Germantown, preservation is good for the neighborhood

“once its gone, it will never come back…”

Ann Arbor historic preservation, fights to save 7 historic homes from demolition

July 16, 2009

L1620877rbwclr by you.


Originally uploaded by jeff and leyla

Hello once again from historic Germantown, where the clock is ticking for
our neighborhood!

This Monday, there will be two opportunities for City Council to back up
their words about protecting the neighborhoods downtown. One will be a
final vote on site plan approval for City Place, a proposal that would
destroy 7 historic homes on South Fifth Avenue, and replace them with two
large dorm-type buildings and an inadequate surface parking lot. The second
will be a resolution to impose a temporary moratorium on demolitions and
developments in R4C/R2A districts while the City studies and makes
corrections to the zoning ordinances for these areas.

The Germantown Neighborhood Association has identified two obvious
violations of the zoning ordinances for City Place: building height
(exceeded by over 5 feet) and rear setback (violated by 16 feet). Staff has
presented some pretty stretched interpretations in order to overlook these
violations, but ordinances should be clear and precise on their face, as
read, and not subject to stretching and twisting by developers who will
always be looking to maximize space.

The moratorium, brought forward by Mike Anglin, is meant to coincide with
the R4C/R2A study brought forward by Tony Derezinski back in March and
unanimously approved by Council. The Planning Commission has been begging
for this study for years, but is has been back-burnered for the A2D2
process. The moratorium would put a hold on all developments that require
site plan review and rezonings. It will not affect single-family homes or
over-the-counter building permits for routine maintenance or minor additions
to existing properties.

Moratoria, have been upheld all the way to the Supreme Court as legitimate
methods of stopping inappropriate developments from occurring while a
municipality updates, studies or revises master plans and zoning
ordinances. Two recent cases in Michigan have further reinforced the case
law for moratoria. Council, with a properly worded moratorium, should have
no concerns about losing a lawsuit from a developer. We need to pressure
them to support this, because it is a legal, logical and practical solution
that gets everyone off the hot seat for a while–and what better timing than
during this economic/financial crisis, when almost no projects are being
financed anyway. The problems with our zoning are clear and obvious and
there are many statements on the public record from our Planning Commission
and Councilmembers that reinforce this. I only hope that politics do not
play a role in Council’s decision. Mike Anglin has taken some recent
positions that are contrary to the majority on Council, and there is some
concern that many will not support anything he brings forward, simply
because they may not want to hand him a perceived victory right before the
primary. I hope this is not the case, because a moratorium would be a
victory for the City, for our master plans, and for the property owners in
the R4C/R2A areas that have seen one abomination after another get built in
recent years. (FYI: a project already in the approval pipeline is not
entitled to be exempt from a moratorium. In Michigan, one does not have
vested rights in the zoning, site plan approval, or even a building permit
until substantial construction has occurred. Don’t let Council exempt City
Place or any other project simply because it is already in the pipeline.)

There are links to more information below, as well as some select quotes
from officials. Please contact the mayor and councilmembers now and express
your support for a moratorium and your disapproval for City Place. There
will be no public hearing on the moratorium (unless one signs up for time),
but there will be one final hearing on City Place. Please come to the
Council meeting Monday night and let’s work together to get Ann Arbor back
on track with its master plans.


Tom Whitaker, President
Germantown Neighborhood Association

Ann Arbor 7, S. Fifth Ave. historic streetscape under threat of demolition

April 21, 2009

L1520724rcyan blues builders-Defend the Ann Arbor 7, S. Fifth Ave. historic streetscape under threat of demolition

Originally uploaded by jeff and leyla

the parade is over,

except for this guy , who continues to prance around zoning , in front of the city planning commission, time after time..

no means no, don’t you get it?

got history?no i don’t think so Ann Arbor Builders!
he, who would demolish 7 of 11 historic properties on the edge of an historic architectural district, and a quickly changing downtown Ann Arbor.

