Flint, MI– After five years of owning a vacant commercial building, Flint resident Victor Korea found a potential tenant. 

But when he went to the city’s Department of Planning and Development to request for location confirmation that would certify the tenant would be operating a business out of his building, he made a shocking discovery.

For the last few months, the city has been unable to process any applications because it does not currently have a valid zoning ordinance. A zoning ordinance is necessary to establish land development regulations and procedures for reviewing and approving proposed developments. 

“As a small business owner trying to follow the law, I beg you, especially the new council, to resolve this issue as soon as possible so that I can proceed to generate revenue for myself as well as for the city,” Korea said during the Flint city council meeting on Nov. 3. 

Suzanne Wilcox, director of the Department of Planning and Development, explained that this is a tricky situation, as the city is in the process of transitioning to a new zoning ordinance. 

“At this time the draft (proposed new zoning) code has been adopted and published in part, but it does not appear that the old zoning code was repealed,” Wilcox said in a written statement to Flint Beat. “This transition process is complex and multi-faceted, and we are currently evaluating the status of both of the Zoning Codes.  Due to the incompatibilities between these two codes all applications requiring Planning or Zoning approval cannot be processed or approved until we have resolved the issue.”

During the council meeting, Wilcox said she was working with the city’s legal department to find a solution. In her written statement, she said they expect to have a resolution to this issue as soon as Nov. 5, and would publish an update on the Planning and Development website. 

“We recognize that this situation is difficult for all and are trying to identify and implement a solution as quickly as possible while we work toward getting the draft Zoning Code adopted,” Wilcox said. “Please continue to check the City of Flint Planning and Development website for updates.”

Councilman Eric Mays requested a special order to discuss this issue at the next legislative committee meeting.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...

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