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May 20, 1984 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1984-05-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Small crowd
doesn't hurt
auction spirit

By MICHAEL BEAUDOIN
University President Harold Shapiro's
tie didn't draw a big crowd, but
organizers of yesterday's second annual
Celebrity Auction at the Track and
Tennis Building said it was a success.
The audience of 25 was smaller than
expected because "publicity did not
come through in some cases," said
Marcia MacMullan, president of the
Washtenaw Council for Children at
Risk.
THE COUNCIL received the profits
from the auction, which was sponsored
by the University's athletic depar-
tment.
"The Council consists of at least 36
organizations that provide services to
children and youth," said MacMullan.
It was formed in 1975- to consolidate
many organizations' efforts against,
cnila abuse and neglect.
Even with the small turnout, the
spirit of the auction wasn't lacking as
several items drew vigorous bidding.
One young man explained, "I just had
to have it," after buying a one-of-a-kind
Houston Cougars Phi Slama Jama hat.

A VARIETY of items were donated,
ranging from Shapiro's "M" tie, which
sold for $10, to a hockey stick
autographed by the 1984 Detroit Red
Wings. Several volumes of original
stock 78 rpm records featuring Count
Basie and Duke Ellington drew special
attention from the audience.
Even though the size of the crowd was
smaller than the organizers would have
liked, every item up for auction was
sold.
Univesity Regent Emeritus Gertrude
Huebner offered to step into Ypsilanti
for a price - and even that sold in the
auction.
University law prof. Beverly Pooly
and Manchester Police Chief William
Zsenyuk served as the primary auc-
tioneers.
Neil Staebler, former congressman
and co-author of How to Argue with a
Conservative, personally auctioned off
his own Harold Shapiro tie that he had
purchased years ago.
MacMullan said the next year's
auction will receive more long-range
publicity and hopefully will draw a
bigger crowd.

DOUG McMAHON/Daily
Two bargain seekers listen as items are auctioned off in the Track and
Tennis Building yesterday.

Housing-commercial development conflict escalates

(Continued from Page i)
the public eye and avoid the necessary
City Council approval of the zoning
variances for the plan.
Kerson acknowledged that it will be
difficult to rezone the area with a
Republican majority on Council, but
said he will continue to fight downtown
commercial expansion unless it is tied
to low- or moderate-income housing in
the same area.
COUNCILMAN Lowell Peterson (D-
First Ward) is studying the possibility
of requiring developers to include
housing in any new construction, a
proposal that will surely face opposition
from Republicans and developers.
Ann Arbor presently is facing its
largest flurry of development in many
years. Although Tally Hall, a com-
bination retail space/parking struc-
ture, is the only visible construction
site, there are several others in the
works.
The Downtown Club, located at 110 N.
Fourth Ave., will soon be renovated into
high-rent office space. Several mem-
bers of Council formed an ad-.
hoc committee to save the former
rooming house for single-room oc-
cupancies, but they eventually con-
ceded that the building had been
neglected for so long that restoring.it to
its former state would be economically
impossible.
AN INTERESTING twist to the con-
flict was the fact that Mayor Louis
Belcher was part-owner of the proper-
ty, and Peterson and Councilman Larry
Hunter (D-First Ward) hinted that
Belcher may have had a conflict of in-
terest when he approved a site plan for
the building 18 months before he pur-
chased it.
* Belcher responded by saying he
hadn't known that he would be pur-
chasing the property when he approved
the site plan, and City Attorney R.

'There's a lot of rhetoric about housing
downtown, but not much is done about it.'
- Doris Preston
Fifth Ward Councilwoman

Bruce Laidlaw sided with Belcher.
Peterson and Hunter wanted to trip
up Belcher's plans to turn the building
into office space because they wanted
to see the building converted to low-
income housing, but they recently gave
up that struggle.
ANOTHER controversy has been
brewing over a house at 415 N. Fourth
Ave., owned by developer Carl Brauer.
The city had planned to lease the house
for use as a homeless shelter a few
months ago, but the deal fell through
when a church near the site objected to
the plan.
Recently, Brauer announced plans to
turn the back yard of the house into a
parking lot to make the house more
suitable for commercial use. But the
plan faces opposition from the same
group which opposed the Braun Court
conversion, the Downtown Neighbors'
Association.
The group supports a proposal by
Peterson to rezone the entire block as
strictly residential - a proposal that
faces stiff opposition. Republicans hold
a six to five Council majority and it isn't
,)erir whether allt h Democrats will
support the rezoning.
COUNCILWOMAN Doris Preston (D-
Fifth Ward) supports the push for low-
Incorne hosing 'f-o, but she
acknowledged that developers who
bought property expecting to use it
commercially may sue the city to
collect damages if the zoning is

changed. ,
"You cannot just pull zoning out from
under (developers)," said city planning
commissioner Martin Overhiser.
Brauer said he supports the need for
housing downtown, but said "you could
not justify renting this at residential
rates."
NEARLY ALL interested parties say
that housing is vital to the downtown
because it makes the area safer and
supports business at night. The con-
troversy arises over what type of
housing should be supported and what
role the city should play in downtown
development.
The issue is split largely across par-
tisan lines. Republicans traditionally
support more of a laissez-faire program
that the Democrats, and Preston, the
only Democrat on the planning com-
mission, said "they essentially don't
believe in zoning."
"There's a lot of rhetoric about
housing downtown, but not much is
done about it," Preston said.
Preston said that the Downtown
Development Authority, an advisory
commission for Council, should
"develop the low-cost housing in those
transitional areas."
JOHN SWISHER, chairman of the
DDA, said "I think there's a demand
for all kinds of housing: the question is
money." He said he sympathizes with
Braun Court's residents, but "maybe
Braun Court has outlived its use as a

residence ... it's not very attractive."
Developer Peter Allen said he
foresees more housing downtown, but it
will be geared towards "the high-
income yuppie market." Allen said that
low-income people "are being priced
out of the market to a certain extent."
Several other buildings are also being
contemplated, partly due to the present
low interest rates. Swisher said the
projects that are being talked about are
not new projects, they simply are star-
ting now because the economy is
recovering.
MAYOR BELCHER and his partners
are planning to tear down the Sun
Bakery at Fifth and Liberty to put up
a new office building. Another
developer is planning.an office building
near City Hall. A third is pushing for a
convention center on the corner of Fifth
and Huron. These projects represent
the first significant developments in
about fifteen years.
In essence, the controversy is a
philosophical one. Most Republicans
feel that government should set the tone
for development but should basically
let the market determine what sort of
development is needed. Most
Democrats feel that the city should be
far more involved in planning than
it currently is.
For example, some Democrats point
out that there is a glut of office space
downtown, but there are still plans to
build more office buildings. They add
that some developers don't care if their
buildings remain vacant because they
receive benefits through tax write-offs.
But the Republicans say that the
market will determine when there is too
much office space, and Council should
not interfere.
The controversy is not likely to be
resolved soon. As Councilman Gerald
Jernigan (R-Fourth Ward) said, "I
think the problem has been there for a
long time; it's just coming to fruition
right now."

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