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Zoning may emphasize density, walkability in Midtown Detroit

DETROIT – Zoning regulations may be used in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood as part of an effort to increase population density and encourage more walkable areas.

Some boosters of the neighborhood want a relatively new type of city zoning to apply to a large swath of Midtown, The Detroit News reported. Created in 2014, the zoning would discourage single-story shops with a parking lot, a feature of strip mall development.

“Strip malls are totally against urban forms of creating density and it doesn’t promote walkability,” said Susan Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit Inc., a nonprofit that’s shaping much of the development in the booming area north of downtown.

City Council could decide on the new zoning as soon as this month. The zoning has been applied elsewhere, including parts of the Woodbridge and Corktown neighborhoods. But this is the first time it would be applied to a much larger area, the newspaper said.

In most of Midtown, future housing would be multistory apartments and condominiums and there would be fewer parking lots.

“What we want is continuous street wall,” Mosey said, describing development where buildings touch and street-level businesses could have housing above.

Strip malls and drive-thru windows for banks or fast food restaurants would need to clear extra bureaucratic hoops to get built. The zoning also would exclude domestic abuse shelters, pool halls, substance abuse centers, tattoo parlors and

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