"The problem is that the City government and administration has totally" excluded them from the process, says a commenter.
Same commenter says that Councilman Roy McCallister supported one thing then turned around and stood with the Mayor, without telling the neighborhood about the change.
A commenter talks about how if Amazon is coming in, they need to be allowed to organize.
He also says the historic Coliseum could be half transit center, half destination with stores! I love that idea SO MUCH. How nice would it be to wait for the bus in a place with little shops, and have that beautiful building transformed into a shared asset
"I'm disappointed that there isn't a greater priority for Detroiters for these jobs. I'd like to see a commitment for Detroiters' applications to be reviewed first, and for workers to be allowed to organize," says Sam Butler of Doing Development Differently Detroit.
He also is pro historic preservation, and mentions the possibility of putting the bus station in a historic building.
Renard Monczunski of Detroit People's Platform says they have yet to hear back on their Title VI concerns or to hear when a DDOT hearing will be scheduled about this. He said "You can't move a transit center in a majority Black city and not talk to bus riders."
Another thing about online public hearings is that if they are camera off, you can't make supportive or "are you HEARING this???" eye contact with peers
"We have a real history in the city of Detroit of broken promises from City leaders and corporate leaders," says a commenter. He talks about how GM Poletown justified the destruction of a whole neighborhood and there have never been more than 2,300 jobs there.
A woman who lived 50' from where the berm is gonna be is very concerned about the air and soil, esp with diesel. "What am I gonna inhale when I mow my grass and plant my garden? ...Jobs are very very important to the city, but so is our health." Babies live on her block.
Multiple commenters have pushed back against the requirement that people give their name and address. One got back in the queue to ask that her address be stricken from the recording and record.
Nancy Finegood, Director emerita of Michigan Historic Preservation Network, commends the City for the good maintenance condition of the National Register buildings. "Why can't the transit center be moved just a few hundred feet north to avoid demo of the Coliseum?"
Nancy also suggests saving the National Register buildings in the Fairgrounds for a later phase of development. "Those buildings are not only structurally sound, they're culturally significiant to the Detroit community."
I am not the only one who thinks a lot of these pro comments sound similar enough in language to have been coached :)
A man named Marcus says "I cannot support this project" and it's not what that area was zoned for. "When we initially signed on to this project at Schaefer 7/8, we were not told the zoning would be industrial." He said the process has been rushed and traffic would be detrimental.
Marcus from Schaefer 7/8 (a neighborhood group) says when his group signed off on the project, they were told it would be more small businesses, not the thing that is proposed now.

That's... wow.
A woman who has family in the district is "very much concerned you are trying to make industrial" zoning in the area. She doesn't believe the community was informed.
Several union dudes who are about to make some money speaking in favor of the project.
People on the Planning Commission asking the union guys to "actually train some Detroiters to operate the heavy equipment."
Public comment concluded. 4.5 hours of this meeting so far.
I am still listening to the meeting and also I am going to make myself some pizza rolls as a reward for 4.5 hours of meeting
"Just a reminder, Administration is requesting same-day action," says City staff. Duggan wants it to go through.
Today's proposal to amend the master plan re: the Fairgrounds is because the City can't sell things that are designated as a park in the master plan.

I want 2 scream
Regional park is the site's current designation. City planning staff is arguing based off zoning minutia it's justified
Every time the City of Detroit says it has not been used for ten years it's like

You guys know that's a self own, right?

You know you're not exactly saying what you think here?

(It's also not fully true, Dumars Fieldhouse folks have called that out)
"The Coliseum is slated for demolition but is structurally sound," notes CPC staff. She asks whether some portion of the building could be incorporated into the transit center.

I really hope we get better than salvaged ornament plugged into a tacky new brick building. I hope.
I would rather some salvage than none, but we! can! do! better! than! that!

It's an ENORMOUS site, come ON you can have multiple things there.
CPC recs:
1) form a body to take ongoing community comment
2) health impact study incl. environmental measurements
3) study the feasibility of using some portion of the Coliseum into the new transit center
4) create an MOU for other commitments to the project
That's the staff recommendations in the previous tweet. Response from the team has been to have Council pass them as resolutions
Here's the recs screencapped
Ooh almost to five hours! Almost to five hours

I think my longest public hearing I ever attended was six hours, which was a Detroit City Charter Revision Commission hearing. It was during movement and you could hear the basslines from across the street inside of CAYMC.
Ray Diggs calls this a once in a generation project.

