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Open thread: Detroit’s community benefits proposals

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Welcome to Friday Open Threads, wherein we'll pass the mic to readers to speak up about topics of interest, distress, horror, and more. Have something you want discussed? Let us know. This week’s topic: Proposals A and B

On Tuesday, Detroit voters will vote for or against two community benefits proposals: Proposals A and B. If neither of them reach a 50% vote, neither will pass. If they get over a 50% vote, the one with the most will be adopted.

First, here’s what the proposals look like on the ballot:

PROPOSAL A: Petition Initiative Ordinance for Community Benefits Agreements

An initiative to enact an ordinance to amend Chapter 14 of the 1984 Detroit City Code, Community Development, by adding Article XII, titled Community Benefits, which consists of Sections 14-12-1 through 14-12-7, to provide for the purpose and applicability of this article; to provide for definitions of terms used in this article; to require provision of Community Benefits and executed Community Benefits Agreements for certain development projects seeking public support for investment above certain threshold levels; to provide for exemptions for applicability of the article, and to provide for penalties and enforcement of the article.

PROPOSAL B: City Council Initiative Ordinance for Community Benefits Agreements

An initiative to enact the “Detroit Community Benefits Ordinance” proposed by the Detroit City Council to amend Chapter 14 of the City Code to add Division XII, Community Benefits, to require the city to establish and consult with Neighborhood Advisory Councils in conjunction with certain large-scale projects involving city property or tax subsidies, to require development agreements between the city and the developers of such projects to incorporate the concerns of the Neighborhood Advisory Councils to the extent feasible, to include certain other related provisions, and to establish that the ordinance is the comprehensive local law on the subject matter.

Proposal A has been a community driven campaign and drafted by the Sugar Law Center to make sure that Detroiters have a seat at the table for development projects in their neighborhood.

Proposal B was backed by city council member Scott Benson to increase the threshold so it’s applied to much bigger development projects to include community involvement in an advisory capacity.

According to the Free Press:

“What economic development projects trigger the community’s involvement?

Proposal A: A project investment of $15 million and public incentives worth at least $300,000.

Proposal B: A project investment of $75 million and public incentives worth at least $1 million.

Who represents the community’s interests in talks with the developer?

Proposal A: All residents who live within census tracts of a proposed development will be invited to a public meeting and a group of residents will be picked to represent the community in any negotiations.

Proposal B: A nine-member advisory council will be selected from nominees proposed by the community. The city’s planning director will select four members; the council will select three, and the community will select two.”

Critics of Proposal A say that the language isn’t clear enough, and it could hurt jobs in the city.

Critics of Proposal B say it’s similar to agreements in the past, and doesn’t give neighborhoods enough say in big development.

More on the opposition and concerns can be found here. More thoughts on the proposals from community members can be found at Model D here.

What do you think, Curbed readers? Are these proposals clear enough? Have you heard concerns from community members or developers? As always, let us know what you think in the comments.