has already had a vision for Water Street, citing the previous Freed and Biltmore plans.

“Nobody wants to buy that vision at this point in time,” Murdock said. “I don’t think we need another vision.”

Instead, he said City Council should look at each potential buyer individually and weigh the options. He said that is what the city is doing now.

Mayor Paul Schreiber pointed to the zoning plan City Council passed on first reading in March, which established two zoning districts. Commercial zoning was set along Michigan Avenue, while residential was put in the interior of the site.

The margin was slim, with Schreiber, Robb, Bodary and Nickels voting in favor. It has not come up for a second reading. Swanson was absent from the meeting.

At the March meeting, Richardson said she voted against the plan due to the restrictions placed to encourage urban-style development. She said it would limit the amount of interest on the site.

At the March meeting, City Planner Richard Murphy said the zoning map limits the amount of parking and sets a three floor minimum for structures in the proposed commercial zone. He said the zoning will create an urban environment to compliment Ypsilanti’s two established downtown districts and help to maximize tax capture on the site.

“I would hope City Council would consider passing a second reading,” Schreiber said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It would help codify a vision.”

Ypsilanti resident Leonardo Christian spoke about the matter during audience participation at Tuesday’s meeting.

Christian pointed to the effect student housing developments like Peninsular Place had on existing landlords like Barnes and Barnes, when discussing student housing on Water Street. He said downtown property owners could be negatively impacted by such development on Water Street.

Related story:
Water Street zoning approved

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