N 0 R T H E A S T A R E A P L A N
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
Adopted by, the Ann Arbor City Council
April 6, 1989
Gerald Jernigan, Mayor
Ann Marie Coleman
Del Borgsdorf, City Administrator
Adopted bv the Ann Arbor City Planning Commission
April 25, 1989
Samuel Offen, Chairman
Martin Overhiser, Planning Director
Prepared for: Ann Arbor City Planning Commission
Prepared by: Ann Arbor City Planning Department with assistance from
the Northeast Area Plan Review Task Force
Northeast Area Plan Review Task Force
City Planning Department Project Staff
Joy Bisaro, Assistant to City Planner
Glenn Bowles, City Planner
Martin Overhiser, Planning Director
Wendy Rampson, City Planner
Jill St. John, Clerk Steno II
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. BACKGROUND 2
III. GUIDING POLICIES 8
IV. LAND USE 10
V. CIRCULATION 22
Clark Road Extension
Huron Parkway/Inner Belt System
VI. PUBLIC FACILITIES 26
VII. PLAN IMPLEMENTATION 33
Capital Improvements Plan
VIII. APPENDIX (Published Separately)
1988 Northeast Land Use Inventory Data
The City Planning Commission wishes to thank each of the Northeast Area
Plan Review Task Force members who participated in the plan review
process, the over 130 residents who took the time to provide insight and
comments, the City Department representatives and other local planning
agencies who informed the Task Force about their planning efforts, and
especially to Planning Department staff members Glenn Bowles and Wendy
Rampson for coordinating this effort. Special thanks go to the staff of
Community Access for their instruction and assistance in preparing the
video production highlighting this planning process, to Joy Bisaro, who
developed the graphics for the plan, and Jill St. John, who provided
patient secretarial assistance throughout the process.
The City Planning Commission has resolved to periodically review
and update the City Master Plan. The Northeast Area Plan is a sub-element
of the Master Plan, serving to pull together and update the
recommendations of previous plans and studies as they relate to the
northeast area of the City. This plan document is meant to provide a
guide for future decisions related to land use, circulation and public
facilities in the northeast area. While concerned primarily with the
future development of remaining vacant land, the plan also provides
guidelines for redevelopment, infill development and the preservation of
This plan is the culmination of a year of review and citizen
input. In December 1987, the City Planning Commission appointed a citizen
task force to review and recommend changes to the Master Plan elements as
they applied to the northeast area of the City. Staff completed an
inventory of the land use and population in February, 1988. Following six
months of review and discussion, the Northeast Area Task Plan Review Task
Force presented its recommendations to the City Planning Commission on
June 28, 1988. After two public hearings, the City
Planning Commission voted to accept the Task Force report on July 26,
1988, and directed Planning Department staff to develop a plan document
based on the current Master Plan and the suggested revisions.
The time line shown in Figure 1 outlines the steps taken in this process.
The Northeast Area Plan is comprised of six main sections:
background, guiding policies, land use, circulation, public facilities,
and implementation guidelines. The background section provides a brief
framework of the history and demographics of the northeast area. The core
of the document outlines planning recommendations related to guiding
policies, land use, circulation and public facilities. Strategies for
implementation of the plan recommendations are outlined in the final
The northeast area is bounded by M-14/US-23 on the north, US-23 on
the east, Washtenaw Avenue on the south, and Ferdon Avenue, the Huron
River and M-14 on the west. It contains approximately 7,313 acres, of
which 2,267 acres, or 31 percent of the land area, is currently located in
Ann Arbor Township's jurisdiction. Based on sanitary sewer agreements
with Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Townships, this plan assumes that all land
within the study area will eventually fall under the City's jurisdiction.
Therefore, the sewer agreement boundary corresponds with the study area
For data analysis purposes, the study area has been divided into 15
planning neighborhoods (Figure 2).
The northeast area contains some of the oldest commercial
buildings in the City. The "Lower Town" area, located on the north side
of the river at the base of the Broadway bridge, thrived as a commercial
center in the early 1830's, but its growth, and that of the surrounding
countryside, was curtailed when the railroad was constructed on the south
side of the river. What residential development did occur radiated north
from Lower Town along Pontiac Trail and Traver Street to Barton Drive and
along Broadway Avenue to Plymouth Road, which represented the City's
northeasterly limits until the 1940's. Early residential development also
occurred south of the river, expanding east from the campus area along
Washtenaw and Geddes Avenues.
The remainder of the area north of the river was used largely for
agriculture until the early 1950's, when the University of Michigan
purchased 800 acres of land to establish the North Campus and the Michigan
Department of Transportation started acquiring land for construction of a
new highway, US-23. These two events, more than any other factors,
spurred on the dramatic growth which has characterized the northeast area
for the last 30 years. During the late 1950's and early 1960's, research
firms located along Plymouth Road, due in part to active encouragement by
the University and easy access to US-23. As these research sites
developed, they were annexed into the City to allow connection with City
services. This resulted in a patchwork pattern of City and township
islands which exists even now in the northeast area.
The 1960's were boom years for the northeast area. Single-family
subdivisions were established in close proximity to the Plymouth corridor,
which continued to attract new research firms. The major commercial
developments in the area, including Arborland, Plymouth Mall, North Campus
Plaza, Plymouth-Green and the Washtenaw strip", were developed during this
time. Several multiple-family projects were also developed during the
1960's, including dormitories and married student housing located on North
Development continued into the 1970's, particularly residential. The
Arrowwood Hills Cooperative, a federally-subsidized residential
development, was built in the early 1970's, as was the Traver Lakes
development. This time period also saw the introduction of some
constraints to the future growth of the City, as the waste water treatment
agreements signed by Pittsfield Township in 1975 and Ann Arbor Township in
1976 identified township areas outside the freeway ring that could remain
in the township's jurisdiction while receiving City sanitary sewer
In the 1980's, development of the northeast area has continued with the
construction of a variety of new multiple-family, commercial, office and
Although up until this time there has not been a
comprehensive land use plan developed specifically for the northeast area,
several approved City-wide plans contain recommendations for this area.
