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Rezoning would ban new strip malls in Detroit's Midtown

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The Ellington Lofts in Midtown Detroit. The AP reports a rent program is aimed at bringing young Jewish professionals back to Detroit's Midtown area or to the downtown area.

Future strip malls may not have a place in much of Detroit's Midtown district.

The Detroit News reports proposed new zoning rules aim to discourage new development of "single-story shops with a parking lot."

The News reports that the rezoning would also restrict developments including domestic abuse shelters, tattoo parlors, and soup kitchens in the area.

Sue Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit Inc., emphasized to the News that the ordinance would not apply to all of Midtown, and things like shelters could still be built in other areas of the neighborhood. Already-existing businesses would not be forced to move.

Dara O'Byrne is deputy director of Land Use and Policy for Detroit Future City. She helped write the new zoning language while working as a Detroit Revitalization Fellow in the city's planning department.

"It's really not meant to be for all over the city. It's really meant to be in targeted, strategic areas, where there really is a large desire for a more higher-density, walkable area," O'Byrne said.

She says the ordinance was intended for traditional main streets, or commercial corridors, such as Detroit's Cass and Jefferson East corridors.

"Even within a neighborhood center, you may only have one small kind of node that has this zoning, and then around it there may be other zoning that supports other uses and other styles of development," O'Byrne says.

The Detroit City Council could decide on the proposal as soon as this month, according to the News.

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