History‎ > ‎2. Second Plan (2008)‎ > ‎


As the second plan proceeded through the approval process, we tried to keep our neighbors up to date. The follow are some of the updates posted on the group's web page during that time.

July 8, 2008 Update:  The developer sent an invitation for another neighborhood meeting. As you may recall, they accidentally forgot to tell us about the last meeting they scheduled until the Church sent an email notice at 11:00 am the day before the meeting. Here is the text of the current invitation:

July 8, 2008

42 North Community Meeting Invitation

Dear Resident of Ann Arbor:   

You are cordially invited to our forth community meeting to be held at Grace Bible Church on the evening of July 16th, 2008, at 6:00pm.  At the meeting, Wood Partners will go over the current development plans and will also be available to answer any questions you might have regarding our 42 North project.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with the Ann Arbor community toward providing a community of distinction for our future residents.  For information about Wood Partners I encourage you to visit our website at woodpartners.com.

We have included a summary development impact analysis for your review.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Meeting Location:
Grace Bible Church
1300 South Maple Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

July 9, 2008 Update:   The developer contacted us to challenge the accuracy of our July 8 Update. The email said:
"To South Maple Group.
In your blog you have stated that the developer forgot to invite your group to the meeting this is simply NOT true. There have been members of your group in attendance in every meeting we have had regarding 42 North with exception to the very first one; GBC notified your group 24 to 48 hours prior to the June meeting. John Eaton among others were at the meeting and complained about the short notice. We have scheduled another meeting for July 16 and have ask that you submit a list of questions so that we may have the appropriate consultants at this meeting. For more accurate information about 42 North please visit http://groups.google.com/group/south-maple-42-north-apartments. Tim Anderson"
        [sorry, I can't get the link to the 42 North page to work - cut and paste the address into your browser]
We changed the text of the July 8 Update to indicate that we did finally receive an email from the Church (not the developer) the day before the meeting. That email said they were not sure whether the invitation had been sent to the President of FoDW. We took that to mean they had forgotten until the day before the meeting. We are not sure why this matters to them, but offer this update to let you know we had received this protest from the developer. As to whether their google group page is more accurate, we'll let you decide.

July 12, 2008 Update:   The City Clerk sent official notice of the City Council public hearing for the 42 North site plan, development agreement and wetland use permit. As previously indicated, the hearing is scheduled for Monday July 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm in the Council chambers on the second floor of the City Hall (100 North Fifth Ave). We had heard that the plan might not come to the Council during July, but that has proven to be wrong. What to do: We ask that you write to Council members and respectfully express your concerns about the site plan and wetland mitigation permit. All Council Members and the Mayor also receive written correspondence at: City of Ann Arbor, Attn: City Council, P.O. Box 8647, Ann Arbor, MI 48107. More information about the members and contacting them can be found on the Council's web site: 


Please write to the Council and plan to attend the July 21 public hearing. This is our final opportunity to stop this project. 

July 16, 2008 Update:  Don't forget the developer and land owner are having a meeting with the neighborhood tonight, Monday July 16 at 6:00 pm. The meeting is at the Grace Bible Church on South Maple Road. The invitation is quoted above in the July 8, 2008  Update.

July 21, 2008:  The City Council started the Public Hearing on 42 North, Monday July 21 as previously announced. The hearing will be continued on August 18, (not August 7 as believed) to accommodate the many neighbors who would be unable to attend the July 21 Council meeting. Please note that anyone who spoke on July 21, will not be able to speak again on August 18. That is because the hearing will be "continued" rather than "tabled".

During the July 21 Council Meeting, the Grace Bible Church site plan was up for approval. Council Member Rapundalo noted that the Church site plan addressed the wetland mitigation and water detention pond for 42 North and suggested delaying the vote on that matter as well. The Council voted in favor of his suggestion. That will be on the August 18 agenda, too.

July 29, 2008:  As previously noted the developer has a Google Groups web page, too. A recent posting on that page tells us that we would be better off if only the City had allowed the condominium project to be build on the Dicken Woods site. Additionally, the developer's site promises to respond to the South Maple Group letter to the City Council (posted below) "to separate fact from fiction".

Their site: http://groups.google.com/group/south-maple-42-north-apartments

July 30, 2008:  We asked the developer for a copy of the lease they use when renting to students. We haven't received a copy, yet. Our concern about the lease arises from the stories we hear from the apartmentratings.com web site. Here are two such stories a SMG member found recently:

"I haven't lived at 88 West because I had questions that remained unanswered by the staff. I was told verbally that I could reject a roommate and also shorten the lease - contrary to what the actual lease stated. When I left messages to have these discrepancies answered, I received no phone call or email. Very unhappy that the person representing the apartments was not honest."

"From: Anonymous
Date: 03/27/2008
To the person above me: I actually worked in the leasing office & they train us to leave questions open ended and we were told that we could agree to anything as long as it got the person to sign the lease because it is suppose to be YOUR responsibility to read it before you sign it...I quit. I could not work in a facility like that. Not to mention that you CANNOT REJECT A ROOMMATE!!! Every square inch of the land is covered in dog poop because no one picks it up. Club house has been treated poorly and so it looks so trashy compared to the picture. There is only one tanning bed that is broken all the time and always booked, computer lab has the worst computers--worse than computers at a public library or something--they never work and the printers never have paper or ink. There was a race war around New years eve; sending kids to the hospital, multiple times there has been stabbings, gun-point robberies...it's absolutely terrible."

The number of complaints like this makes us wonder if the reports are true. If they are not true, why hasn't the landlord sued the people who posted the messages for libel? Clearly, if a record company can find out who is anonymously sharing copyrighted music online, then a landlord can sue to find out who is posting these harsh remarks.

