As a new development project is being considered on the city-owned property known as Water Street in Ypsilanti, city council plans to use a tool it didn’t have the last time a project was proposed for the vacant site.
A couple of years ago, the city approved an ordinance called Community Benefits Ordinance that requires the creation of a committee to discuss the sale of city property for major projects. City Council Member Steve Wilcoxen from the second ward says the ordinance was approved after an International Village project fell through for the site in 2017.
Council Member Steve Wilcoxen: Basically, a committee is formed of public officials and people in the community that are adjacent to where the site is.
That committee then meets with the developer to make sure the project will benefit the community by offering incentives like affordable housing units. Wilcoxen says that by using the Community Benefits Ordinance, it will help create transparency for projects being proposed at Water Street. Currently, a new developer has shown interest in using the site for a mixed-use project that includes housing, commercial and office space. Since the site is contaminated with chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls, developers will also have to disclose how they would address remediation.
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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org