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Detroit to implement “pink zones” to spur commercial development

Detroit Planning and Development officials recently announced a project intended to revive Detroit’s neighborhood business corridors while simultaneously easing the City’s notorious bureaucratic hurdles. The project, called “Pink Zoning Detroit,” aims to simplify the City’s outdated and complex land use and zoning regulations and reduce the red tape that so often inhibits commercial development in the City.

Detroit has developed a reputation for its complex regulatory requirements and unnecessary administrative hoops facing businesses. While some requirements are mandated at the federal and state levels, most are administered by separate City departments. Some examples include: site plan review, zoning compliance, building safety inspects, liquor licensing, permits for right of way encroachments for sidewalk cafes, etc.

Pink Zoning aims to streamline the permitting process by allowing certain small-scale business developments “to bypass certain review processes, preemptive approval of certain building types, or expedited permitting.” Hopefully, this simplified regulatory process will make it much easier and faster for business owners to revitalize the many up-and-coming neighborhood main streets in Detroit.

The City is accepting Requests for Qualifications through September 16, and officials will then choose 3 teams to work on 3 different commercial sites. Winners will be notified on September 30. The winning teams will spend 6 months working on their projects, and their recommendations are expected in spring 2017. The 3 teams will also partner with the Planning and Development Department to explore possible revisions and reforms to Detroit’s current zoning and building regulations.

We will continue to monitor the City’s progress with Pink Zoning Detroit and be sure to provide updates in the coming months. In the meantime, more information about Pink Zoning in Detroit can be found here.

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