defend the Ann Arbor 7, on s. Fifth ave.
stop the demolition of our history and our place in time and the neighborhhod,
this is not Columbus , Ohio

BAD NEWS is,the Planning Commission did recommend approval of this
project last night with 3 dissensions. Since it meets the minimum
standards of the zoning law, the staff and the commisioners felt they
could not oppose it. It is a real dog. It has bedrooms that are
individually leased, that have cooking areas (is this a kitchen they
asked? Do we have a definition of a kitchen?) almost making them
efficiencies. However, they get away with calling them bedrooms, and six
of them together make a unit. You only need to provide 1 1/2 parking
spaces per UNIT, so they will have 36 spaces, highly visible from the
street, with something like 140 tenants.

now , there is only one more fight left,

w/ the city council, who have the final say.

Defend the Ann Arbor 7, again, Ann Arbor, Michigan downtown preservations -Fifthavehaze TIME FOR THAT STUDY COMMISSION!!!!!!defend -Again threats are made to destroy a2 history

December 5, 2008

sFifthavehaze TIME FOR THAT STUDY COMMISSION!!!!!!defend -Again threats are made to destroy a2 history

Originally uploaded by jeff and leyla

Defend the Ann Arbor 7,
s Fifth ave historic homes up for a third request to demolish…search defend ann arbor 7 here on the blog, see the pictures here, 4080696918/

-and here, 054/

Defense of the Ann Arbor 7,

latest news,

from the Ann Arbor News and their ongoing bias, Arbor,

the Brouhaha Ann Arbor,

Mandy Kay,

Mandy-“Mandy’s Last Word:
Friends of The Brou will be amused to learn that I was busted yet again. Landlord Alex de Parry cornered me as I was taking the photos above. de Parry was somewhat confrontational–not to mention a close talker–as I chatted him up about the proposed project. “It will cost me more to renovate these properties than it will to build new,” he reasserted. “Have you ever been to Beacon Hill? That’s what I’m going for.” I pointed out that brownstones aren’t exactly Ann Arbor vernacular, that maybe he might have more success proposing something sympatico with the other buildings on the street. “There’s no such thing as Ann Arbor architecture!” de Parry proclaimed.,”

Arbor Update, Ann Arbor Community News,

relates to Alex Deparry and his never ending struggle to demolish 7 historic architectural resources on the east side of S. Fith Ave.. These seven historic residential homes now maintained poorly by the slumlord for students, is located in the heart of Ann Arbor’s downtown historic architectural district, once a district on The National Register of Historic Districts, struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court. These individual homes are distinct and unique to , and date back to the first decades of Ann Arbor as a small midwestern college town. Individual histories of each home in the defend category here, are written by local preservationist , Susan Wineberg, explains clearly why these resources are important to remain in their place.

DeParry’s offer to sell each house for a dollar is rouse, he knows very well no one will take him up on his offer. His claim to be green is a lie, when in fact to restore these structures is far more Green, than demolition and placement in a dump. Choke on it, sell them for fair market value, and see what demand there is really is in Ann Arbor, where there are far more affordable houses on the market than what he says is in demand, for his small tiny condos crowded up to the street. The expanded green space and environment he offers is nothing but baloney.

Google workers ha! they are not coming in the numbers promised, nurses who have to commute from Jackson, do not want to live downtown in condos and pay the same property taxes as a homeowner, and achieve no equity at the same time. Students don’t buy many condos. Condos that were sold for $400,000, cannot be sold for 300,000. Existing condo projects are not fully occupied. Vacancy rates are high, and there is no demand for new housing, appraisals are down 10-40% in the county. And the fools who think that this city and county will and should be about 80% under 30 years of age , projected in 20 years, are doing nothing but moving the elders out. They wish to create a monoculture of students, with no room or place for the old hippie lberal preservation radicals , or any other regular retiring folks, who wish to hang on to what is and what was a nice small town atmosphere, human in scale and walkable.