I think we get magical silver bullet development proposals more often than that tho?
They are trying to argue it's not a park. It's literally the literal actual physical State Fairgrounds.
Mikel Oglesby who is the Director of Transportation for Detroit is speaking. Six lines go into the existing bus hub. Same routes will be provided at the new center. 54 Wyoming, 30 Livernois, 17 8 Mile, 12 Conant, 4 Woodward, 23 Hamilton.
He talks about the change to having a drivers' lounge, solar panels, restrooms, and a protected waiting area
He's selling the "this will be a transit CENTER, not a transit hub" thing really hard. I do agree the proposed center will be way better even if details have been witheringly scarce, but it's... well, I know sales when I hear them
Duggan wants this to happen, Duggan gets things said.
Someone from the City’s team is justifying this based off jobs because of COVID creating increased need.

Fair point but Amazon is famous for having unsafe COVID practices in their warehouses.
When Tlaib and Dingell were allowed to enter the warehouse, known as DTW1, they discovered what they described as “unacceptable and unsafe conditions that workers have been telling our offices for months.”

metrotimes.com/news-hits/arch…
Also from the article on Tlaib and Dingell visiting Amazon:

“Employee screening is poorly executed, cleaning is insufficient, social distancing is often difficult or impossible, and Amazon’s relentless quota system does not allow for breaks for adequate personal hygiene.”
So they want to do commitments via council resolutions
They want to talk about preserving “elements of” the buildings. Hunting trophies are better than no preservation, but damn.

They are adding team capacity to explore preservation or relocation. Why did you not have preservation capacity before????????????????????????????????????
They feel the city council resolution process will allow for enforceable commitments
Im sorry i need to circle back to the fact that they BOUGHT THE ACTUAL STATE FAIRGROUNDS and DID NOT HAVE HISTORIC PRESERVATION CAPACITY ON THEIR TEAM

the disrespect

the assumptions

the shortsitedness
[ten tweets’ worth of vomit emojis]
A commissioner asks a detailed question about pedestrian pathways, and city planning staff defers bc it’s not technically a rezoning so they are not looking at the site plan
The commissioner asks why there is a tight timeline. Sounds like a combo of pressure from amazon and the Duggan administration. Duggan wants it at council the first week in October
They ask about the most importantt historic buildings. Honestly we’ve unified behind the national register buildings BUT my piping hot take is save em all 😈
Only saving the National Register of Historic Places buildings at the State Fairgrounds is already a compromise position 😇
The director of public works says pedestrian facilities will be constructed on Complete Streets standards, incl. with an extra wide sidewlk
A commissioner requests them to put pedestrian greenways thru the site. It’s not planned at this time, they respond
How are you gonna build a potentially carbon neutral building with 1800 parking spaces for 1200 jobs?
Amazon is “creating opportunities” for people to start their own delivery service businesses. Sounds like uberization of the workforce IMO
Commissioner Pawlowski asks why Amazon doesn’t have reps at the meeting. Only the developer does.
So someone is buying the property and building the facility for amazon “in anticipation of their tenancy.” So negotiations are occurring with Hillwood and Sterling Group.

Wild that amazon won’t even own their facility??? What kind of investment IS this (rhetorical, thx)
I get that it’s late but they are really talking down to some of these commissioners if they have questions
Commissioner Lauren Hood questions the process and how they are being asked to vote on this so fast when MANY things in front of them move more slowly. She asks what her recourse is and says she doesn't want to vote today.
Lauren Hood also says she feels like the Fairgrounds Amazon deal is done and we can't change it.
She asks why there wasn't a public RFP for the Fairgrounds site
The City's team says it's a rare deal and could fall through if they wait too long. Okay plans normally get reviewed tho?
One of these team members (I don't have video on, listening to audio) really told her they're sorry if something made her feel that way. THEY'RE SORRY SHE FEELS THAT WAY
This is now the longest public hearing I have ever attended that I'm aware of.