General Land Use Model 1974
Transportation Plan for the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Urbanized Area 1975
Plan for Solving Circulation Problems - 1977
Plan for Transitional and Vacant Land Areas- 1981
1988-1994 Plan for Parks, Recreation and Open Space - 1988
North Main Street/Huron River Corridor Summary Land Use Policy Plan - 1988
A number of studies have also been done on specific aspects of the
northeast area. These studies, in addition to providing an historical
perspective, provide guidance in the framing of this plan's
recommendations. They are:
Area Plan for Northeast Ann Arbor - 1953
Fuller-Geddes Study - 1964
Northeast Area Study Policy Report (Draft) - 1974
Plan for Northeast Area - Potential Issues - No Date
A Preliminary Opinion Survey For the East/Northeast Area Plan (Final Report) - 1978
Northside Character Study - No Date
Household Survey - 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988
Northeast Area Commercial Needs Study - 1982
North Campus Plan - 1984
Traffic Analysis for the Northeast Ann Arbor Area (Memorandum) - 1986
Green Road Impact Assessment - 1987
According to a 1988 Planning Department land use inventory, the Northeast
Area contains 13,607 dwelling units and an estimated 31,900 residents.
The growth within the area is fairly recent. It has been spurred on
largely by The University of Michigan's development of North Campus and
active support of research activities, and the completion of US-23/M-14.
In 1950, the United States Census shows the population of the northeast
area to have been 5,400. By the 1960 Census, population had increased to
8,065. Following the major increase in development during the 1960's, the
area's population mushroomed to over 22,000 by the 1970 Census. The
population of the Northeast Area is projected to reach 38,800 people by
the year 2005. It is possible that if the northeast area is developed
according to current plans, the ultimate population may reach 46,500
people, a 46 percent increase over the present population of 31,900.
Residential neighborhoods within the northeast differ considerably from
each other. As Figures 3 and 4 illustrate, the neighborhoods South of the
Huron River are predominantly owner-occupied, with median household
incomes nearly double that of the entire City. Households in this area
tend to have a greater percentage of elderly people (over 60 years old),
and residential developments have a relatively low density (less than two
dwelling units per acre exclusive of right-of-way).
The older neighborhoods west of the North Campus and the Ann Arbor
Railroad, including Arrowwood Cooperative and the Huron Highlands
Subdivision, tend to have lower incomes (generally less than 80 percent of
the City median household level), a predominance of renter-occupied units,
with residential densities ranging from about four units per acre to over
ten dwellings per acre. More multiple-family dwellings exist in
Neighborhoods 4, 5, 6 and 7 than in any other northeast neighborhoods.
With the exception of the Northwood V and Greenbrier neighborhoods,
housing in the area east of Nixon Road and Huron Parkway is predominantly
owner-occupied. North of Plymouth Road, the density averages about five
dwellings per acre. South of Plymouth Road, the single-family development
density ranges from two to four units per acre and the multiple-family
density ranges from seven to 15 units per acre. Income levels, with the
exception of the Greenbrier and Northwood V neighborhoods, are well above
the $30,000 City median.
Currently, over 10,600 people are estimated to be employed within the
study area. Over 80 percent of this employment is concentrated along the
Plymouth Road corridor east of Broadway. Nearly 4,000 people are employed
on the University of Michigan North Campus. Another 3,000 people are
employed in the ten major research and development businesses located
along Plymouth Road. The Arborland and Tuomy Hills commercial
concentrations along Washtenaw Avenue employ nearly 1,500 people in retail
commercial and office activities. Another 600 people are employed in the
Lower Town service commercial center at Broadway and Maiden Lane.
Employment is projected to double to 21,300 with the ultimate development
of the area. Over 9,000, or 84 percent, of these new jobs are projected
to be in research and development. Nearly all of the growth in employment
is expected to be on the north side of the Plymouth Road corridor in the
Plymouth Professional Park, the research and commercial development near
Plymouth and Nixon Roads, and the proposed research areas north of Dhu
Varren and Green Roads.
In developing a plan for the northeast area, coordination is
required between a number of governmental agencies which have
plans for the area. These agencies include The University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor Township, Pittsfield Township, the Urban Area
Transportation Study Group (UATS), the Ann Arbor Transportation
Authority (AATA), and the Ann Arbor Board of Education. Several
coordinating committees meet on a regular basis. These are:
University of Michigan-City Coordinating Committee
City-School Coordinating Committee
UATS Technical and Steering Committees
Special meetings set up by the Washtenaw Country Metropolitan Planning
Commission provide additional opportunities for communication and
coordination between planning jurisdictions. Wherever possible, elements
of the plans and policies developed by these agencies have been
incorporated into the Northeast Area Plan.
The 1973 General Development Plan and the policy components of the
elements of the City Master Plan provide guidance and direction for the
City's planning decisions. These general policies for land use,
circulation, public facilities, historical preservation, urban design and
environmental quality set the tone for the specific recommendations
contained in the Northeast Area Plan. Highlights from these plans are
Within residential areas, established neighborhoods must
be protected from the intrusion of incompatible land uses, increased
traffic, deterioration and other negative environmental impacts.
Amenities such as public parks, public facilities, convenience stores and
a mix of housing types should be made available to all neighborhoods.
Commercial use should be grouped into integrated units of mixed land uses,
and new strip development along thoroughfares should be prohibited.
Commercial centers must be consistent in scale and appearance with
existing neighborhoods and sized to serve the needs of the market area for
which they are intended.
Office, industrial and research uses should be planned to be functionally,
visually and environmentally compatible with surrounding residential
All neighborhoods should be provided with
developed City-owned parklands to meet local recreational needs. Land or
easements for public use should be acquired to form an interconnected
greenway system. A policy of acquisition of lands along the Huron River
Valley should be followed.