Deparry’s plan provides no real set back and that walk down the street will no longer be a pleasant one, or one that reminds one of from where we came……….to pretend they are Boston Townhouses is one big fat fake brick and vinyl lie and of no character relative to Ann Arbor or the midwest,. He is in denial when stating, what Ann Arbor architectectural character, there is none. Developers, not only do they lie to make a dollar, they lie to themselves.

just a run on thought to be edited, but at least its written. Save the Ann Arbor 7, Defend the Ann Arbor 7.

Historic Preservation is a better alternative than the present proposal, and you will remember that when the condos, all 100 of them, are built, and your town is gone. Or for those who come in a couple years, they will have been deprived of any lessons that might be learned from the preservation of important architectural resources. j

Defend the Ann Arbor 7, proposal to demolish Ann Arbor architectural heritage to build a 5 story , 100 unit pud/condominium project, A Big Mistake in the greening of Ann Arbor, let’s ask the Mayor of Tubingen, Germany, our sister city? eh?

May 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by jeff lamb

published in the AA News in March.

March 19, 2008

On January 15, 2008, the Ann Arbor Planning Commission denied an
application to re-zone and demolish seven houses on S. Fifth Avenue for an
apartment complex called City Place. However, the plan to demolish these
houses, just south of the library, is back. It has been renamed Beakes
Place, an ironic slap at preservationists trying to prevent the demolition
of the 1830s Beakes home— the oldest house on the block. This beautiful
row of houses, all more than 100 years old, has long been a favorite of
walkers and makes downtown a more attractive and welcoming place.

Many who drive or walk along this stretch of road marvel at the beauty of
this uninterrupted group of 19th and early 20th century houses, with its
large lots and stands of mature trees. It is a rare block in Ann Arbor
that is not marred by an apartment building from the 1960s or houses
covered in bad siding with wooden fire escapes waltzing over the front.

This block has been noted for the care taken in planting flowers on the
lawn extension and for the high maintenance of the properties. Many of the
walkers I know in town purposely walk down this block because it is
relaxing and pleasant, which in turn is good for your health as numerous
studies have shown. The Planning Commission Staff Report noted that the
houses form “one of the most intact late 19th and early 20th streetscapes
in the City of Ann Arbor.” This streetscape has appeared often on the
covers of various magazines and Annual Guides to Ann Arbor. It obviously
is regarded as a community treasure and illustrates how we want to promote
our city.

These houses are also a slice of Ann Arbor history. Three of them were
formerly protected as Individual Historic Properties until this ordinance
was struck down in 2001 by a state court. Thus, their value to the
community has been formally recognized in the past. For example, 415 S.
Fifth is the Beakes house with the oldest section dating to the 1830s when
Ann Arbor was barely a decade old. Two of our mayors lived here, both
named Beakes but not related to each other (long story). It was studied
by UM Professor of Architecture Emil Lorch (Lorch Hall) for the Historic
American Building Survey and he noted its distinctive architectural
features. Beakes Street is named after Samuel Beakes, our mayor from

Further down the street at 427 is the home of another mayor Francis M.
Hamilton (1905-1907). Hamilton Street honors his memory, as does the
Hamilton Fountain on North University which he funded. Next door, at 433
S. Fifth, was the home of Herbert Slauson, the Superintendent of Public
Schools. Slauson School today honors his memory. The others are
connected to local business people from the turn of the 19th century and
are wonderful examples of the architecture from this period.

Why preserve these houses in the face of interest in downtown living and
sustainability? Because a small neighborhood has already been developing
in the area and has become a vibrant community where neighbors know each
other and work together (and walk to work, the theater and restaurants).
Because older homes are the greenest homes, and inherently energy
efficient since traditional builders incorporated sustainable elements
into buildings before the word was invented (this according to the Green
issue of Preservation Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008). And because we all benefit
when a beautiful streetscape, with links to our past, is preserved.

