The city recently announced that it is partnering up with a state agency to streamline the process of businesses being able to open up here.
That’s long overdue good news. Unfortunately, because of the nature of bureaucracy, this plan will take some time to put into place.
One area that needs desperately to be streamlined is getting approval for a development, specifically one that is considered unconventional, or in the jargon of officialdom, “non-conforming.”
Case in point, a local dentist wants to turn an unused parking lot behind his dwelling into a small development of townhouses. The parking lot is pie-shaped, which presented a minor obstacle from the get-go, and there are several other zoning issues that needed to be waived.
While the development basically got the go-ahead from the Zoning Board of Appeals, it still has to jump through several more hoops with the Plan Commission, and possibly have to come back to the ZBA for more waivers.
The whole process, to us, seems too layered and cumbersome. The development is unusual, but there is plenty of room for the unusual here in Hamtramck.
In fact, during Hamtramck’s boom period, in the early 1920s, when the population went from a few thousand to close to 50,000, housing went up with lightening speed.
Yes, there were some unwise – and even dangerous – zoning developments. But the obstacles today tend to smother development just because it’s different. We don’t have to have everything look the same or conform to what’s considered the standard.
In other words, let’s be creative and open-minded. Heck, let’s even have some fun with development.
Hamtramck is not business friendly in that regard — but then again, that is true for many other communities.
We need to streamline many things in city hall. At least we are at a start toward a better direction. Let’s just cross our fingers that change doesn’t take so long that we miss out on some exciting possibilities.