The provision of municipal services should be provided to areas v(ithin
the City sewer service area. Development of public facilities should
proceed in- a direction that will permit their eventual linkage to major
regional systems if this proves advantageous to the City in terms of
environmental quality economic considerations.
The planning and funding of pedestrian, bicycle and public
transportation systems should be emphasized as an alternative to
automobile circulation. Land use patterns should be planned to minimize
the need for private vehicular travel. Road patterns and alignments
should respect major topographic features, contiguous developed
areas and potential future neighborhood units. Local
access roads should connect to minor arterials but not serve as
short-cuts between them. Major arterials should not divide closely
The preservation of historically and
culturally significant sites, structures, streetscapes and neighborhoods
should be supported.
Adaptive reuse of historically and culturally significant
structures which would be compatible with surroundings uses should be
Al1 development should provide a visual enhancement to the City.
An intensified design and implementation program for the visual
improvement of all public lands, including street rights-of-way, is
necessary. A high density of tree-cover should be maintained.
Woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife habitats should be
maintained through sensitive land use planning. Major developments should
evaluate environmental impacts and comply with established
environmental regulations. Surface water runoff should be detained to
minimize direct flow into the Huron River. Noise generating activities
should be isolated. Alternative waste disposal systems should be
investigated to conserve the landfill capacity.
In addition to the policies described in above, guidelines related to
annexation and affordable housing have been established by the Planning
Commission and City Council since adoption of the 1973 General Development
In the northeast area, all land within the City sewer service area should
be annexed by the City in an orderly manner. Any property within this
area should be serviced with municipal sewer and water if the land is
developed for urban uses.
Because the northeast area contains concentrations of lower-income
groups, such as college students, single-parent families, retirees,
and low and moderate-income workers, housing opportunities should
be encouraged to be made available to these groups. Private developers are
encouraged to propose methods to reduce costs of housing while still
meeting realistic building and land development standards. In selection
of affordable housing sites, consideration must be given to accessibility
to public services such as public transit, schools and parkland as well as
shopping facilities. Planning techniques allowing greater open space and
diversity of housing types should be encouraged.
With, the exception of the Lower Town and near-campus neighborhoods, most
of the development in the northeast area has been guided by recent city
plans and zoning regulations. As pressures to develop the remaining
vacant land grow, it is particularly important to continue a consistent
land use pattern for future development. The recommendations outlined in
this section and illustrated in Figure 5 focus on the over 1,500 acres of
undeveloped land which is within the City sanitary sewer service area.
However, redevelopment proposals should also be evaluated with the plan in
The study area has been divided into six planning areas, (Figure 6). Land
use recommendations are discussed for sites within each planning area,
recognizing that future land use must be viewed in relationship to the
entire northeast area.
In total there are approximately 1,000 acres of planned, potential
large-tract and infill residential land available in the northeast
area. Excluding the existing residences in township island properties,
this planned residential development could produce over 4,800 new dwelling
In discussing residential density, the ranges used to describe certain
land uses can be translated into the residential zoning districts shown
below. The zoning district densities are expressed as maximum permitted
dwelling units per acre (DU/AC).
Zoning District Density (DU/AC) Housing Type
RIA 2.2 Single-Family Dwelling
RIB 4.4 Single-Family Dwelling
RIC 6.0 Single-Family Dwelling
RID 8.7 Single-Family Dwelling
R2A 10.2 Two-Family Dwelling
R3, R4A, R4A/B 10.1 Townhouse & Multiple-
R4B 15 Multiple-Family Dwelling
R4C 20 Multiple-Family Dwelling
R4D 25 Multiple-Family Dwelling
R4C/D 75.1 Multiple-Family Dwelling
The Northside neighborhood contains the oldest residential and
commercial structures in the northeast area. Conservation of existing
neighborhoods should guide planning decisions for the area. Future
development in this area is largely limited to residential infill projects
on small parcels. Where development or redevelopment is proposed,
residential densities should not exceed the existing range of three to six
dwelling units per acre.
The residential areas south and west of Barton Drive and west of the
University of Michigan North Campus should be explored as a potential
historic district in order to conserve the existing residential scale and
character and preserve the many good examples of early Ann Arbor
residences (see Historic Preservation recommendations at the end of this
This area contains a number of vacant parcels, most of which are
still in township jurisdiction. Because of their development potential,
this area and the area to the east are anticipated to experience a
significant increase in population, an increasing demand for City services
and generate additional traffic. Therefore, careful site design and
circulation planning is extremely important in this area.
Single-family detached dwellings and attached dwellings such as
townhouses and duplexes are suggested for the 140-acre Subarea "A" west of
Pontiac Trail. The residential densi.ty of new development in this area
should be within a range of four to eight units per acre. A design
mixing detached single-family homes in clusters and several higher density
attached single-family units should be considered. Buffering must be
provided to minimize the highway impacts on residential uses.
In Subarea "B", the vacant land south of the City's Black Pond Park is
currently zoned for townhouse and multiple-family development with a
maximum density of ten units per acre. Because of the topography and
significant natural features on this site, it is recommended that
development be clustered on the south portion of the site, with
environmentally-sensitive land west and/or south of Black Pond being
acquired for additional parkland. The township parcel located west of the
Black Pond site is recommended for a mixture of single-family attached and
single-family detached housing, with residential densities ranging from
four to eight units per acre.
The approximately 155-acre Subarea "C" located directly north and west of
Leslie Park offers the potential to expand community and neighborhood
recreational opportunities in coordination with new residential
development and an improved local circulation system. Residential
development should include a mix of single-family and multiple-family
dwellings with an average density of eight units per acre. New public
streets connecting Dhu Varren Road, Pontiac Trail and Traver Road are
strongly encouraged to disperse local traffic and provide alternative
North of Dhu Varren Road and west of the Ann Arbor Railroad is the 55-acre
Subarea "D", currently owned by the Washtenaw County Road Commission. If
made available for private development, the east portion of the site
should be developed for single-family attached and detached uses.
