Elected officials fail to see big picture in business development


          Maybe we have beaten this issue to death, but it bears repeating once more, just in case any city official is reading this.

          At Tuesday’s meeting the city council, with the exception of Councilmember Cathie Gordon, approved the rezoning of St. Aubin St., from Holbrook to Denton, to allow light industrial and commercial businesses to set up shop as well as allow religious institutions to open.

          We have gone on record saying that we have far too many religious institutions in our commercial districts, and that city officials need to stop permitting them. Why? Because religious institutions don’t have to pay property taxes, and they also prevent businesses that sell or produce alcohol from operating within 500 feet of them.

          Hamtramck has 17 religious institutions crammed in this town of two-square miles. We are choking on churches, mosques and temples.

          We now have three mosques operating in the heart of the city’s business district at Jos. Campau and Caniff.

          How does any of this jibe with our city’s Master Plan for development? Why is it so hard for city officials to understand that commercial zones should be reserved solely for businesses?

          Where is our leadership?

          The rezoning of St. Aubin St. is such a waste of opportunity. The rezoning  will now allow a 52,000 square-foot former industrial building to be turned into a mosque.  

          Councilmember Anam Miah said that one of the reasons he voted to allow a religious institution to operate in this commercial zone is that it was ready to go and begin operation.

          Is that how we make decisions about economic development? Whoever shows up and makes a pitch is allowed to do whatever?

          City officials are failing miserably in marketing our city and attracting tax-paying businesses.

          Instead, we are turning this town into one church or mosque after another. Someone has to take charge and say enough is enough.

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