If you have followed me for a while you know this is an ACHIEVEMENT.
A commissioner asks about the history of non-Detroit companies not hiring Detroiters, in violation of the ordinance requiring 51% of construction workers to be Detroiters. He asked how that will work, and noted unions have a history of excluding Detroiters
I think they asked if the $7mil for the transit center includes the demo costs. I missed that but they said demo will be "handled internally."
They are going to evaluate whether the buildings can be saved "during the next three months." They keep talking about it as parts of buildings, not whole buildings. What
"The money you saved by not doing demo, you would save by saving part of the building." HMMMMM MOTHERFUCKERS
Environmental "testing will be paid for by proceeds from the developer." So wait does that still take off the profit for the City
"This is a park that holds many memories for many Detroiters." Taking that away "is difficult," especially without having any open space for families, says Commissioner Webb.
They are planning new parks as a part of this, and they're in the neighborhoods, not within the site. :/
"I want to make one more statement. I think it's important that there is some type of MOU, so that when the City makes this agreement the company is showing that they are following through on the agreement," says Commissioner Webb.
"The user has identified this facility coming online the first quarter of 2022."

The world is changing this much and you want those buildings down now? rly
The developer says "[Amazon] don't want to be on the front lines if this deal blows up."

Welp
We're going to make it to seven hours, aren't we. I can't believe I told Marcus I would be done by 9:30
Commissioner Andrews asks if the historic buildings have "actual designation."

Yes, that's why people have been saying "the three National Register buildings" all night in comments.
They explained the National Register. "Are you saying there's a possibility we could get federal funds?"

They are looking at them as a part of the feasibility study they have committed to over the next 90 days.
The appraiser didn't look to those properties as adding value to the land. They assessed it as vacant land.

Oh.
I feel like I should get to turn on my camera and do a shot in front of everyone when they say the historic State Fairgrounds were assessed as vacant land
I'm pretty sure it's in the Michigan Open Meetings Act that if a public hearing goes 7 hours, they have to doordash everyone still in attendance a shawarma of their choosing.
City Planning Commission staff recommends approval of the Master Plan Amendment.

To address community concerns, they are making additional recommendations, which they want Council to set out in a memo.
I reiterate it is WILD they are just now adding preservation professionals for the team in redeveloping the HISTORIC STATE FAIRGROUNDS.

The time to do that was AT THE BEGINNING
City staff is trying to get guidance from commissioners on what info they need to gather by next week if they are going to give a vote an extra week (just... wow, as someone who has run planning commission hearings for a living)
Commissioner Hood says she would like for Amazon to send someone to the next hearing. If you want to be here, commit.
Commissioner Ellis wants to have more info about the Community Benefits Agreement not being triggered, I think due to a discount in the sale price of the land (I didn't get that whole part)
Commisioner Pawlowski asks for environmental sensors to be put up before construction, even a mile down the road. He points out there's a senior complex seven stories high adjacent to the site. He offers to buy the first 5-10 sensors himself, says they don't cost much.
A Commissioner says Amazon saying no one can be there "doesn't pass the smell test," given that you can call in from anywhere in the country now.
She also asks if the two National Register buildings besides the Coliseum can be considered for preservation--why was it not mentioned specifically at some point earlier? It wasn't intentional

All 3 buildings will be part of a feasibility study, says a commissioner.
She asks if there's space to have a state fair memorabilia exhibition somewhere on the site
They are again leaning on the timeline: "I hope that next week we will be able to handle this request very expeditiously." It'll be voted on next Thursday.
They didn't cover everything on the agenda. It's moved to a subsequent meeting.

OMG it's public comment time but they just opened then closed it? what is occurring
Cindy D says the side of the Coliseum with "that much air" means "it can be a safe place for people to meet."
Re: the appraisal, a commenter says "Other cities would view that as an asset rather than simply bulldoze it away.... This is OUR State Fairgrounds."
Peter Rhodes thanks the Commission for taking more time. Appraisal was $12m and the City is selling it for $9m. He says under fair market value kicks in the Community Benefits Ordinance.
Renard Monczunski thanks them "for protecting residents from what is obviously a rushed sale." He says they are "insult[ing] the residents of the city." He talks about the sheer number of parcels being sold
Frank Hammer stresses the need to consider climate change in the plan.
MEETING ADJOURNED 12:32 am.

