Ann Arbor Downtown Zoning Evaluation

ENP & Associates was hired by the City of Ann Arbor to facilitate a community input process evaluating their Downtown Zoning, adopted four years before. The goal of the process was to identify and prioritize community concerns and recommend implementable solutions to the City of Ann Arbor’s Ordinance Revisions Committee and Planning Commission. The community was asked whether zoning was meeting its original intent as well as about height and bulk limitation for three properties abutting historic neighborhoods.

The community engagement process, designed and facilitated by ENP, included a multitude of opportunities for participation, including small, informal “community coffees”, focus groups, large public meetings, online surveys and social media. Ideas were recorded from verbal comments, in writing, at public meetings and via electronic communications. At the conclusion of the 4- month process, 131 individuals had participated. ENP’s final report included documentation of all input received and options considered, as well as why certain options were recommended for implementation.

Participants said at the end of the process that, even though the recommended actions did not completely satisfy any one constituency, they were heard and the evaluation was balanced. Since the completion of the project, Ann Arbor City Council has amended the zoning on one of the sites per ENP’s recommendations and asked ENP to lead a subsequent process to update the incentives of additional floor area offered in the downtown zoning.