August 5, 2008 Update:  The developer sent an email apparently in response to the July 30 update. Rather than trying to characterize what he said, we will just reprint it:

"With regard to theapartment ratings postings on the your blog we can say with certainty that these allegations are false. Considering you are in constant communication with Champaign PD I'm sure you know these statements are false as well.
"88 West has had over 1000 residents since we opened and the apartments ratings site has 10 negative reviews which is less than 1% of the overall population. During this time we have replaced various management staff, maintenance staff and leasing staff due to lack or performance. We have evicted people due to non payment of rents. Anyone of these people could have posted these blogs including competing property managers or even groups that want to use these postings to slander the developer for their on purposes.
"We do take these allegations seriously and we internally investigate the accuracy of each one of these post. As far as suing apartments ratings for slander; there is not much we can do with these blogs other than place a response to the allegations. If it was illegal to make misrepresentations on a blog then several of the statements made in your blog would have to be removed as well. Are you willing to remove your false postings"

The complaints we reproduced from apartmentratings.com have nothing to do with the police, so even if we had "constant communication" with the police, they wouldn't know about the communication between 88 West and its potential residents. Moreover, we don't claim that this is fact, we are merely reprinting complaints posted to that site. The complaints we have seen about the lease caused us enough concern that we asked for a copy of the lease used at the developer's other student projects. The developer still has not provided a copy of the lease it uses in renting to students at its other properties.

The attachments to the SMG letter to the City Council include a report itemizing the calls from 88 West to the police over a 3 month period. Feel free to look at the number and kinds of complaints the residents made to the police. Based on what we have heard about the deveolper's othe student projects, we are concerned about its ability to control crime in the 42 North project. We think our concerns are justified. 

August 6, 2008:  I encourage you to visit the developer’s page and read the silly things they have posted.


In essence, the developer is blaming one of our members, individually, for misleading us all and preventing all of the good things that will come from having a 480-student housing project built in our neighborhood. Rather than offer a cogent response to the concerns expressed by the neighborhood, the developer tries to make this personal. We decline that invitation.

From the beginning, this developer has tried to avoid the legitimate concerns of the neighborhood. Initially, Council Member Marcia Higgins suggested to the developer that they meet with the Dicken Woods group (a member of the SMG coalition) to discussed the proposed plan. The developer ignored that suggestion and proceeded with its plan. When the Planning Commission asked the developer to meet with the neighbors, the developer finally relented. When faced with the neighbors’ frustration over being excluded from the process, the developer complained about our conduct. You can read their complaint and the response by clicking here.

When the City Council rejected the developer’s planned project plan in January of this year, the Mayor suggested that the developer work with the neighborhood before proposing a new plan. The developer maintained contact with the neighborhood and even discussed the possibility of using the property for a senior housing project. Suddenly during those communications, the developer announced that it had finished a revised plan for student housing. That second plan was submitted without discussion with the neighborhood about the plan's content.

Now, as that second plan is being considered by the Council, the developer complains that the neighborhood has delayed its project at great cost to the land owner and others. Whatever delay the developer has suffered since it initiated the City’s planning process is not the fault of the neighborhood, but instead is the result of the developer’s attempts to avoid working with the neighbors. Complaining about the neighbors will not resolve the serious problems caused by trying to overbuild this property.

August 7, 2008:  After we posted the August 6 update, below, we received an email from the developer. The email is pretty long so we won't reproduce it here, but it is posted on their web page:  http://groups.google.com/group/south-maple-42-north-apartments
We sent this reply:

"It appears that your email is meant to respond to the August 6 update posted on the South Maple Group web page. We believe that you misunderstand the point of that update. The single purpose of our update was to express the opinion that the many complaints expressed on the 42 North web page about delay and the impact of delay are the direct consequence of Wood Partner's own conduct.

"We understand that you disagree about who is at fault for the delay, but that disagreement does not justify the personal attacks posted on the 42 North web page. Thankfully, much of that has been removed since our August 6 update. We have consistently avoided using the names of people who spoke on behalf of the developer, its consultants and the land owner. We did this purposely to avoid making this personal.

South Maple Group
A Coalition of Neighbors"
As mentioned in our response, they have removed much of the personal attack they leveled against our spokesperson. The developer's page as it existed when we posted the August 6 update is available in this pdf file. We hope they won't resort to that kind of conduct again.

As a side note, the developer still has not provided a copy of the lease it uses in its other student housing projects. During the July 16 meeting at the Church, the developer promised to send a copy of the lease to us. We will keep you updated on this.

September 8, 2008:  I am sorry to report that the City Council voted 7 to 4 to approve the 42 North housing project. Based on the advice of the City Attorney, the majority of Council found that the project complied with all applicable laws, ordinances and standards; limited the disturbances of natural features to the minimum necessary to allow reasonable use of the land; would not have cause a public or private nuisance and would not have a detrimental effect on the public health, safety or welfare. (yeah, I know).

The owner of a neighboring development has announced his intention to sue the City to stop the development. We will post an update when we learn more about that legal action. We would like to be able to offer financial support of that legal effort. Please email us if you are willing to make a donation of any size toward the cost of that litigation.

September 12, 2008:  Of course we haven't given up! As mentioned below, the owner of a nearby apartment complex is planning to sue the City to stop the 42 North Project. If you would like to make a contribution to that litigation please send an email stating how much you are willing to contribute. When his attorney has set up an escrow account, we will contact you with the information on how to make out your check. Thanks to all of you who have already made a commitment, we are a little behind on sending out our thank yous. 

South Maple Group,
Feb 12, 2013, 1:27 PM