On Feb. 13, The city’s Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on whether to rezone a parcel of land on St. Aubin St. from industrial only use to multi-use.
The parcel in question is across from the former American Axle plant and runs from Holbrook to Denton. On paper it makes sense to allow businesses other than heavy industry to operate in this space because it’s likely industry will never return here.
But there is a serious flaw in this proposal. It would also allow a religious institution to open up here. There is a request to convert one of American Axle’s former buildings on this site into an Islamic center.
We have nothing against religious centers of any kind establishing in Hamtramck. But just not in our business districts.
This building in question generates almost $14,000 a year in property taxes. While that may not seem like much, if the Islamic center is allowed to open up here, it will be tax exempt.
Hamtramck is hurting for dollars. It cannot afford anymore tax-exempt facilities in its business district. Last year, the city lost $3 million in property taxes, according to the city’s most recent financial audit.
It gets even worse if a religious institution is allowed in this area – although it should be noted that a Hindu temple is currently operating there. If another religious institution is allowed, it will seriously cramp some other businesses – namely any business that sells or produces alcohol.
According to law, any business requiring a liquor license cannot operate within 500 feet of a religious institute. Nor can a medical marijuana facility.
The Plan Commission drafted this proposal, and it makes us wonder what in the world are the commission members thinking?
We desperately need tax producing businesses – not churches and mosques.
The Zoning Board of Appeals also has been allowing more and more mosques and non-profits to open in our business districts, and this madness has to stop. We need to rein in these commissions and boards before they bankrupt this city.
Obviously no one is overseeing these commissions or giving guidance.
The Plan Commission must reject this latest proposal and instead draw up a new proposal that bans religious institutions from opening up in business and mixed-use sites.
And whoever appointed all of the commission and board members need to find people who have a better sense of economic development because what they are doing is killing this city.