Barton Hills Village, Michigan

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November 6, 2008



November 6, 2008

The meeting of the BHV Planning Commission was called to order by Chair Laura Weingartner at 7:34 PM at the Village Hall.

ROLL CALL Present: Commissioners Boddie, MacKrell, Nichols and Weingartner, and ZPA Perry. Absent: Commissioner McCabe. Others present: BHV Long Range Planning Committee Chair Cheryl MacKrell, BHMC President Chuck Bultman and BHMC Vice President Donna Kelly.


MINUTES Motion The minutes of the July 10, 2008 meeting were approved as printed. (Boddie/MacKrell/Passed unanimously)




Master Plan Draft version 3 of the Master Plan has been distributed to the Commissioners, members of the BHV Long Range Planning and Zoning Committees, BHV President Adele Laporte, BHMC President Chuck Bultman and the BHMC Directors via Mr. Bultman. Discussion included: (Q=Question raised, R=Response from Commissioners/ZPA)

Q. Does the plan allow for change in the future, or does it primarily support preservation of the status quo? R. The plan focuses more on preserving the character of Barton Hills, based on the understanding of the Commission that most residents of the community are happy with current land uses and do not want to see significant change. This does not prohibit change, such as development in what is currently undeveloped space, but such change would require a greater level of review and community involvement.

Q. Why doesn’t the plan include the possibility that residents may want something new? It states that historically there has been no support for development of the North 40, for example, but past minutes indicate that proposed plans were supported and not built due to other factors (such as septic accommodations). R. There may be a misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the Master Plan. It does not address specific projects as such, but sets forth general land use patterns. The designations of single-family residential, recreation-commercial, and agricultural zoning areas reflect the presumed community support for mostly residential use, very limited commercial use and agricultural/natural areas that provide the rural ambiance that is highly valued by BHV residents. The plan, as it will be reflected in the zoning ordinance, doesn’t prohibit new projects and ideas but would require closer review and discussion, and may require rezoning of a particular area, before allowing changes that vary from established uses.

Q. Has the plan been circulated to the community for input? R. There will be opportunity for wider public comment in the near future. The Commissioners wanted to draft a document based on their research and discussion, then receive input from the leadership of the community and the professional planner before inviting comment from all the residents. If there is a strong response favoring concepts differing from those of the Commissioners, the plan can be changed before adoption. The Commission has a responsibility to consider all comments and to defend the positions it puts forth.

Q. Are the Commissioners aware that some of the information is factually incorrect? R. Factual errors, along with typographical errors, will certainly be corrected.

Q. Will the Commissioners consider a resolution unanimously adopted by eight of the nine BHMC Directors (the ninth being absent) and conveyed by their President, expressing concern that the Master Plan (version 3) has a tone of no changes in the next 25 years and should be more supportive of some kinds of change? As a major landowner in Barton Hills, BHMC is concerned that this plan will significantly limit options available to them for use of their property. R. The Commissioners welcome input from BHMC as representative of a viewpoint in the community. The plan supports no change in overall land use patterns, but lays the foundation for changes that will be reflected in building and environmental practices as specified in the zoning and other ordinances. The document is a guideline for the foreseeable future, not forever. It is intended to be a useful tool that will be reviewed at least every five years, and can be modified at any time.

Q. Isn’t a community’s Master Plan the first defense in confronting proposals that may be considered a challenge to the status quo? If it is too narrow in scope, it may be a roadblock to projects that are actually supported by the community. R. The Master Plan is intended to be defensible concerning land use. The Commissioners don’t see any support in recent years for development in areas that are now agricultural or natural. They see more support for green space preservation consistent with the efforts of Ann Arbor Township and Ann Arbor City. Stronger protection of natural features is emphasized based on the community’s expression of the high value placed on those natural features. Undeveloped areas are understood to be possible resources for future needs, but are preferred to be left undeveloped until such needs are identified by the community.

Q. What about possible changes in demographics or outside pressures that may affect the community. Modern planning favors a mix of young and old with varied land uses. The plan doesn’t address these possibilities. R. There are so many options involving other land uses within a few miles of Barton Hills. Residents don’t seem to favor duplicating those options with the resulting loss of the character of the village. A specific use shouldn’t be part of the Master Plan unless that is definitely the use that is intended for a particular area. Also, this document proposes cooperative support of the planning efforts and goals of surrounding jurisdictions. Barton Hills is seen as an appropriate transition from the urban character of Ann Arbor City to the rural nature of this part of Ann Arbor Township.

Following this discussion, it was the consensus of the Commissioners that the draft Master Plan rightly supports continuation of current land uses without significant change. Mr. Perry was asked to revise Version 3 to correct any factual and historical errors, and to make minor changes in wording as needed to reflect the discussion. He will then submit the draft to professional planner Richard Carlisle for review and work with Mr. Carlisle as needed on development of the maps that will be included in the document.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 PM (MacKrell/Boddie/Passed unanimously).

Janice K. Esch, Assistant Secretary     Approved 2/19/09