The City Planning Commission is pleased to announce the start of an important project called ZoneDetroit. The project is led by an experienced team of planners from the City Planning Commission staff, supported by an expert team of consultants. ZoneDetroit will modernize the existing Zoning Ordinance, providing an opportunity to refresh and rethink the existing regulations. ZoneDetroit will engage the community as part of the process to ensure local values and preferences are reflected in the finished product.

Project VALUES

Conduct a Transparent, Equitable and Inclusive Process

  • Allow all stakeholders to meaningfully take part in the process through engagement plan
  • Provide timely and accurate information easily accessible to the public
  • Define clear and measurable indicators for achieving social-equity goals

Preserve and Promote Vibrant Neighborhoods

  • Encourage and/or incentivize multiple housing types (Missing Middle Housing) that support varying age, income and ability levels
  • Provide buffering standards between residential and non-residential uses
  • Protect and promote affordable housing

Retain and Attract Vibrant Businesses

  • Support existing and future businesses (home-based, small and large-scale businesses)
  • Encourage mixed-use development (residential combined with commercial) where appropriate
  • Promote land-based businesses

Preserve Detroit's Historic Character

  • Enable zoning to help preserve and reuse vacant buildings
  • Emphasize regulation of building form to achieve more predictable and cohesive development

Advance Long-term Sustainable Practices

  • Implement efficient stormwater practices
  • Foster land use approach that supports healthy lifestyles
  • Reevaluate auto-oriented and high-traffic generating uses in certain commercial corridors
  • Create walkable neighborhoods

Project Elements

Elements to be considered in the project include:

Document Improvements

  • Make zoning more user-friendly, add graphics and tables
  • Consolidate the allowed uses into summary tables
  • Pull together scattered subjects that are similar
  • Remove provisions that are outdated or unnecessary
  • Make certain zoning reflects current laws and recent cases

Development Review

  • Apply standards to select uses so they don’t require conditional review
  • Streamline site plan review
  • Integrate appropriate design review

New Zoning Concepts

  • Right-size the parking requirements
  • Create buffers between new commercial or industrial and industrial
  • Regulate lighting to reduce off-site impacts
  • Include stormwater management requirements
  • Allow innovative uses, such as urban agriculture, solar and wind farms, other open space uses
  • Encourage a better mix of uses
  • Allow for expanded home-based businesses
  • Enable more housing types in appropriate residential zones
  • Allow housing choices such as accessory dwelling units, homesteads, eco-villages
  • Incorporate recent projects like Brush Park and Riverfront zoning

Project Team

The Interdepartmental Working Group (IWG) and Zoning Advisory Group (ZAG) are two key groups of stakeholders that will provide invaluable feedback throughout the project. The IWG is an internal working group that includes representatives from key City departments and partner agencies. ZAG is a public group made up of a varierty of community interests and includes: building and design professionals; developers; representatives from local business, arts, and urban agriculture communities; community development organizations and foundations; and engaged citizens and community leaders who represent the interests of Detroit residents.

City Planning Commission Core Team
Marcell Todd
Chris Gulock
Kimani Jeffrey
Jamie Murphy
Jennifer Reinhardt

Lead Consultant
Code Studio – Austin TX

Interdepartmental Working Group

Primary Group (review all draft material)

  • City Planning Commission (CPC)
  • Planning and Development (PDD)
  • Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental (BSEED)
  • Law Department
  • Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA)
  • Historic Designation Advisory Board (HDAB)
  • Office of Sustainability

Secondary Group (review topical material)

  • Housing and Revitalization (HRD)
  • Water and Sewerage (DWSD)
  • Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA)
  • Public Works (DPW)
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)
  • General Services (GSD) 
  • Innovation and Technology staff (DoIT)

Zoning Advisory Group 

  • Ashley Atkinson: Keep Growing Detroit
  • Cleophus Bradley: Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance
  • Chase Cantrell: Building Community Value
  • Cezanne Charles: Creative Many Michigan
  • Amy Chesterton: Rossetti Architects
  • Marcus Cummings: Schaefer 7-8 Lodge
  • Rob Dewaelsche: Southwest Detroit Business Association
  • David Esparza: City Planning Commission 
  • Debbie Fisher: Focus Hope
  • Donna Givens: Eastside Community Network
  • Alexis Gomez: Eco-D / Eco Works
  • Anika Goss-Foster: Detroit Future City
  • Francis Grunow: Historic Preservation 
  • Jerry Hebron: Oakland Ave Urban Farm
  • Alton James: City Planning Commission 
  • Quincy Jones: Osborn Neighborhood Alliance 
  • Theresa Landrum: Original United Citizens of Southwest Detroit 
  • Dolores Leonard: 48217
  • Nick Leonard: Great Lakes Environmental Law Center
  • Sue Mosey: Midtown Detroit Inc.
  • Deb Omokehinde
  • Theodore Parker, Rev: St. Charles Lwanga
  • Dan Pitera: Detroit Collaborative Design Center
  • Gina Reichert: Power House Productions
  • Sarida Scott: CDAD
  • Curtis Smith: Central City Integrated Health
  • Ishmail Terry: All for One/Pleasant Heights Economic Development Corp
  • Diane Van Buren: Zachary & Associates/Sustainability Task Force
  • Pam Weinstein: Rosedale Park Improvement Association

Project Timeline

MONTHS 1 - 4

Phase 1: Assessment

Citywide Mapping Analysis
Engagement Plan

MONTHS 1 - 4

MONTHS 5 - 8

Phase 2: The Future

Zoning Diagnostic
Best Practice Analysis
Community Meetings

MONTHS 5 - 8

MONTHS 9 - 20

Phase 3: Drafting

Recommendation Report
Districts and Uses
Development Standards
Public Review Draft
Code Testing
Legal Review

MONTHS 9 - 20

MONTHS 21 - 24

Phase 4: Adoption

Public Hearing Draft
CPC Recommendation
City Council Adoption
Adopted Zoning Ordinance

MONTHS 21 - 24
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