Keep religious centers out of commercial and industrial zones

Next week, the City Council will decide whether to rezone an industrial section of St. Aubin St., across from the former American Axle plant.

The city’s Plan Commission, whose members include Mayor Karen Majewski and Councilmember Tom Jankowski, has previously recommended the council to adopt the new zoning designation.

The proposal would allow light industrial, commercial businesses and even religious institutions.

The rezoning came about as a way to allow a mosque to open inside a 52,000 square foot building once owned by American Axle. The building is now called Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Islamic Center, and its organizers are waiting for the rezoning to begin operating.

We urge the council to reject this plan.

Our business and commercial centers need to remain just that. Allowing a mosque or church or temple to locate in these zones means a loss of property taxes. That’s not what our business zones are created for.

Also, allowing a religious institution to operate in these zones means businesses like a bar or a micro-brewery have to keep at least 500 feet away.

Hamtramck cannot afford to start limiting what businesses can set up operation. The city desperately needs more revenue, and property taxes are a major source.

While we wish the folks at Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Islamic Center no ill will, they should have first found out if they needed to be rezoned before they bought the building.

There are plenty of other areas in the city to set up a religious institution. Commercial zones are not a good fit.

City Council should reject the Plan Commission’s ill-conceived proposal and rezone the area, from Holbrook to Denton, as strictly light industrial and commercial only.

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