“People are more interested in how design incorporates a car-oriented society, and how it evolves and changes,” LaBare told Michigan Bridge.

However, while many areas in the U.S. are changing the scope of functioning of cities with fewer cars, this remains a transition period, he added.

At first, at least, “I guess any new building should bring an increase in traffic and manage it, as in any other part of the city,” LaBarre said.

Can it work?

Among the proponents of “exploration” are many of the affected property owners, including MAV Development, and people who say it will achieve the goal of adding public transportation and housing options.

Skeptics argue that the change will increase the value of the affected property without giving the city specific benefits, namely additional affordable housing units.

The cost of land is already an obstacle to the development of Ann Arbor, Boner said. This is unlikely to change around a commercial center like Briarwood.

“Obviously, zoning is important, but also the ability to negotiate and acquire plots wisely is important. And in general, real estate in Ann Arbor is not at a reasonable (price) anywhere in the city, “- said Boner.

This may not change around the southern state if new zoning is approved. Allowing higher density usually increases property value, Harshe said. By building more, the developer can sell or rent more. This sparked a debate in the city council as to whether the new rules enrich this group of landowners over others in the city.

In addition, the lack of necessary parking could change the funding of new construction, Kop said. This, in turn, can affect the number of living spaces – and their final price, both for sale and rent.

Navigating through development options may leave little room for affordable housing, even if the city still recognizes the need for it. In 2015, nearly 3,000 new facilities are planned for low-income residents; by 2021, when the city approved housing, it did not yet meet this pace of construction.

And then The housing market of Ann Arbor is becoming less accessible. Average sales prices for single-family homes rose three years in a row, reaching $ 336,150 in January. The number of available homes has halved earlier this year, indicating a further increase as competition for the purchase heats up.

Rents are also rising as new construction targets student and elite markets. The average apartment in the city now costs $ 1,749 a month, according to Rentcafewhile only 7 percent of the rent costs no more than $ 1,000 a month.

Shifting the attention of developers from the very high prices for land in the city center to the area of ​​Briarwood “does not mean that new options for affordable housing are waiting in their wings,” – said Boner. “You still need to consider the high cost of construction, and in order to maintain that cost, you need a higher rent.

“The only way affordable housing will really be the option is if the city specifically gives this requirement and is also willing to support it financially,” Boner said. “Otherwise, 226 acres of renovated property around the mall will also become elite luxury housing.”

The city council will discuss the proposal on March 7, with a vote likely to take place before the end of the month. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

While this proposal could change part of Ann Arbor, there are implications for the rest of the state if there is a significant increase in housing units, said Ulstad of Greenwork. Other areas may be watching Ann Arbor to see if this happens.

According to her, zoning laws can ensure that housing will remain unaffordable for the majority of the population if they provide for the creation of single-family homes. This will not work for communities that attract new businesses looking for work.

Allowing taller buildings and introducing mandatory mixed-use could provide opportunities for growth in areas such as Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Ottawa County on the shores of Lake Michigan.

“It’s about maintaining Michigan’s competitiveness,” Ulstad said. “If you want to grow and attract people, you just need to allow new types of housing.”

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