It seemed like a small matter in last week’s city council meeting.
But as is often the case, the devil’s in the details.
The council was presented with a resolution to update zoning requirements, and one item in that update drew quick attention.
That item was the taking away of council oversight in approving site plans.
Some members of the public, along with four councilmembers — Fadel Al-Marsoumi, Mohammed Hassan, Mohammed Alsomiri and Nayeem Choudhury — took issue with taking away council’s role in reviewing site plans.
Taking that task away, they said, would diminish the council’s voice in zoning matters.
On the surface, they had a point. But it showed that the four had failed to prepare for the vote, because rejecting the update came with heavy consequences.
It was pointed out that the resolution needed to be passed in order for the city to continue working with state economic officials toward streamlining the red tape that holds up economic development here.
Rejection of the resolution meant the possibility of missing out on various state programs and incentives.
It meant the city would get left behind.
And it was also pointed out that city councilmembers do not have the expertise to make such judgment calls in the first place.
That role is for members of the city’s Plan Commission.
As it turned out, after the resolution was rejected, the members who voted against it apparently realized their error, and agreed to allow the issue to move forward toward a final decision.
There are going to be more proposals down the road to further streamline doing business in Hamtramck. It would behoove councilmembers to do their research first – such as calling the city administration – on any proposal they might question.
Things are moving fast in Hamtramck, and councilmembers must get up to speed.
Feb. 21, 2020