Downtown Development Authority Board
The Plymouth Township Downtown Development Authority was created in January 2002 and is designed as the primary mechanism for the implementation of a broad range of improvement projects along the Ann Arbor Road Corridor. To view the boundaries of the DDA District and what will become the DDA’s Development Area, click here for the DDA Map. Generally, the DDA District encompasses all Township property adjoining Ann Arbor Road from a point just east of the I-275 Interchange to Sheldon Road.
History of the Ann Arbor Road Corridor Improvements
Various improvement projects have been discussed for the Ann Arbor Road Corridor for many years. The first concerted effort to plan and implement improvements to this Corridor date back to 1993 when City and Township officials were approached by the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Improvement Committee about the need for aesthetic improvements along the Ann Arbor Road Corridor. This discussion resulted in the start of a creative process featuring a student charrette and a design charrette lead by professionals. The process culminated in the 1995 Ann Arbor Road Corridor Plan which has set the stage for future design decisions on the Corridor and suggested how future enhancements can be accommodated. The Ann Arbor Road Corridor Plan received the 1996 Outstanding Planning Award from the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Michigan Society of Planning Officials.
Artist Rendering of the CSX Overpass
The tangible results of the 1995 Ann Arbor Road Corridor Plan include:
- Creation of the Ann Arbor Road Zoning District, an innovative collaboration between Plymouth Charter Township and the City of Plymouth. The special zoning provisions of this district have been adopted by both units of government giving the Ann Arbor Road Corridor a cohesive legal basis for the regulation of development.
- Construction of a unique clock tower entry way feature at the eastern end of the Corridor near the I-275 Interchange.
- Enhanced architectural and landscaping design for new development sites along the Corridor.
- Support for the completion of a formal Ann Arbor Road Design Plan to refine the design principles, propose and estimate the cost of improvement projects and develop an implementation strategy.
Ann Arbor Road Design Plan
The next phase in the evolution of improvement programming for the Ann Arbor Road Corridor was the completion of the Ann Arbor Road Design Plan in mid- 2001.This Plan was completed by a team of design professionals lead by McKenna Associates, Incorporated and including Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Inc; Robert Leighton Associates, Inc. and Architects and Planners, Inc.
The Ann Arbor Road Design Plan presents a detailed analysis of the Corridor’s land use and aesthetic issues; design constraints and opportunities and design goals. The Plan outlines several improvement projects including streetscape improvements throughout the Corridor, particularly at major intersections, and focal point improvements such as the I-275 Interchange, the CSX Railroad overpass and the Ann Arbor Road crossing of Tonquish Creek.
The Plan includes preliminary cost estimates for the various improvement projects and suggests a number of funding sources. Chief among these funding strategies is the use of a technique known as tax increment financing (TIF) accomplished through a Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
Downtown Development Authorities
Today there are nearly three hundred (300) active Downtown Development Authorities throughout Michigan. DDA’s are enabled by Public Act 197 of 1975, as amended and operate as special purpose authorities appointed by local governing bodies to carry out specific tasks. These include the planning and improvement of downtown areas through the construction of a broad range of eligible public facilities (e.g. streetscape, utilities, parks, landscaping, pathways etc.) and assistance to developers in the improvement of real estate within the DDA’s Development Area. The DDA is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of the Township Supervisor and eight (8) other members appointed by the Supervisor with the approval of the Township Board of Trustees. The DDA is a public body and must conduct itself in accordance with all of the Michigan Statutes governing the operation of public agencies.
Tax Increment Financing
One of the most significant resources available to a DDA is Tax Increment Financing. This tool allows the DDA to "capture" additional valuation added to an approved Development Area after adoption of a Tax Increment Financing and Development Plan by the DDA and the Township Board of Trustees. All local millages (except local and intermediate school millages) are applied to this captured valuation, and the result is the tax increment retained by the DDA for use in accordance with the adopted Tax Increment Financing and Development Plan. In the case of the Plymouth Township DDA, this means that the millages of the Township, Wayne County, the Library System and Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Parks are subject to capture. In all likelihood, the DDA and Township will sell bonds which will be used to finance the completion of approved projects and will be repaid with future TIF proceeds.
Role of the DDA Board
The Board of Directors of the DDA will assist in the implementation of the projects contained in the Ann Arbor Road Design Plan. The DDA will also identify other initiatives aimed at the improvement of the Ann Arbor Road Corridor. Specific duties of the Board include: