Call to Action: Demand City Council support the Equitable Detroit Coalition and Detroit People’s Platform “Must Have” Amendments for REAL Community Benefits!

Join Us! Thursday, January 30 at 6 PM
IBEW Hall, 1358 Abbot St., Detroit 48226
Hosted by Detroit City Council Legislative Policy Division

Since Bankruptcy and Emergency Management the City of Detroit has facilitated the transfer of over $1 BILLION in public funds to private economic development projects. The movement for a Community Benefits Ordinance (CBO) emerged as a grassroot response to interrupt extraction of public wealth and resources and the negative consequences for Detroit neighborhoods.

In 2017 Equitable Detroit Coalition (EDC), the citywide CBA coalition along with Detroit People’s Platform (DPP) began monitoring the newly passed Community Benefit Ordinance (CBO) which applies to large scale development. Voted in by a narrow majority in the 2016 general election, Proposal B represented an austere version of the more progressive community benefit ordinance (Proposal A) put forth by EDC and DPP voted on by nearly 100k Detroiters.

In 2018, EDC and DPP issued a report calling for major revisions to the current ordinance. The amendments brought forth are more aligned with the spirit and intent of a genuine community benefits ordinance where residents have voice and power in negotiating agreements that represent neighborhood priorities. In response to community pressure, 2019 saw Detroit City Council proposed 17 amendments to the CBO and invited community feedback.

On January 30, 2020, Detroiters will have an opportunity to offer recommendations for the proposed CBO amendments at a stakeholder meeting hosted by Detroit City Council’s Legislative Policy Division. We invite Detroiters to organize with us and demand change by endorsing the EQUITABLE DETROIT COALITION’S AND DETROIT PEOPLE’S PLATFORM “MUST HAVE” AMENDMENTS.

Detroit City Council is seeking resident feedback on 17 proposed changes to the CBO.

READ the proposed amendments and EDC’s recommendations

Equitable Detroit Coalition and Detroit People’s Platform support 7 of these as MUST HAVE Amendments.

EDC’s and DPP’s MUST HAVE Amendments at a glance:

YES 1. Lowering the threshold to $50 Million
YES 2. Neighborhood Advisory Council Chair to Enforcement Committee
YES 3. Lowering Tier 2 Development Project threshold to $300,000
YES 4. Increase the number of meetings
YES 5. Expand Notification to Project Impact Area
YES 12. Essential Documents to Neighborhood Advisory Council within 72 hrs
YES 15. Enforcement Mechanisms, including but not limited to Clawbacks

Above and beyond the changes being considered, EDC and DPP are calling for these MUST HAVE “NEW” CBO Amendments:

1. Restructure the Neighborhood Advisory Council!

Under the current ordinance, City officials select 7 of the 9 NAC members. The City’s power in selecting the majority of NAC members restricts authentic community engagement and communityempowerment in the development process. EDC and DPP recommends expanding the NAC to consist of 15 members; 7 Community Members selected by residents of the Impact Area, who select 6 Issues Members representing: Education; Local Business; Faith Based/Community Ministries; Local nonprofits and neighborhood groups; Senior Residents; Youth Resident Panel (aged 13-18); and Two Labor Union Members, one from the Building Trades and one from Service Unions. EDC/DPP also recommends that NAC members must have a minimum of 5 years residency in the impact area.

2. Increase Transparency – No Conflict of Interest/Effort!

Currently the ordinance does not require members of the NAC to reveal potential conflicts of interest Recent NACs have included board members of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), active city employees and individuals with close ties to the project developer. These power relationships tend to crowd out the voice of everyday residents.

What’s Conflict of Interest? Those individuals nominated for NAC membership who have competing affiliations or interest that may result in the perception or the reality of an increased risk of bias of judgment in upholding the NAC member responsibility to prioritize the interest of community residents over the interest of city officials, developers, and others who stand to gain material benefit or influence should be restricted from serving on the NAC.

What’s Conflict of Effort? A situation where demands from separate entities jeopardize the duties and responsibilities associated with one or more of those entities: i.e. outside consulting activities interfering with duties of one’s primary employment

3. Assess the Project’s Impact on Quality of Life!

As part of the CBO process, developers must complete an equitable development score card that details relevant assessments including but not limited to health, social and environmental impacts on residents who live in the impact area and nearby neighborhoods.

4. Require Creation of a Legally Binding Community Benefit Agreement!

Under the current ordinance, the CBO process many be finalized without the creation of a legally binding community benefits agreement. The CBO Process should not be permitted to close until a legally binding agreement is negotiated between the NAC and Developer.

Learn More: MEDIA

Why Detroit’s tool to force developers to invest in community is coming up short

Some residents and members of city council feel the Community Benefits Ordinance isn’t working—and are proposing changes