Monthly Archives: April 2016

What’s Going On There–Using eTRAKiT to Look Up Building and Development in Ann Arbor

Oren Construction

Oren loves watching the construction equipment. Here’s how I used the Ann Arbor eTRAKiT system to on the website find out what’s getting built.

Oren loves watching the bulldozers, cranes, and excavators as they work on a construction project in front of his daycare.

But what is it going to be?

Maybe you’ve had this same question when you’ve seen construction in your neighborhood. Or maybe you’ve wanted to check the permit history of a property. Or maybe you’ve wanted to see the details of how a development’s stormwater impact was modeled.

Thanks to eTRAKiT, you can find out.

To use eTRAKiT,
visit From there you can choose to search permits, projects, properties, or inspections.

Since this is a project, I’ll start there. You can search by address, parcel ID, owner name, and more. In this case, I don’t know the property address, but I do know it’s across from 216 Beakes. I’ll start by searching all the properties on Beakes.

That looks like it, 215 Beakes. Beakes 2Here I can see that the property went through the process to be converted to single-family use, but that the request for a setback variance was denied. Interesting, but it still doesn’t tell me what’s being build. Let’s try searching permits.

Here we go. After going trough some permits we can see that this one is to “rebuild a new single family home.” I can click through to the plans and see the plans for a 2-story house with a 1st-floor garage. I can read through all the submitted site plans, permitting history, etc.

Screenshot (23)So, it’s going to be a house–a big one.


Screenshot (26)For this project it wasn’t that exciting. Single-family homes are pretty basic in terms of permitting. But this feature can be quite useful in other cases. For example, a few years ago a development was proposed on Glendale Drive near Hillside Terrace. As the neighbors tried to understand how the project would affect the neighborhood, they could look up all the background documents for the project, including:

So, whether you are trying to tell your 2 year old why there are all the cool bulldozers across the street from daycare or understand the impacts of a proposed development in your neighborhood, eTRAKiT is a great tool to give you access to the public plans, permits, and property information about what is happening in your city.



1 Sister Lake and Stormwater–Moving Ahead For Water Quality

1st Sister Lake. (Source)

1st Sister Lake. (Source)

1st Sister Lake is a delightful lake on the west side of town and a real gem for birders and nature lovers. Sadly, stormwater runoff from the neighborhood has been one of the factors speeding eutrophication of the lake.

This is an old issue, and while taking steps like shifting from on-street leaf pickup to bagged leaf pickup has helped somewhat, the concern remains.

Thanks to the consistent efforts of neighborhood activists like Lenny Kafka and Scott Rosencrans who have brought the issue up to council members, the Parks Advisory Commission, and and others, last year the City did a review of a decades-old study of ways to mitigate the problem in light of current best management practices.

Out of that, in the proposed FY17 budget, there is currently $225,000 proposed as a capital project to make some of the changes. (You have to scroll all the way down to page 335 to see the listing.)

There’s a little more detail in the Capital Improvements Plan, stormwater section, page 30.

So, long story short, if all goes according to plan, we will have taken specific, concrete steps to improve water quality in First Sister Lake and to protect this City treasure.