Residential densities on this site should range from four to eight units
per acre. Development of this site must provide buffering from the
Much of the residential development in this area has occurred in the 1ast
15 years. Of the undeveloped land in the north portion, a large amount is
already in the City's jurisdiction and zoned for residential use.
Subarea "A" contains the previously proposed "Foxfire" development, a
245-acre site characterized by farm fields, woodlots and a major tributary
of Traver Creek. Clustering of single-family detached and attached
housing to preserve the creek channels and woodlots is proposed with
residential densities ranging from six to ten units per acre. The 32
acres closest to US-23/M-14 'is zoned for multiple family residential use
at a density of up to 15 units per acre. As with all other residential
sites adjacent to the highway, proper buffering and building orientation
is necessary to mitigate the noise and pollution impacts.
The 40-acre Subarea "B" north of Logan School is recommended for
single-family detached and attached homes at a density of four to six
units per acre. Clustering is encouraged to preserve the wetlands in the
southwest corner of the site and provide additional recreation and open
space to be acquired for Logan School.
In Subarea "C", the area between Leslie Golf Course and the proposed
north/south collector street is recommended for multiple-family use with a
density of up to 25 units per acre. The use of midrise buildings,
consistent with development to the west, is encouraged to preserve the
significant wetlands, woodlots and landmark trees on the site. Duplex or
multiple-family use is recommended as a redevelopment option for the
two-acre automobile salvage site located at the intersection of Plymouth
Road and Upland Drive, unless it is determined that soil contamination
would make residential use undesirable.
With the completion of Windemere Townhouses at the southeast
corner of Nixon and Green Roads, the residential development of this
planning area is nearly complete. Individual single-family homes may be
added in the future on a few small infill sites and undeveloped platted
lots in established neighborhoods. Infill development should not exceed
the existing single-family detached density of four to five units per
The approximately 80 acres of undeveloped land located north of
Geddes Road is recommended for single-family detached development.
Because of the nature of the existing residential development and the
sensitive natural environment, residential densities in this area should
be limited to no more than four units per acre. Development of additional
housing for senior citizens is recommended on the Glacier Hills site.
The west portion of this planning area is largely developed.
The Geddes Avenue area contains nearly 120 acres of land in Ann Arbor
Township, most of which contain single-family homes. Except for
those properties which are connected to City sewer by special agreements,
these properties will be annexed individually as their owners petition for
Sub area "A" contains 42 acres on the west side of Huron Parkway, north of
Washtenaw Avenue which are zoned for a mix of single-family detached and
single-family attached uses. Site design should be sensitive to the
wooded areas and protect the watercourse through the site. A significant
setback from the Huron Parkway is also recommended.
A mix of dwelling types is recommended for Subarea "B", a 92-acre site
north of the proposed Clark Road connection to Huron Parkway and east of
Chalmers Drive. Multiple-family use at a density of up to ten units per
acre is recommended for the east portion of the site adjacent to US-23 and
the south portion adjacent to Arborland. Design of such a development
must include buffering to reduce highway impacts. The west portion of the
site is recommended for
a mixture of detached and attached single-family uses, with single family
detached being located adjacent to existing single-family development.
Because of the heavily wooded and hilly terrain of Subarea "C",
single-family attached development is recommended. Clustered unit design
with a residential density of six to ten units per acre should be used to
preserve the natural features of the site.
As both the residential and employment population of the northeast area
grow, the need for commercial use increases. Because there is no
authoritative formula by which to determine the amount or type of
commercial use that will be needed to serve this growing population,
recommendations for the location of commercially-zoned land contained in
this plan are based on a range of the following rough projections, along
with other standards of proximity, convenience and accessibility.
Percentage of land area.
Based on a February 1988 inventory, 2.27 percent of the developed
City land in the northeast area is in commercial use. Applying this
percentage to the total area of undeveloped or township land (2,267
acres), an additional 51 acres of commercial area would be needed to
maintain the status quo.
Per capita floor area.
The amount of existing commercial floor area per resident in
the northeast area is 33.4 square feet. This compares to an
average of 61.8 square feet of commercial floor area per capita for the
entire City. Using the existing 33.4 square feet per capita figure,
population growth of 6,000 people by the year 2005 would indicate a need
of 200,400 square feet of additional commercial floor area. Assuming an
average floor area to lot area ratio of 22 percent, this amount of
commercial floor area would require 21 acres of land. If the City-wide
average of 61.8 were applied to the additional 6,000 people, this would
result in a need for 39 acres.
Shopping center standards.
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) describes shopping centers
in general categories of neighborhood, community or
regional, although distinctions between these categories are often
blurred. In general, neighborhood centers provide convenience goods and
services and include a grocery store. Community centers may also provide
convenience items, but provide a greater selection of merchandise than a
neighborhood center. A community center usually includes a variety or
department store or strong specialty store. A regional center is
characterized by a major department store and a great variety of general
merchandise. Each of these categories of centers is observed to exist
within a general range of floor area and acreage, and requires a certain
threshold of population to survive.
Based on general ULI standards, 21 acres of community commercial could be
supported at this time in the portion of the northeast area north of the
Huron River.This area is currently not served by a community commercial
center. The standards also indicate that the existing development in the
northeast area is adequately served by neighborhood commercial.
Assuming a population growth of 6,000 people by the year 2005, an
additional 6 acres of neighborhood commercial and 4.5 acres of community
commercial will be necessary to serve the new population. This then
results in a total need for 25.5 acres of community commercial and 6 acres
of additional neighborhood commercial for the study area. It should be
noted that these figures may be reduced by combining community and
neighborhood functions into single centers.
Two neighborhood commercial sites are recommended to serve the northern
portion of the study area: a five to eight-acre site on one quadrant of
the Pontiac Trail/Dhu Varren Road intersection, and a five to eight-acre
site on the northwest corner of Dhu Varren and Nixon Roads.
