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Ypsi neighborhood moves forward after reversal of zoning change that left homes virtually valueless

March 18, 2019

By Brianna Kelly : secondwavemedia – excerpt

City officials have been working with residents of the Bell-Kramer neighborhood on Ypsilanti’s south side to reverse a zoning decision that inadvertently made homes uninsurable and unsellable.

A dozen residential properties on Bell Road and Kramer Street were included in the area’s rezoning to industrial use due to their proximity to a former city-owned landfill. The rezoning established the houses as “non-conforming structures,” so residents were able to continue living in them, but they weren’t able to repair or rebuild the houses if they were damaged. The city amended its zoning ordinance in 2017 to allow for existing residential structures to be rebuilt, but they couldn’t be expanded and new residential structures could not be built.

“It sent out a big scare amongst the homeowners down here for the simple fact that first of all our property was worth nothing during the time that it was zoned under (production, manufacturing, and distribution),” says Bell-Kramer resident Michael Simmons, whose family has owned a home in the neighborhood for more than 40 years. “If we had a fire, we couldn’t rebuild on the property. We couldn’t build additions to the property.”

City officials say they sent notice to all of the affected Bell-Kramer residents before making any changes, but homeowner Erin Snyder says she and her neighbors only received letters from the city after the area had already been rezoned to production, manufacturing, and distribution (PMD). The rezoning had been in effect for a couple of years before the unintended consequences actually came to light when Snyder tried unsuccessfully to sell her home…

Simmons believes the rezoning issue could’ve been avoided entirely if city officials were more proactive and transparent. He would like the city to stop forging ahead on what it thinks would be best for the community instead of figuring out what the community feels is best for it.(more)

Add this to the list of unintended consequences.

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