All plans adopted by the city-the Downtown Plan, the A2D2 plan, the
Calthorpe Plan, the Central Area Plan and the Downtown Residential Task
Force—recommend the city protect historic residential neighborhoods that
border the downtown. Changes in zoning, or PUD plans, threaten that
commitment and further encourage development pressures. The city should
make every effort to preserve this wonderful row of houses for the history
it represents, the beauty it affords its citizens and for the potential to
promote real sustainability. To that end, the Mayor and City Council
should appoint a Study Committee to establish this block as a historic
district. At present it borders the William Street Historic District and
an extension of that district makes good sense. It’s the right thing to

Susan Wineberg

-Defend the Ann Arbor 7,
415 S. Fifth Ave
This is one of the oldest remaining houses on the street and is in the Greek Revival style, with portions dating to the 1830s, a mere decade after Ann Arbor was settled. It was built by Clayton Gaskell and through inheritance passed into the Beakes family which occupied it for many years. Later additions were added by Beakes in 1859. The house served as the residence for two Ann Arbor mayors: Hiram Beakes (1873-1875) and Samuel Beakes (1888-18900. It is Samuel Beakes after whom Beakes Street is named. He also wrote an important history of the county entitled “Past and Present of Washtenaw County” in 1906. It was converted into apartment in the 1920s and was studied by Emil Lorch for the Historic American Buildings Survey of the federal government in the 1930s. He noted:”good cornice, refined trim, corner pilasters. Shows preservation of an old type but it has been altered.” It was designated an Individual Historic Property by the City of Ann Arbor in 1988, a designation which was overturned by the courts when that ordinance was declared invalid in 2001.

May 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by jeff lamb

defend the Ann Arbor 7,
do not demolish 7 important and significant architectural resources in the heart of Ann Arbor’s downtown, to be replaced by a pseudo contextual 5 story , 100 unit pud/condo development. This would be a big mistake.

March 10, 2008

Defend the Ann Arbor Seven, plus 1 Preserve Historic Architecture, Defeat the Demo Proposal

Originally uploaded by jeff and leyla

Defend the Ann Arbor 7
Planning Commission meeting March 11. city hall

F.decorate(_ge(’photo_notes’), F._photo_notes).notes_go_go_go(2322292105, ‘’, ‘3.1444′);

Taken in a place with no name (See more photos here)

Defend the Ann Arbor 7
403 S. Fifth Ave. , office of Ann Arbor Builders and Alex DeParryJanuary 2008To Members of the Ann Arbor Planning Commission and City CouncilHistory of the east side of the 400 block of S. Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan.Prepared by Susan WinebergA proposal by Alex DeParry to construct a large apartment building on the site of seven historic houses has prompted us to try to educate people on the importance of this block, both historically and architecturally. The loss of these houses will be irreparable for the history of the city and will result in the loss of many mature trees and vegetation as well. The proposed plans do not follow the guidelines recently adopted by the city for development in neighborhoods (and this is still a neighborhood with many owner occupied houses!). Bear with us as we tell you more about this important streetscape.All of the properties on this block are part of the Original Plat of Ann Arbor, registered in Detroit in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey, the two founders of the town. The east-west streets were named by the developers after their wives, their children (William St.), and our presidents (Washington and Jefferson; later plats used Madison, Monroe and Adams). The north-south streets were given numbers, which has contributed to confusion ever since. The block in question was originally platted into 8 lots. The earliest map which shows houses indicates that every lot had a house by 1853 except one. Some of the houses built on these lots date back to the earliest settlement of Ann Arbor. Others replaced older houses in the late 19th and early 20th century. All of the houses are over 100 years old.

this not proposed for demolition, but sure likes a cover up to me.

