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About SMG

Who We Are

The South Maple Group is a coalition of groups and citizens who came together to oppose a proposed development to be situated at 1430 South Maple Road in Ann Arbor Michigan. That project failed during the real estate collapse of 2008. We maintain an interest in the future of that property because it is the starting point for three watersheds and our neighborhoods are all down hill from the property.

Our coalition consists of neighborhood groups and individuals, including residents of the Dicken neighborhood, Mushroom Park neighborhood,
members of the Allen Creek Watershed Group, and residents of Walden Hills I and Walden Hills II condominiums, Walden Village condominiums, Morningside condominiums, Surrey Park apartments and many others throughout the City. Significantly, our coalition includes most of the residents who live closest to the proposed project.

In March 2012, the South Maple Group registered as a neighborhood association with the Planning Department and is now listed on the City's list of Residential Associations.

Why We Formed

Originally, we opposed a proposed planned project that was intended to house 640 students in five buildings with an accompanying club house. That project would require removal of almost every tree from the property, displacement of 11 of 12 existing natural wetlands and a fifty percent increase in water flow into Allen's Creek. The plan called for 640 parking spaces - one for each tenant, but no extra parking. The coalition of groups opposed the planned project because it was too extreme for the 15 acre site. 

For a short history of that planned project and our opposition, click here.

After the City Council rejected the planned project, the developer submitted a second student housing plan plan. On March 6, a Planning Department staff member told us that the developer had submitted a new plan on March 5. The new plan called for 480 bedroom/bathroom suites with shared living areas among 4 unit apartments. The new plan included 492 parking spaces and a building layout much like the first plan, but with shorter buildings. The second plan did little to address the surface water drainage issues we raised throughout the processing of the first plan. 

That second plan eventually received Council approval. Both Fourth Ward Council members and one of the Fifth Ward Council members voted in favor of the project. Only an act of divine intervention (the collapse of the real estate market) stopped the project. Other projects have been proposed, but none of them have reached the Planning Commission. The property remains undeveloped.

We remain interested in the property and its impact on our neighborhoods and watersheds. Join our efforts to ensure responsible land use.

A Little Perspective

When the Dicken neighborhood opposed the use of the very wet woods at Pauline and Maple as a location for dense development and again when the South Maple neighborhoods opposed the 42 North project, we expressed concern that these projects would have a detrimental impact on the water sheds. The 42 North site is the head water for Honey Creek, Malletts Creek and Allen's Creek. The surrounding areas have historically suffered surface water and sub-surface water problems.

Imagine these areas full of towering buildings with impervious roofs, surrounded by great expanses of paved parking. The torrential rains we have had so far this year (2011) would have overwhelmed any rain water drainage plan. (read about the storm water system failures in West Park) Instead, we had the natural wetlands of both the 42 North site and the Dicken Woods to assimilate that heavy rain.