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September 04, 1986 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-04

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Page 8- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 4, 1986

Ann Arbor area enjoys

high growth,


. development is a "foregone con-
clusion. There are just too many ways
to make money in this town for it to

It is fairly common these days to
stroll down the streets of Ann Arbor
and see towering cranes piecing new
buildings together. Ann Arbor is ex-
periencing its highest rate of growth
since the 1960s.
Martin Overhiser, director of the
Ann Arbor City Planning Depar-
tment, said while Ann Arbor
remained stable in size throughout the
1970s, in the last three years...we star-
ted experiencing an explosion of
growth and of new development in the
One example of the explosion is the
drastically increasing number of
building requests that now come
through Overhiser's office. Any plan
to develop a site in Ann Arbor must be
reviewed by the planning department
to see if it meets zoning regulations.
The number of requests has almost
doubled in recent years.
The boom began around the Briar-
wood area in theearly 1980s with the
construction of office buildings.
Residential development around the
city followed and Overhiser said the
Planning Department is now starting
to see proposals for commercial
projects, such as shopping centers.
Most of the growth is in the outskirts
of the city or in the surrounding areas,
because the campus and downtown
regions are already developed.
Among the biggest projects are
proposed conference centers and
shopping centers. However, there are

projects underway near campus, such
as the Tally Hall shopping and
parking center on Liberty Street
which is nearing completion.
Development favored and opposed
The advantages to growth are
numerous. New developments
provide a larger tax base, more jobs,
bring money into the community,
more stores and services, and com-
petition. The advantages are so com-
pelling that, when asked about the
disadvantages, Rodney Benson,
President of Ann Arbor's Chamber of
Commerce, replied "I only see advan-
There are disadvantages, however,
as Overhiser acknowledges. Growth
brings traffic congestion, busier
grocery stores and parks, and
"development in the field next door
that you thought was going to be a
park," he said.
City Councilman Jeff Epton (D-
Third Ward) faulted city agencies for
not considering the problems that can
accompany growth. Epton said
development can threaten residential
areas through overflow parking and
new commuter and shopping traffic.
Development can also hurt existing
businesses, he said. For example, Ep-
ton opposed a conference center
proposed on the western edge of
downtown because construction
would disrupt traffic towards
businesses in the area.
While Epton feels the city should
regulate development to preserve the
city's atmosphere, he concedes that

Catalysts differ
The catalysts for this spurt are the
good economy and low interest rates,
according to Overhiser. Majort
development projects are often finan-
ced through loans, and lower interest
rates make the projects less costly.
Having the University in Ann Arbor
has also helped the boom, said Mike
Aginian of the Washtenaw Develop-
ment Council.
For example, he said, "businesses'
find it easier to recruit from the area'
because of the University's expert
staff and its students. The University'
also benefits, he said, because the
development draws professors who
want to take part in private research
and business.
Other incentives for businesses,
Aginian said, include the city's status
as a research center, its proximity to
the Detroit auto industry, and its
reputation as a nice place to live.
In addition, the international com-
munity that thrives in Ann Arbor is
also very attractive to foreign com-
panies, Aginian said. He said the
large number of foreigners makes
other foreigners feel more comfor-
table. "Would you want to move
someplace where no one spoke your
language?" Aginian asked. Business
from Japan, France, Australia, and
England have recently opened bran-
ches in Ann Arbor.


left on the parker's time

The digital face of one of the city's new electronic parking meters reads 39 minutes
limit. The new meters are the first of their kind.

Students fin d A arking

spots rare, tickets aplenty Campus ba

LSA senior Melissa Biedrach could
have ascaron campus if she wanted
one. She doesn't. "It's too much of a
pain. Parking (in the city) is
atrocious. There just aren't enough
spaces," she says.
Perhaps the worst parking night-
mare for Ann Arbor drivers is down-
town. Many Ann Arbor-ites find that
because it's so difficult to find parking
spaces in the city's main business
district, it's easier to take the bus or
even take their business elsewhere.
"I'd rather go shopping in Briar-
Wood," said Eddie Ridha, a recent
Pioneer High School graduate. "Or
just ride a bike to save myself the
trouble of parking."
University parking limited
For faculty and staff at the Univer-
sity, parking around campus is make
easier by eight University-owned
parking structures that are off-limits to
students. The University does provide
metered lots for the general public
and about 400 storage spaces for
students who drive only on holidays or
But University officials
acknowledge that there aren't enough
parking spots for students to go
around, but the main reason why the
University doesn't supply parking for
everyone is simple - there's not
enough room.
"I wish we had available space for
every student who wants a car, but
there just isn't enough room," said
Robert Wagner, the University's
ranager of parking operations.
"There just isn't enough green
grass," he said.
City Councilmember Doris Preston
(D-Fifth Ward) said dealing with the
lack of parking in the city takes a
high priority for councilmembers. She

