Ypsilanti rezones Ecorse Road properties in effort to spur business activity
A tract of parcels along Ecorse Road will be rezoned as the City of Ypsilanti attempts to spur the area's business activity.
At their Tuesday night meeting, council members approved rezoning the properties from B1 neighborhood business to B2 community business along the west side of Ecorse and south of East Michigan Ave.
The change allows for businesses such as bars, medical marijuana dispensaries, hotels and other businesses that could potentially attract greater activity to the area. Business will also be allowed to operate until 2 a.m. instead of midnight.
The city's defined purpose of B1 zoning is to “provide for the convenience shopping of persons living in nearby areas." Businesses in those zones are limited to 4,000 square feet, while those in B2 could provide “major retail shopping areas outside the downtown area.”
The city has seen greater demand for B2 businesses throughout the city, and Assistant City Planner Bonnie Wessler told council the rezoning is “consistent with the changes of the landowners” on the stretch.
Additionally, the city’s master plan calls for the parcels to be rezoned to community business.
The planning commission recommended council rezone properties on the 200 and 300 blocks, but council amended the resolution to exclude the 300 properties. Three properties were rezoned in April to help accommodate a party interested in opening an American Legion Post at 100 Ecorse Road. Wessler said those parcels were addressed first because the American Legion owners were on a tighter timeline, and the city wanted to give proper notification to all the property owners affected.
Multiple issues were behind a decline in business activity in the area, Wessler said, but she highlighted the "lack of a destination” along the roughly quarter mile stretch. She said most of the traffic in the area is just traveling through.
Traffic counts averaged 10,000 cars daily at the last available count in April 2009, and that number had been steadily declining over the last three years.
Council Member Brian Robb expressed concerns over how increased business activity might affect residents in the surrounding single family homes. Bars can now stay open until 2 a.m. next to the homes, and there isn't a similar arrangement elsewhere in the city, he said.
"I just believe this is too intensive of a use to be next to single family homes," Robb said.
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com. For more Ypsilanti stories, visit our Ypsilanti page. Contact the news desk at email@example.com.