Because of its central location and proximity to three arterials, the ten
to 15-acre site at the northwest corner of Plymouth and Nixon Roads is
recommended for commercial use. Development of this site for commercial
use will create a unified community-type commercial center for the
northeast neighborhood. This commercial center should provide pedestrian
and bicycle linkages to surrounding residential areas, generous
landscaping, and provision for general community services.
Research, Office and Industrial Use
Since the establishment of the University of Michigan's North Campus in t
e 1950's, the northeast area has become known as a research center. In
addition to providing a stable employment base, research development
contributes to the open, campus-like feeling which characterizes the area.
In order to enhance this reputation, planning decisions should preserve
and enhance the existing research and office development in the Plymouth
Additional sites for research and related uses are recommended in several
locations: the 50-acre site directly north and west of the
Environmental Protection Agency, the 70-acre site west of
Nixon and north of Dhu Varren Roads and the 93-acre site east of Nixon and
south of M-14. In addition, a 77-acre planned unit development site north
of Green Road is currently zoned for office and research development.
Heavy industrial use is not recommended for the northeast area.
Research and light industrial developments often allow the opportunity for
a more environmentally-compatible design than other types of uses because
of the large lot size preference and the
ability to concentrate buildings, parking and other site development
impacts. All of the sites listed above contain wetlands and other
significant natural features which should be considered in any development
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan follows the guideline contained in the
North Campus Plan in making land use decisions for this area. The
plan, adopted by the Regents in 1984, calls for a central
academic/research core area of 100 acres north of Fuller Road between
Murfin and Beal Avenues, and eventually extending east to Huron Parkway.
This core area is to be surrounded by a campus housing area of 173 acres.
The plan calls for 6,500 dwelling units in both married student and
dormitory units. Presently, there are nearly 3,900 dwelling units
on North Campus. The area of North Campus located east of Huron
Parkway, which currently consists of service facilities and vacant land,
is proposed to be used for open space, research and campus support
facilities. Continued coordination between the City and the
University is encouraged to assure compatible development.
Due to a growing demand for space, the Veteran's Administration has
developed plans to expand their hospital and parking facilities to
the east. These plans involve the realignment of Fuller
Road and the development of an improved traffic pattern in the area.
Careful coordination is required between the City, Veteran's
Administration and the University to insure that the expansion is
consistent with City plans and policies for the area.
Concordia College, a private four-year institution associated with
the Lutheran Church, is situated on three parcels totaling 400
acres which surround the intersection of Geddes and Earhart Roads. The
school's master plan recommends retaining athletic fields north of Geddes
and limiting development on the northeast parcel to residential uses, such
as housing for married students. Academic buildings are to be
concentrated between Geddes and the river.
Because of the presence of significant natural features on or near the
Concordia site, it is recommended that future development preserve these
Historic preservation has become the catalyst for the revitalization
of entire neighborhoods, spurring private investment in
older central neighborhoods. In Ann Arbor, historic preservation
regulations have taken the form of overlay districts, supplementing the
building code and zoning ordinance. In such districts, historic
preservation standards are applied to certain types of exterior
alterations of structures.
The northeast area currently contains one historic district, the Northern
Brewery District, which contains a landmark structure on Jones Drive. The
establishment of historic district ordinances for two neighborhoods
located within the study area, Washtenaw-Hill and Northside, should be
considered (Figure 7). The Washtenaw-Hill district is proposed to
encompass the residential neighborhoods north and south of Geddes Avenue
and extending east along Washtenaw Avenue. The Northside district would
contain the residential neighborhoods south of Barton Drive between
Longshore Drive on the west and Broadway on the east. Regulations for
these districts should closely resemble those for existing residential
historic districts, such as the Old West Side and the Old Fourth Ward.
The establishment of residential historic districts has generally resulted
in a very positive effect. Home ownership percentages and property values
have increased in certain districts. However, since older neighborhoods
have traditionally housed lower income, elderly, and minority families,
care must be taken that the regulations do not result in displacement of
The northeast area contains a number of natural features on both developed
and undeveloped land which should be preserved. These woodlots, wetlands,
watercourses, and steep slopes provide a colorful, relaxing environment in
which to live and work and can absorb many impacts of urban development if
they are accounted for properly. New public and private development or
redevelopment of sites containing these features should be designed to
preserve as much as possible in undisturbed form. If properly designed,
new urban development can coexist in close proximity to natural features
without major negative impacts.
The City of Ann Arbor has inventoried sites in the northeast area and
identified a number of significant natural features which are of
particular importance (Figure 8). These include the 30-acre wetlands
north of Green Road and east of Nixon Road; landmark trees, woodlots, and
wetland in the area between Traver Lakes and Dhu Varren Road; the woodlot
west of Black Pond Park; the significant vegetation and wetlands east of
Ruthven Park; and the wetlands and woodlot on the Traverwood site.
Historically, northeast Ann Arbor has been served by four entry
corridors; Washtenaw Avenue, Fuller/Geddes Roads, Plymouth Road, and
Pontiac Trail. These corridors led into the downtown from outlying areas.
These corridors, with the addition of the north/south Nixon Road/Huron
Parkway corridor, continue to provide the basic circulation framework for
the northeast area.
The road network for the northeast area has been classified by dividing it
into several categories:
Regional Route - a route providing continuity and access to and from other
parts of the state and region.
Major Route - a route providing major access to regional routes and
between parts of the Ann Arbor urbanized area and region.
Intermediate Route - a route which "feeds" major routes and serves a
general sector of the City of Ann Arbor.
Minor Route - a route which collects local traffic and "feeds"
Residential Collector Street - a street which conducts traffic from local
streets to the above routes.
Local Street - a street whose principal purpose is to provide vehicular
and pedestrian access to property abutting the public right-of-way.
