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Could Pink Zones help Detroit businesses?

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Yes, absolutely

Michelle & Chris Gerard

Detroit, long known for its archaic regulations and bureaucracy, is looking for ways to make it easier to cut through the red tape often faced by businesses. They’re called Pink Zones, and the city is seeking ideas to help neighborhoods and business corridors.

What can a pink zone do exactly?

"One of the core ideas of Lean Urbanism—which emphasizes small-scale, affordable, and incremental urban development—a 'Pink Zone' would enable the City of Detroit to redesign its regulatory approach to development along particular corridors. This might include: allowing small-scale development to bypass certain review processes, preemptive approval of certain building types, or expedited permitting."

Detroit won a grant this past spring through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to implement the project. With funding from this $75,000 grant, the city is looking for three great ideas "to transform complex land use regulations into a positive force for the revitalization of our city."

From the background of Pink Zones in Detroit:

"At present, those wishing to pursue real estate development in Detroit, as well as those seeking to launch, operate, and maintain a small business, must navigate a complex regime of regulatory requirements. Although some of these requirements are mandated at the federal and state levels, most are overseen at the municipal level, and administered by separate City departments. These include: site plan review, zoning compliance, building safety inspections, liquor licensing, permits for awnings, permits for right of way encroachments (e.g. sidewalk cafés), and many others."

The city has issued an RFQ for ideas, due September 16. Three teams will be chosen for three commercial sites. They’ll work with the City’s Planning and Development Department to "explore potential revisions to the City’s zoning and building regulations."

This is a great opportunity for the city to move forward and get more businesses open. Which areas do you think would benefit, Curbed readers?