A Review of City Policies and Processes to Enable Five Land-Based Venture Types in Detroit
Report prepared for the City of Detroit's Planning and Development Department
Published: October 2018
Author(s): Center for Community Progress
To help strengthen the link between the reuse of land, entrepreneurship, and local job creation, the City of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department (City) engaged Community Progress to examine existing local codes and ordinances and identify barriers that would prevent the creation or expansion of land-based ventures. The City and Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) identified an initial set of five land-based venture types
1. Tree farm/plant nursery: Parcel(s) of land used to raise or harvest more than 10 containerized or in-ground trees or plants.
2. Orchard: Parcel(s) of land used to establish, care for, or harvest (for consumption) more than 10 fruit or nut-bearing trees.
3. Cut Flowers: Parcel(s) of land used to plant and harvest flowers.
4. Mixed/Urban Farm: Parcel(s) of land used to grow and harvest food and non-food crops for personal or group use.
5. Composting Facility: Parcel(s) of land used to make and sell compost.
The City and DLBA selected the five land-based ventures as the first options to explore, due to the high volume of inquiries they receive that fall into these categories. Community Progress partnered with the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center to explore potential barriers to land-based venture development including zoning, environmental regulations, laws and ordinances around composting facilities, and real property disposition policies. We concluded that all five uses are allowed at some level in the city, and public entities can dispose of their significant land assets to private entities for the five land-based ventures. While there are no outright legal barriers to land reuse for the five land-based ventures, there are significant hurdles that land-based ventures and the City will encounter as it works to increase the number of land-based ventures (volume), and size of land-based ventures (scale).
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