Figure 9 illustrates the recommended road functional classification system
for the year 2005. In large part, the vehicular circulation pattern for
the northeast area has already been established. This plan provides
recommendations for the refinement of these patterns. Major aspects of
this plan are detailed below.
Clark Road Extension to Huron Parkway
US-23 restricts east/west access into Ann Arbor to five major routes.
They are Plymouth Road, Geddes Road, Washtenaw Avenue, Packard Road,
and Ellsworth Road. Traffic projections for the year 2005
estimate average daily trips (ADT) for Washtenaw Avenue to be 74,000 ADT,
or 34,000 ADT over capacity. The extension of Clark Road west across
US-23 to Huron Parkway is proposed in the Urban Area Transportation Study
Committee Plan to add another route to the east-west street system. This
additional route would carry some of the future traffic that will be using
the Washtenaw corridor.
The Clark Road extension over US-23 would function as an intermediate
route, "feeding" major routes in the area if built. In addition to
extending Clark Road, other traffic improvements should be pursued to
address the problem of east-west traffic congestion. These include
completion of the extension of Golfside Drive from Washtenaw to Huron
River Drive, widening of Hogback/Dixboro from Washtenaw
Avenue to Plymouth Road, improvements to Huron River Drive west of Hogback
Road, and improved traffic control at the Washtenaw/Carpenter
Fuller/Geddes Road is classified as a major route, serving as a
significant entry corridor into The University of Michigan and the
downtown area. Existing trips are from 12,000 ADT west of
Huron Parkway to 11,600 ADT on the segment just west of US-23.
This represents a use approximately 20 percent above the estimated
capacity for the existing two-lane roadway. Because of this capacity
problem, Fuller/Geddes Road is considered to be a deficient corridor.
Improvements should be made to this corridor to relieve some of the
pressure on the Washtenaw Avenue and Plymouth Road corridors.
In order to improve the capacity and safety of the corridor, Fuller Road
should be realigned to provide a two-way street north of the Veterans
Administration Hospital and east of Oakway Drive. The entire street
should be widened from a point west of the bridge over the Huron River to
the Geddes/US-23 interchange. Special care must be taken in improving the
capacity of this corridor to protect residential and historic structures
fronting on the road and to reduce potential environmental impacts.
Coordination is also required with Concordia College to insure that
pedestrian access between the north and south portions of the campus is
Huron Parkway/Inner Belt System During the 1950's, state and
federal agencies developed the concept of a circumferential highway
skirting the east side of Ann Arbor and proceeded to acquire right-of-way
for its construction. City officials subsequently convinced these
agencies to relocate the highway path further east and north in the
present US-23/M-14 configuration. The concept of Huron Parkway was
originally proposed in the 1959 Thoroughfare Plan as an "inner belt" for
the northeast area, utilizing the right-of-way acquired for the original
US-23 route. This parkway was to act as an intermediate route, providing
access to major routes in the area.
Traffic counts conducted by the City Transportation Department in 1985
showed traffic on Huron Parkway to be 10,810 ADT between Baxter and
Plymouth Road and 4,090 ADT between Plymouth Road and Nixon Road.
This plan recommends revision of the Huron Parkway "inner belt" concept,
making use of existing roads to serve future development in the northwest
portion of the study area and minimize disruption to Leslie Golf Course
and adjacent residential developments. Under this concept, the Huron
Parkway/Nixon Road corridor serves as a major north-south route bisecting
the northern portion of the study area. The revised inner belt would
consist of Nixon Road, Dhu Varren Road and Pontiac Trail, defining a large
super-block north of Plymouth Road. East-west traffic movements through
this area are considered to be less critical to efficient traffic movement
than the north-south movement.
The segment of Huron Parkway proposed to extend from Nixon Road to
Tuebingen Parkway is to be reduced to a collector street and the segment
proposed to extend across Leslie Golf Course eliminated from the plan. A
portion of the existing right-of-way east of Pontiac Trail should be
retained in case there is a need for a residential collector to gain
access to the property to the southeast. This access street would only be
built to serve a public or private development after a review of possible
In order to function, this revised circulation system requires several
additional north-south connections: Traver Road should be connected to Dhu
Varren Road west of the railroad right-of-way, and Tuebingen Parkway
should be connected to Dhu Varren Road east of the railroad right-of-way.
Another proposed north-south connection would connect the Huron Parkway
extension to Plymouth Road west of the Environmental Protection Agency
property. Nixon Road between Plymouth Road and Huron Parkway should
remain in i ts current configuration until a City traffic analysis
indicates vacation of the street would improve traffic circulation.
Currently there are four interchanges which provide access to
the northeast area from regional routes: M-14/Barton Drive,
and US-23/Plymouth Road, US-23/Geddes, and US-23/Washtenaw.
Further development of this area calls for an additional access point
somewhere between the Plymouth and Main Street interchanges, in addition
to improvements to the operation and/or location of the existing
interchanges. Because final approval of these projects rests with the
Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the City and the Urban Area
Transportation Study Committee need to coordinate local plans with MDOT
officials and attempt to obtain a funding commitment.
The Barton Drive/M-14 interchange is inadequately designed for the amount
of traffic it services, and funnels a large amount of traffic through the
adjacent residential neighborhood. The North Main Street/M-14 interchange
is also inadequate for the volume of traffic it currently handles. Any
improvements to the North Main Street/M-14 interchange might consider the
construction of a connection from Pontiac Trail to M-14 utilizing the
right-of-way that the City owns. A detailed study of the highway access
problems in this area should be included as a part of the City's
Transportation Plan Update.
The Plymouth Road/US-23 interchange is inadequate for the volume of
traffic it currently handles. To prevent further congestion of the
Plymouth Road corridor, this interchange needs to be improved.
An interchange should be considered in the Nixon Road and M-14/US23 area
to provide an additional access point to the northeast area and reduce
pressure on the two existing interchanges. However, the traffic impact of
Ann Arbor Township development along the M14/Dixboro corridor must be
evaluated for its impact on the need for a Nixon Road interchange. If
constructed, the interchange should be located between the two US-23/M-14
junctions, west of existing Nixon Road.