I wish we had available space for every
student who wants a car, but there just
isn't enough room.'
-Robert Wagner,
University parking
operations manager

suggested more parking and
educating drivers about available
"For the most part you can find
space," Preston said. "The
(parking) structure on Church Street
always has lots of empty spaces."
Preston did not take her own ad-
vice, however, and was ticketed for
parking illegally once this summer.
"I couldn't find a space," she ex-
Police like ticketing
Duncan Currie, a University
graduate and Ann Arbor resident,
parked illegally in front of Angell Hall
after he couldn't find a space. Currie
said he is sure the city police want to
ticket. "It's like a contest between
students and the city," he said.
"They'll watch you do something
illegal, just so they can ticket and
make some money."
Many drivers criticise the
ticketing system and city coun-
cilmembers have recommended
changes, some of which were im-
plemented this summer. For exam-
ple, Preston said, police officers will
not concentrate on expired meters -
pouncing as soon as the red flag goes
up - but rather on cars parked over
the time limit. Some parkers surpass
the two hour limit by "feeding the
meters" all day.

Other new policies include:
New electroniciparking meters, the
first in the nation.
An increase in parking rates from
25 cents to 30 cents per hour hour as of
last July 1. Pru Rosenthal, an Ann Ar-
bor resident, pointed out that parking
in the city is cheap compared to other
Parking violation tickets paid
within two hours will be $1 fine instead
of $3.

"Dad, can I have $10?" just doesn't;
work as well from 400 miles away. If
you get lucky and Dad says yes,
you're going to have to deal with a
bank. And students and banks don't
always get along.
Students often approach banks
ignorant of how they work and with
unreal expectations of service. Banks,
on the other hand, may regard
student accounts as unprofitable. And
then there are the lines.
For many students, the first en-
counter with a campus bank takes
place in the first few days of a
semester. Local bankers describe this
period as "fall rush". During this
time, a First of America bank official
said, "It's jam-packed." The situation
"requires a lot of patience", accor-
ding to Bill Colburn, acting ,assistant.
manager at First of America at South
University and East University.
"You get people unfamiliar with
banks. They don't know what they

tnks frustre
need to do," Colburn said.
Colburn described students who
come in hoping to instantly cash a
check from New Jersey. "You cannot
do that," he said. Students also "have
a tendency not to balance their ac-
counts," he said.
Despite the problems, Colburn said
"we want the student accounts." He
added that there's a lot of competition
in Ann Arbor for the students' banking
business. First of America brings in
extra staff for fall rush and tries to
employ tellers who speak foreign
languages. They also try to be sym-
pathetic, said Colburn.
In order to avoid the trauma of fall
rush, Colburn suggested that students
open an account by mail or come
early or late.
Students critique banks
When Patrick Voetberg, an LSA
junior, first opened an account at Fir-
st of America, he came to town early
to avoid the rush. Voetberg chose Fir-
st of AMerica over banks such as.

Comerica and Michigan National
because of its convenient locations
and its money machines. Voetberg
said, however, "I don't like this
Voetberg feels that campus banks
don't trust customers as much bs
banks in his hometown of Troy,
Michigan. For example, he cited dif-
ficulty in cashing checks. Voetberg,
who has a savings account, is also un-
satisfied with First of America's limit
on withdrawals. "If you want to go to
a bar, you have to plan a week in ad-
vance," he said.
LSA junior Susan Fleming also
chose her bank for its convenient
location. She chose Comerica which is
located on the corner of North Univer-
sity and Thayer streets near the Diag.
Fleming was apathetic when
choosingher bank, saying "banks are
banks." But she criticised Comerica's
minimum $200 balance, a relatively
high figure for a student's income.


