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Bird Hills Site Plan Advances

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Citv planners Tuesday mght votea approval of the second and final phase of a site plan for development of the 60-acre Bird Hills Park area. The approval carne on a 5-to-2 vote üespite protests from two commissioners that the expensive housing that would go there is not needed, and that the land should be left in its natural condition The development of Bird Hills Park sparked controversy on both the commission and City Council level last year „hen a public fund r a i s i n g drive attempted to gather enough money to encourage City Council to buy the land and retain it for Dark use. Desnite the fact pledges for $90,000 were gathered, council decided the land was not a high priority park area and deveopment of it by Property Development Group was approved. . The opposition to the phase two site plan Tuesday night came from planners Gerald De Grieck and Ethel Lewis. De Grieck told nis fellow commissioners he could not support the plan because "the housing we need in Ann Arbor is not in the $45,000 to $56,000 range," which is the estimated price of the homes to be built there. Mrs. Lewis indicated her objection to the site plan was of a more general nature, saying "I'd like to see more discussion' of whether or not all land should be developed. We seem to be operating under the assumption that every piece of land must be either developed or used as a park." While admitting the developer is doing a great deal of landscaping, she addedl "It seems there will be small áreas of preserved woodland when I thought most of it would be like that." When the construct.ion is completed that subdivisión will consist of "beautiful, expensive homes on a simulated landscape npt at all like it was before," she said. Mrs. Lewis also rejected the concept that the construction of expensive homes will benefit the medium income housing bracket "by a "trickle down" effect. Under this concept persons living in medium priced housing move up to available higher priced homes, thus increasing the I number and selection of medium cost I houses. But Mrs. Lewis maintained that in Ann I Arbor there seems to be a "trickle up" I effect. She said neighborhoods which I usually become available to poor perI sons as more expensive housing develops I seem to be increasing in value. The Bird Hills Park site plan was I praised by planner Eunice Burns, who I said, "This is one of the better site plans I we've ever had before us." She also noted that federal agencies have praised the developers' efforts at controlling sediment and preventing erosión. A report to the commission from Planning Director Michael R. Prochaska showed that 10 local agencies and city departments had been asked to review portions of the proposed development, and only two had expressed concerns. The city Utilities Department questioned the fire hydrant coverage, and the Building and Safety Department said it would study the timing schedule for duration of soil exposure when a grading permit is sought by the developer. " The plan the commission approved calis for 176 units, with from one to four bedrooms, with a density of 3.5 units per 3.CT6 In other business, the Planning Commission voted denial of a site plan for the development of a shopping center, the Packard Platt Plaza, at the northwest intersection of Packard and Platt Roads.