The five entry corridors within the northeast area are experiencing
capacity overloading. The optimistic mass transit capture rates
used in the 1977 Plan for Solving Circulation Problems have not been
realized. With the continuing urban development within and
surrounding the northeast area, alternatives to continued road
construction must be explored and encouraged. Mass transit routes should
be expanded into the surrounding townships. A fixed rail system
utilizing existing railroad right-of-way should be examined. Official
park-and-ride facilities should be established at easily accessible
locations such as shopping centers and public buildings by the Ann Arbor
Transportation Authority and The University of Michigan. Most
importantly, the 1977 circulation plan needs to be updated to provide a
comprehensive transportation strategy and implementation guidelines.
Since modern urban systems are predominately automobile oriented, many
urban design issues pertain to transportation systems. Private
development and public road construction along major entry corridors such
as Plymouth Road and the Fuller/Geddes Road corridor should follow
specific design policies.
The Fuller/Geddes Road corridor may be designed with a boulevard center
section provided where possible. Tree plantings and sidewalk/ bicycleways
should also be part of the design. Access should be limited to existing
curb cuts where possible. Road design of this corridor must respect the
historical and residential structures and environmental features which
front on portions of Fuller and Geddes Roads.
The Plymouth Road corridor is one of the fastest growing areas in the
City. Large amounts of open space provided by research facilities and the
University of Michigan provides the distinctive appearance of the
corridor. This park-like setting is further emphasized by the corridor's
smooth, rolling horizontal and vertical alignments. The image of the
park-like setting on the entire corridor should be preserved by 1)
maintaining expanded front setbacks to both buildings and parking along
the road frontage, 2) expanded earth berming and tree plantings in the
front setbacks, 3) eliminating unneeded curb cuts, and consolidating cuts
where possible, 4) where structures and parking lots intrude with 250 feet
of the street right-of-way, the density of tree materials should be
The established Huron Parkway standards of large setbacks and limited curb
cuts should be continued as much as possible along Nixon Road, which is
proposed to serve as the northern extension of Huron Parkway.
Storm Sewer (Figure 10). Within the study area north of
the Huron River, Traver Creek and the North Campus system are the
most significant drainage areas. The developed area is serviced with
an extensive, underground piped system. The undeveloped portions
of the basins are served with open drains.
The Traver Creek Valley system is the largest system. It drains most of
the area between Pontiac Trail and Nixon Road south of M14/US-23. West of
the Traver basin are three small urban systems, Huron Highlands, Huron
River and Argo, which empty directly into the Huron River. The Fleming
Creek drains the eastern fringe of the study area.
South of the Huron River, the Pittsfield-Ann Arbor Drain is the most
significant organized system. Swift Run drains the far eastern fringe.
Because of the low-density residential use on generally hilly terrain, the
area between the Huron River and the Pittsfield-Ann Arbor basin is not
served by an,underground storm sewer system.
Coordinated with improvements to Plymouth Road in 1989, the Traver Creek
culvert under the roadway will be improved to correct drainage
deficiencies. As development occurs in each drainage basin, each proposal
will be required to provide on-site storm water detention designed to
limit storm runoff to pre-development levels.
Water Distribution (Figure 11). The older residential Northside
neighborhood and the areas south of the Huron River are served with six
and eight-inch mains, while the remainder of the area is serviced by 12,
16 and 20-inch water transmission lines.
The northeast area is served by one storage facility, a five million
gallon underground facility on Beal. A 500,000-gallon elevated tank
facility on Plymouth Road west of Green Road maintains pressure in the
system. A major transmission main is planned to loop around the north
part of the study area by 1990. This facility is needed to provide
improved capacity and pressure.
Sanitary Sewer (Figure 12). Two main sewer trunklines, North
Campus and Traver Creek, and two submains, Earhart/Greenhills and
Northside, serve the area north of the Huron River. These systems
generally correspond to the surface drainage basins and storm sewer
districts. All of the existing urban development north of the Huron River
in the City either is or can be served by the City sanitary sewer system.
South of the Huron River, the Pittsfield-Ann Arbor trunkline services the
drainage basin. The area north of the service area is generally not
served with a sanitary sewer system except for the area accessed by the
small submains shown on the map. The residential densities range up to
two dwellings per acre. Some of
the township properties were allowed to tap into City utility lines
without annexing into the City through special agreements.
Two major sewer mains are programmed for 1989, the Northside Submain
Relief and the Traver Creek Sewer Extension. The existing Northside
Submain downstream of Barton Drive does not provide enough capacity and a
relief sewer is recommended to provide sufficient capacity for the present
and future flows. An increase in the service area is predicted to provide
service to Barton Hills. Extension of existing sanitary sewer along
Traver Road wi 1 1 be necessary to serve future development along Dhu
Varren Road. Other major sewer main extensions will be necessary for the
area north of Arborland and the areas north of Dhu Varren Road.
The northeast contains four elementary schools (Northside
Thurston, Logan and King), two middle schools (Clague and Tappan) and a
high school (Huron). In addition to public schools, there are three
private schools: St. Paul's Lutheran School (elementary), Greenhills
School (secondary), and the Michigan Islamic Academy (elementary and
Statistics for 1986 show an elementary school enrollment of 1,490 students
within the study area. The combined capacity of the four elementary
schools serving the northeast area is 1,925 students. Ultimate
residential growth projections would generate sufficient enrollment to
create a deficit elementary school capacity. Part of this deficiency may
be offset by reactivating Freeman School, located in Ann Arbor Township
and presently leased to a day care operation. Middle school and senior
high school capacities are considered sufficient for the planning period.
The idea of reserving another elementary school site in the north part of
the study area should be studied. The City and the Board of Education
should work in concert to identify the need for such a site to accommodate
the number of elementary school students generated by ultimate northeast
area residential growth.
