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City OKs Federal Building Plans; Suit Possible

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City OKs Federal Building Plans; Suit Possible

City Government Reporter

The plans for Ann Arbor's federal of-
fice building, for better or worse, have
the endorsement of City Council.

Th" final rwo steps through City Hall
lor approval of the four-story, $4 million
facility were cleared Monday night when
council accepted a site plan for the
building and agreed to vacate an alley to
make way for it.

The okays came after very little coun-
cil debate, but only after citizens oppos-
ing and supporting it had their final say,
at least outside of court, at public hear-
^^ngs on both actions.

'.'•'"nAY^AK i

The possibility that something might
be added in court was mentioned by
Richard Ahearn, a local architect who
has been one of the (oremost critics of
the building.

Ahearn urged council to defeat both
measures and attempt to negotiate with
the government for a better building
plan. "With a building with this much
opposition against it, can you image it'll
be left like it is without going to court?"
he asked.

Ahearn hinted tra' " ' —"il challenge to
the project might S on an envi-
ron? "' impact study the govern-
ment >i,i.ral Sei?vices Administration

ted. He claimed that study is
i.i<^ of of an attempt to justify the
building, than an objective look at its im-

He said in several instances the gov-
ernmer '^' ' '; ..-cessfully chal-
lenged .. iUate impact stu-

The most prevalent argument against
the facility has been plans for a surface
level parking lot to replace the Masonic
Temple. But even with adjustments in
the parking design, "This is a 'building
of bad design," Ahearn stated.

Ri'sif1, i '1'; ?" 'rking spaces planned
fc. ..i ... ... _rn noted that local

postal officials are now looking fo' '
town space to store another 30 veh
further proliferation of ground level
parking which wasn't included in the site
plan, he said.

'•^'""^'•t for the building- came from
1 ^el of the local AFL-CIO, who
said Uie construction activity would help
with the 20 per cent unemployment rate
in the construction industry.

The site plan was approved on a 6 to 4
vote, with Democratic and Human
Rights fnnncil members opposing, al-
th.Hi,1 fated their reasons. ;

The iitua'i significant vote, however,
wa|s the alley vacation, because it re-


quired eight votes for passage. It was
okayed by a 9 to 1 margin, with only
HRP Councilwoman Kathleen Kozachen-
ko opposing.

Even if cr, i voted to deny both
measures tli.- <-;- ernment could still
have constructed the building because it
is not required to follow Ann Arbor's
building'review process. However, rejec-
tion of the alley vacation request could
have delayed construction because com-
demnation proceedings by th •;n-
ment to acquire the alley w .(•
been necessary.

No timetable for construction has been
announced yet, but demolition of the ex-



sisting buildings is expected to get under •
way this spring, m

The new building will allow the gov-
ernment to consolidate its various scat-
tered offices located throughout Ann Ar-
bor, with one of the major functions be-
ing a new Post Office headquarters.

The building will be located in the^
block bounded by Liberty Street and
Fourth and fifth Avenues, f

(Other City Council stories
appear on pages 1, 2, 14 and

32.) -