Pinned post

Here is my recap of today’s Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. 🧵

The big news: The board rejected a proposed asphalt plant in northwest Detroit, after many members of the public spoke against the project.

local news editors are liking morbid coincidences this month

And now my criticism of the meeting body: Before the meeting, I could not find any publicly-accessible details about it. Detroit Documenters obtained the agenda through an email newsletter that isn’t mentioned on the board’s web page.

I hope that the Board of Zoning Appeals would put more effort into notifying the public about their meetings, so we may better hold them accountable.

Show thread

In contrast, the board unanimously approved two other proposals at this meeting without any public comments. Architect Tim Flintoff got the go-ahead for a Detroit at Work recruitment center near Cornerstone Village. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Flexible Construction will also get to build a cannabis facility near the Davison Schoolcraft neighborhood. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

The board ultimately favored the master plan in their vote against the asphalt plant. Though it remains to be seen if this zoning conflict will be cleared up, or if another developer will try again to build heavy industry at this site. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

A main sticking point was that the city’s zoning ordinance conflicts the master plan. According to Helen Sharpley of the Planning & Development Department, the property is zoned for “a more intensive [industrial] use” than what is in the master plan.… a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

The attorney for Asphalt Specialists, responding to public commenters, also asserted that they didn’t bring up factual evidence and accused them of being a political “army”. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

Attorney Walker also repeatedly accused BSEED of not providing a report to the board nor inspecting the property in-person. Jayda Philson of BSEED said an inspection was not necessary and boardmember Teague said BSEED “did their job”. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

Commenters also pushed back against attorney Walker’s comparison of the proposed asphalt plant to an existing one near Troy, situated near a residential area. Pam commented that the Troy plant was built in the 1950s before the residences were built. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Attorney Walker stressed that the closest residents to asphalt mixing machinery would be 800 feet away. But Kathy Garrett of GRDC commented, “Eight hundred feet is about the distance of a short jog.” a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

Attorney Walker later admitted the asphalt plant would cause emissions but downplayed the severity. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

A resident named Sandra commented, “Unless they can control the weather, that [particulate matter] will go far beyond a thousand feet and even a mile” from the facility. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

The attorney for Asphalt Specialists, Lawrence Walker, repeatedly reassured the board that the plant would cause minimal environmental impact to nearby residents. At one point, he said the plant would cause “no emissions”. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

However, Walker was contradicted by another spokesperson for the project, Lillian Woolley, senior engineer at the engineering firm Fishbeck. She stated the plant would cause particulate emissions.… a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

Some commenters mocked a statement by Asphalt Specialists vice president Bruce Israel, who claimed that asphalt mixing is “just mixing the cake ingredients together”. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Israel’s statement was in a November 2021 article by Annalise Frank for Crain’s Detroit Business. crainsdetroit.com/manufacturin

Show thread

Several commenters who have asthma or family members with asthma said they would be harmed by the plant’s air pollution. One commenter pointed to Detroit’s high rate of asthma hospitalizations. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Other commenters pointed to the need for environmental justice in Detroit. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

At least 30 members of the public spoke in opposition, including representatives for the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC), Ecology Center, and U.S. representative Rashida Tlaib (13th District).

Show thread

Asphalt Specialists Inc. would have built the plant on the former Farmer Jack headquarters site, near the intersection of Southfield Freeway and I-96. a2mi.social/@civicDetroitDan/1

Show thread

Here is my recap of today’s Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. 🧵

The big news: The board rejected a proposed asphalt plant in northwest Detroit, after many members of the public spoke against the project.

Stay tuned for my recap! Corrections after that. I will also fix the (admittedly many) breaks that occurred in the thread.

Show thread
Show older
Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti & Friends Community

👋 A2mi.social is a friendly social network for people living, working, studying around Ann Arbor — including Ypsilanti and elsewhere. And our friends.