Presently there are six fire stations within the City. The northeast
area (Fire District #5) is served by the Beal Station, located on The
University of Michigan North Campus. The station serves both the North
Campus and the northeast area.
Present fire service and response time in the northeast area is generally
adequate, but future growth in the north portion of the study area may
generate a need for an additional facility. Any plan for fire
service in the northeast area must address needs generated by the maximum
development of the area. Future expansion of City fire service
facilities should explore sharing services with Ann Arbor Township.
The northeast area contains 600 acres of City-owned parkland.
School property provides another 173 acres of recreational land available
to residents. The University of Michigan provides 132 acres of programmed
open space and recreational sites. The combined
park and total of 905 acres represents 12.4 percent of the 1and
within the study area.
Neighborhoods with either high demand or that are deficient in parkland
have been identified. The Arrowwood and North Campus neighborhoods
exhibit a high demand and the Bader/Ann Arbor Hills neighborhood is
deficient in active neighborhood parkland. Neighborhoods with high demand
tend to have larger household size, a higher percentage of households with
children and lower median income.
All neighborhoods should be provided with active recreational space.
Neighborhoods with identified recreational deficiencies should be targeted
for priority park acquisition and development. In addition to active
recreational area, parkland containing significant natural features should
be acquired to provide for passive recreation opportunities within the
The Leslie recreational complex should serve as the hub of parkland
development north of Plymouth Road. This hub should be connected to other
park and school facilities through a system of lineal parks and
pedestrian/bicycle trails. The Huron River and Gallup
Park should serve as the hub for the area between Plymouth Road
and Washtenaw Avenue. Huron Parkway and Traver Creek are important
elements in providing linkages between these two park systems.
Specific parkland acquisition and development recommendations for the
northeast area are contained in the 1988-1994- Parks, recreation
and Open Space Plan and the North Main Street Plan (Figure 13).
Because a joint responsibility to provide and maintain recreation-
al space exists between the City of Ann Arbor and other local
units of government such as the Ann Arbor Public Schools and
Washtenaw County, increased coordination and communication between
these different agencies is essential for a responsible park program.
Currently, the only recycling facility located in the
study area is a composting drop-off site at Leslie Science Center.
Recycle Ann Arbor, in coordination with the City, provides curbside pickup
of recyclable materials for residential households and collection programs
for the commercial sector. City plans to expand the
recycling program include development of small local collection sites to
increase participation by residents of multiple-family developments.
Additional programs and facilities should be developed to provide
alternatives to landfill disposal of refuse.
The northeast area contains several other facilities which are utilized by
the public. A neighborhood branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library is
located at Plymouth Mall. Northside Community Center, administered by the
City Parks and Recreation Department, provides community services to
low-income families and seniors. A privately-run community center,
Green-Glacier, is operated by the Methodist Church and provides a number
of neighborhood services.
Several methods may be used by the City to implement the recommendations
contained in the Master Plan. These methods fall into two general
categories: development of ordinances or regulations and the spending of
public money on capital improvements.
State enabling legislation allows communities to
zone land and adopt other land development regulations to protect the
health, safety and welfare of its residents. The Zoning Ordinance
(Chapter 55 of the Ann Arbor City Code) establishes regulations for the
use of the land, its maximum density and the height, size and placement of
structures on the land. In order to be enforceable, objectives outlined
in Master Plan must be translated into specific regulations and adopted as
part of a zoning ordinance or land development regulations.
In addition to the Zoning Ordinance, there are a number of other
City ordinances which regulate the use of land:
Chapter 26 - Refuse Chapter 61 - Signs
Chapter 47 - Streets Chapter 62 - Landscape
Chapter 55 - Zoning Chapter 63 - Soil
Chapter 57 - Subdivision Erosion
and Land Use Chapter 103 - Historic
Chapter 59 - Off-Street Preservation
Parking Chapter 104 - Fences
The City Council has also adopted development policies requiring the
installation of street trees and sidewalks or bike paths, and guidelines
for the provision of parkland or off-site improvements by new
Because a development petition must be submitted to the City for
review before land development regulations can be applied, their
role in implementation of the Master Plan is limited. However,
these guidelines also help shape other public decisions that
relate to the development or improvement of City
facilities or services.
Capital Improvements Plan
Regulations dictate what may or may not occur on a particular site, not
if or when the development or redevelopment should occur. The timing of
development can be influenced through the a City's capital improvement
plan and the operating budget.
Each year, the City Planning Commission develops a plan which
specifies the priority of City-financed capital projects
over the ensuing six years. These projects include utility line
extensions and improvements, parkland acquisition and development,
street construction and other major projects on City-controlled
land or right-of-way. Once adopted, this plan is used by the City
Council in making budget decisions throughout the year.
The 1988 Capital Improvement Plan identifies over 20 million
dollars to be spent on projects located within the northeast area over the
next six years. The table below indicates how these funds are proposed to
1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
Park and Rec $2,570 652 1,018 400 75 200 225
Sanitary Sewer $1,513 150 600 321 442 - -
Storm Sewer $563 563 - - -
Water Mains $626 26 600 - - -
Street Improve $15,628 4,050 6,562 2,816 - 200 2,000
TOTAL $20,900 $5,441 $8,780 $3,537 $517 $400 $2,225
A variety of supplementary approaches are used to implement the
recommendations contained in this plan. One is the encouragement of
annexation within the sewer service boundaries in coordination with
improvements scheduled in the Capital Improvement Plan.
Another important aspect of implementation is communication and
coordination between planning agencies. Because development and
circulation within the northeast area are impacted by the actions of the
surrounding townships, the University, the Board of Education, the Urban
Area Transportation Study Committee, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority,
and a variety of regional and state agencies; coordination with these
decision-makers is necessary to insure that objectives contained in the
City plan are met. This in turn requires a commitment on the part of the
City to participate in joint coordinating efforts.