403 S. Fifth Ave
This is NOT proposed for demolition as it is in a historic district. It was built in 1883 (and is a good example of the late Italianate/Queen Anne style) by William Merkle, an officer in the Krause Tanning Company. It was later occupied by Herman Allmendinger, owner of Allmendinger Music. It received a preservation award in 1990. Mr. DeParry won the award and was quoted in the paper stating he wanted to “recreate the kind of place that downtown merchant William Merkle used to call home a century ago.”

re-considering demolition of 7
one of Ann Arbor’s most important groups of historic architectural landmarks, and quickly dissappearing links to the past of what this city was made of.
Condo developers and the those who would have Ann Arbor Builders, demolish, the City actually and the Mayor, are about to rip the heart and soul out of one of the original residential districts between downtown and the university of Michigan, which is also doing a very good at demolition of our neighborhoods as well.

It will be a crime if this proposal passes. And it will be a shame if nobody goes to the meeting March 11, to protest. j

February 25, 2008

L1110576a by you.


Originally uploaded by jeff and leyla

just because i need a little perspective, this is where i,m at, working on a past life in New orlens presently…..sunday morning
every sunday morning i drive to this corner, and take my 5 min and get a paper,
and then go home and work on new orleans, all the while i am home and a neighbor around the corner has this song to sing, i see him at the market, and find him on you tube.

and he sings this beautiful song, dickie siegal!
its sunday, what can i say?

January 12, 2008


Originally uploaded by jeff lamb

market man past

a few thougths and a smart remark concerning the status of the “Old West Side” and its preservation as an historic architectural district…

here are a few ideas, for ann arbor

well this and Defend the Ann Arbot 7 !

on s. 5th ave…….

a couple proposals for now, for the city
-reNew the Old West Side historic architectural survey, every ten years,
photograph every single structure old west side, old northwest side, old fourth ward, burns park, downtown kerry town lower town…Now, and then again
-photograph every single permit application, before and after,
renovation /restoration/re-do /re-doubling size additions…….and i don’t mean by the inspector…by the photographers

sorry kind of sarcastically, have to think some more
-stricter guidelines, fewer excuses….

small houses in balance w/ the McHistoric
yin yang

a few small trees in the big bad forest

all the small trees, its a big forest

January 11, 2008


Originally uploaded by jeff lamb

there is a lot to write about the Old West Side Historic Architectural National Register district, but for now i will just think about it for a while, and just look at the picture so i never forget what was.

there is no doubt in my mind that this little house sits by itself,
and will soon fall victim to the imminent threat of
and continuing erosion of the standards set in place that were meant to protect resources such as the little house.

No doubt, this house will be bastardized soon enough, and become another McHistory lesson of what was and what will become a suburban standard for “historic preservation” It is a joke, and just not funny.

If it were up to me, a radically conservative provincial preservationist, i would say if you want to restore this house, you cannot add another inch, another wing, another story, a 100,000 dollar garage w/ a lap pool and a fireplace…..

January 8, 2008


Originally uploaded by jeff lamb

not seeing the forest for the trees
in the name of development downtown ,
for the sake of a “green belt”

Defend the Ann Arbor 7
on the left, south and east on S. Fifth Ave. from the YMCA

-three of 7 important historic architectural resources where developers of a monster condo project are anxious to build.

on the right, across the street on the NW corner of S Fith Ave. and E. Williams, the old and now vacant YMCA

January 7, 2008


Originally uploaded by jeff lamb

This house is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture, threatened by a proposal for re-zoning , one that would allow developers to tear down 7 important and historically invaluable architectural resources, here on S Fifth Ave., between E. Williams and Jefferson Streets.
Defend the Ann Arbor 7,
and every single historic architectural resource left,
just a note from a grumpy radically conservative provincial preservationist.

to see the seven , plus structures to be impacted, go to this set of photographs,

and then there is this, around the corner from me, just cause,

January 7, 2008


Originally uploaded by jeff lamb

Defend the Ann Arbor Seven
as if six were nine, well that means the developments will destroy not six, not nine but all they can

Invite Christo, and maybe we could just cover up the ugliness.


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