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September 05, 1985 - Image 36

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-05
Note:
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Page A2 8 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5, 1985

Task force to examine
housing zoning laws

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By SUSAN GRANT
The Ann Arbor Planning Commission
has established a task force to
examine the possibility of changing
city zoning laws pertaining to
sororities, fraternities, and other
group housing.
The committee, called the R2B
Planning Task Force, was established
after the Collegiate Sorosis Sorority
bought a house on Lincoln Avenue
earlier this year and wanted to add a
4,400-foot addition.
THE neighbors objected because
they felt that 40 more residents in the
neighborhood would increase the
neighborhood density and add to
parking problems. The house addition
meant the house could never revert to
a single-family home.
The neighbors also thought that the
sorority in the area violated city
zoning codes. When the city allowed
the sorority into the neighborhood, the
residents decided to sue the city and
the sorority.
Neighbors said that after the city's
zoning codes were rewritten last year,
no one told them that during the
revision, the zoning laws were slightly
changed.
IN 1984, a house had to have 5,000

square feet of existing floor space to
be expanded for group use. This is not
true with the new law.
"This is not the way the law is sup-
posed to work," said Morley Witus,
the neighborhood's attorney. "The
government must let people know
before it changes the zoning," he said.
The trial was scheduled for late
July.
THE TASK force was created to
avoid zoning conflicts in the future.
"The task force will look at the area
and give the residents, fraternities,
and sororities a chance to elaborate
on their concerns,'' said Martin
Overhiser, the planning department
director.
One concern which Overhiser has
heard from residents is that some
residents have purchased large
houses and want to protect their in-
vestments. They are afraid property
values will go down if group homes
move in.
A representative for the sorority
has said that in other areas where
there are fraternity or sorority
houses, property values have not
decreased.
DONNA Ricther, -a planning com-
mission member, said the task force

will provide an opportunity for people
to "get together and discuss potential
problems."
"We could discuss what the conver-
sion (of the sorority house) will mean
to the neighborhood. Would it really
mean affordable housing, or will it
take away affordable housing for
families?" she said.
The task force "will (also) showI
everyone that the neighbors are
generous and open-hearted people,"
Ricther added.

*

THE 13-member committee is com-
posed of members from the Ann Ar-
bor City Council, the Planning Com-
mission, the Inter-Fraternity Council,
the PanHellenic Association, the
Historic District Commission, the
North Burns Park Association, and -
others.
The committee will focus on the
area south of Hill Street and west of
Washtenaw Road, and advise the
planning department whether the
zoning in that area should be changed,
or the boundaries revised, Overhiser
said.
The planning department can then
advise the Planning Commission
based on the task force's findings.

Doily Photo
Drummer boy
The drums get the front row in this Michigan Marching Band skit. Catch them at every home football game in
the fall.

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Gallery
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