Homeless residents struggle for respect

(Continued from Page 3)
bors of the proposed facility.
Earlier this summer, city police
said that crime rates are dispropor-
tionally high among the homeless
population. The crimes comitted,
usually larceny or theft, are, "related
to the situatioin of being homeless,"
according to Kathy Zick, director of
the Ann Arbor Shelter for the
Though Zick and other officials at-
tribute fears about the homeless to
what they see as society's lack of un-
derstanding for the plight of the
homeless, neighborhood opposition to
the shelters persists today.
Shelter proponents say this op-
position explains why the City Council
took more than two years to address
what many consider the root cause of
the homeless crisis - a severe lack of
low-cost housing.

The causes
Earlier this summer, the council set
aside $200,000 for affordable housing,
but the money is not earmarked for a
particular sight and may not be until
at least next summer. The council
became aware of the problem back in
April of 1985 when a report by its Af-
fordable Housing Task Force iden-
tified, "a severe need for more
housing affordable to low and
moderate-income people in Ann Ar-
The report blamed "drastic cut-
backs in federal support for housing
development," and urged city gover-
nments to take the initiative in
fighting the housing crisis.
The city seems to have deepened
the crisis by tearing down several
low-income housing structures, in-
cluding the Downtown Club, an inex-
pensive hotel with 68 rooms. The hotel

was converted into office space by a
group of investors headed by former
Ann Arbor Mayor Louis Belcher.
The national housing crunch has
also worsened, as many cities have
been tearing down old hotels and
"flophouses" in an attempt to restore
the quality of their neighborhoods.
According to a report in Newsweek
magazine, "median rent increased
twice as fast as income in the 1970s
and low -income construction came to.
a virtual standstill."
Destroying this minimal standard
of living forced many low-income
residents onto the streets, where they
were joined by thousands of former
mental health patients.
Mental patients released
Since the mid-1950s, mental
hospitals have been releasing patients
who do not pose a "clear threat" to
themselves or others. ° Democrats
initially supported this policy for its
civil rights merits and Republicans
for is cost-cutting benefits.
But promised follow-up treatment
for those patients has not
materialized, according to national
experts, resulting in thousands of
legally sane but actually delusional
people wandering the streets. Locally,
the release of patients from Ypsilanti
state mental hospital has increased
the homeless population.

The Reagan Administration has
also expanded the numbers of
homeless by tightening the review
process for welfare and food stamp
benefits. Jackie Edens, a
spokeswomen for the Chicago Depar-
tment of Human Services, told the
Associated Press that today, "the
term 'new poor' is not a figment of
someone's imagination."
Shelter abuse
Nonetheless, the administration's
contention that the poor abuse
shelters and other social services may
have some merity, based on inter
views at the Huron St. shelter. °
One man, who would not give his
name, said he lived in the shelter for
eight months - with an outside jti
and money for a cheap apartment |
because he was too lazy to look for
private housing.
"I wanted to live in the fast lane,"
he said. "You name it, I spent money
on it; money on movies, records;
taking ladies out to dinner."
Eventually, he said, he decided "it
was time to get going and find a place
to live. Today, he has a job and hi
own apartment, and often returns
the shelter to "hang out with th


to Afkt',4o(,


aid iZ 24



You'll recognize the Plaza, but maybe not all of
the exciting new merchandise from these shops:

Large selection of plants,
bouquets, and cut flowers.
2745 Plymouth Road!
2135 W. Stadium Blvd.
115 W. Michigan


Ashbury & York
Fine English Toiletries



Co-ops offer an alternative

* I
. ,,a





The alternative card shop
Rainbow Natural
Natural cosmetics & skin care
Fine Italian knit wear
Made in A merica
Proud/ crafted in the U.S.
For .your contemporar lifest tle



w opw

(Continued from Page 4)
on maintenance and home- im-
provements such as a new slate floor-
installed recently in one of the rooms.
Minniex's, a big purple house on
State Street, was known for a while as
the drug house because of its unusual
S * * ' Ia

Co-ops on North Campus have manj
foreign residents who study at the
Engineering College.
University co-ops
In addition to the ICC co-ops, there
are six University-owned co-ops it
which members share the day-to-day
maintenance of the house but have n4
autonomy in setting rent rates or
making modifications in the physical
structure of their houses.
Five of the University-owneJ
houses are in the Oxford Housing




Plaza Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

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