Detroit is preparing to update its Master Plan of Policies.
The city describes the master plan as “designed to change in response to new information and changing circumstances,” and yet Detroit has changed a lot since it was last comprehensively reviewed and updated in 2008.
Documenters have witnessed the master plan matter. Remember last year when residents and city planners argued with developers over a proposed asphalt plant on the westside? The city’s zoning rules would have allowed it, but the master plan didn’t include heavy industrial use for the neighborhood. Residents and city planners prevailed.
Elsewhere in city government the Detroit City Council approved more money for license plate recognition technology, but not without pushback. The Detroit Land Bank Authority Board of Directors wants applications for vacant land to move more quickly and the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority Board of Directors wants to appoint a new CEO without telling anybody who it is. Talk about spooky season.
For the rest of your weekly public meetings digest, read on.
The Detroit Police Department (DPD) uses license plate recognition (LPR) technology that collects license plate numbers and location data. DPD says the technology helps them apprehend persons suspected of car theft or persons suspected of using a vehicle in an alleged crime.
Most of the public comments in support of expanded use of LPR wanted the technology to be used to reduce reckless driving, speeding, drifting and doughnuts, saying they endanger public safety in their neighborhood. Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero clarified after several such comments that “license plate (recognition) will not be used for traffic enforcement.”
Public commenters skeptical or in opposition of the proposed LPR expansion cited an absence of data on effectiveness and worries about privacy and data-sharing with law enforcement agencies like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The council voted to approve DPD’s expanded use of LPR. Santiago-Romero and Councilmember Latisha Johnson were the only members voting no.
9/26/2023 Detroit City Council, Formal Session
Documented by Bridget Scallen and Gina McPherson
The Detroit Land Bank Authority Board of Directors approved a resolution to limit the application window to 60 days for those wishing to purchase vacant land, to encourage prospective buyers to finish applications more quickly.
Incomplete applications pile up and create extra work for the agency. By limiting the window to apply to 60 days, the land bank is hoping for a higher rate of successful applications.
The land bank will provide more public education around the steps required to apply and receive approval for property purchases.
9/26/2023 Detroit Land Bank Authority, Board of Directors
Documented by Janelle James and Meghan Rutigliano
Closed session took up most of the time during a Detroit Housing Commissioners meeting filled with audio and visual technical difficulties. Shortly after returning from closed session and discovering the audio problems, commissioners sacrificed the video to fix the sound.
Documenters heard commissioners approve a memorandum of understanding and ground lease option with Novi-based Ginosko Development Company to immediately begin the first phase of redevelopment planned for The Villages at Parkside.
Phase 1 does not include repairs on any of the existing structures (Page 15 of the board packet), but on two vacant parcels of land on the corner of Conner Street and Frankfort Street designated to be Village 1.
Ginosko will be the developer for the full Parkside redevelopment project. DHC plans to enter into a master development agreement with the company within the next year.
9/28/2023 Detroit Housing Commission, Board of Commissioners
Documented by Amelia Benavides-Colón and Sonja Stuckey
9/27/2023 Detroit Planning and Development Department, Updates to the City of Detroit’s Master Plan: For the first time in 15 years, the city’s master plan will be comprehensively reviewed and updated. The initial proposal will head to City Council next for consideration.
Documented by Ashley Williams and Colleen Cirocco
9/28/2023 Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, Board of Directors: Following a two-hour closed session, the board approved a Huntington Place expansion and appointed a new CEO without stating their name. When we later asked who they appointed, we were told the omission was in fact intentional. The authority will be releasing the name soon.
Documented by Amber Umscheid and Sandi Nelson
9/28/2023 SMART, Board of Directors: Residents of Wayne, Oakland and Livingston counties praised the SMART board for service expansions and added bus stops.
Documented by Bridget Scallen and Corey Rowe
9/28/2023 Detroit Board of Police Commissioners: BOPC keeps Melanie White suspended with full pay; payroll audit finds ghost staffer, unauthorized raises and bogus overtime. For more on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, check out the latest BOPC Watch
Documented by Elyas Khan and Heather Alder
These summaries were written by Amelia Benavides-Colón, Ashley Williams, Bridget Scallen and Meghan Rutigliano.