Over seven and a half hours.
Soon I will send in more comments but for now I'm gonna go fall facedown in a sandwich
One last remark on this evening’s hearing

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More from @grenadine

24 Sep 20
Slipped into this Detroit City Planning Commission hearing, it sounds like they might be getting rid of a sculpture park along Alexandrine? Would that be the Robert Sestok park that has only been there a few years, I wonder?
It would be parking for the redevelopment of that school at Selden and the Lodge. Glad to hear it's being preserved. I share Lauren Hood's view that they need to seriously step up including Black people from Detroit (and paying them) on their team.
It's wild that the conversion of a former public school into private business is the agenda item preceding the conversion of the State Fairgrounds into an amazon warehouse.

Detroit deserves public space and public services.
Read 8 tweets
17 Sep 20
At the State Fairgrounds public hearing again. I can tweet notes later.

The short version is: This is a wildly wasteful site plan. It's developed

1) as if it's in a greenfield, not on a historic site in a city, and
2) with tons of unplanned/spec space!!!!!
HOW ARE YOU GONNA TEAR DOWN NATIONAL REGISTER BUILDINGS WHEN HALF YOUR SITE PLAN IS NOT EVEN PLANNED YET?

It looks like they want to put the bus station where the NR buildings are now. You have so much space that isn't actually designated for anything, put it there!!!!!!
Also how thee fuck are they putting the bus station in the middle of the site?? Do they know what buses... are

and how buses..... work

??????
Read 57 tweets
17 Sep 20
So there’s this thing on my block that looks like a driveway, but is too skinny to be a driveway.

It could maybe be used for a riding mower or a motorcycle, but I have never ever seen it being used.

Everyone on the block seems to avoid parking there, so I do the same.
I have wondered about it, because some nights it gets fairly parked up over here. If no one ever uses that driveway-like thing, why not park there?
I finally asked my neighbor about it.

He said the people who live over there do not ever use it, but that the one time he parked there for a few minutes, he returned to find the air had been let out of his tires.

How’s that for Hamtramck parking culture? Now I know.
Read 4 tweets
16 Sep 20
I could not even say. My grandparents survived the Holocaust (not everyone in my family did) and so the knowledge was just always kind of there, a reality of our story and of how you interacted with Grandma and Grandpa.
Even when we were too young to understand, we know you shouldn't say you "hate" something trivial (like broccoli) around them because they would become emotional and tell you you didn't understand what hate is.
Also couldn't be out of the line of sight sometimes. Had to play where you were around and visibly not being snatched.
Read 4 tweets
13 Sep 20
I GOT PAINTED TODAY. I look amazing 💅 ImageImageImageImage
If you’re like “wait, these tweets on urban policy & inequality were written by a sentient column?”

1) yes
2) every North St. Louisan knows about inequality
3) it’s RIGHT THERE in my avi
4) my cat types my tweets for me
“‘Just imagine what it’s going to look like tonight, lit up,’ said Clark, who grew up in nearby Jeff-Vander-Lou.

The spotlights around the tower have gone dark in recent years, he said. It’s been at least four decades since the landmark’s last makeover.”
stltoday.com/news/local/met…
Read 5 tweets
12 Sep 20
In 2001 I was in high school in Skokie, a very diverse Chicago suburb.

Discrimination against the Muslim kids started right away.

I think it was even the same day, Sept 11, that an Assyrian American classmate started getting told to go back where he came from.
My classmate also had people taunting him about "his uncles" doing the attack.

Lest you think it was only kids, we could palpably feel that our Muslim neighbors around the neighborhood were terrified.
I remember Muslim people in Skokie putting up American flags in a plea to not be attacked. A neighbor across the street taped one from the newspaper into their window. Around the neighborhood I'd see a van with a big flag sticker on each of its 4 sides.
Read 4 tweets

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