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Which plan for a new jail should Wayne County go with? See the details on proposals from Dan Gilbert and Walsh Construction.
John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press

Nicholas Miller, who lives within three blocks of the proposed site, filed a lawsuit this morning in Wayne County Circuit Court to stop the deal.

A Detroit resident is seeking an emergency court injunction to block the Detroit City Council from authorizing a land swap deal between the city and Wayne County that would allow billionaire Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures to build a $520.3-million criminal justice complex just east of I-75, near Warren Avenue. 

 

Nicholas Miller, who lives within three blocks of the proposed site, filed a lawsuit this morning in Wayne County Circuit Court against the city, Mayor Mike Duggan, the  City Council and Council President Brenda Jones.

The council is set to vote on the deal today, so it’s unclear how the lawsuit might impact it.

In the complaint obtained by the Free Press, Miller alleges that “multiple city officials have recognized that the county will not have to submit to city ordinances regarding the land use, traffic impact studies, site plan review or historic preservation that would otherwise be required” in similar projects.

Related: Detroit council takes up Rock Ventures land swap deal Tuesday to build proposed $520M jail

“The current site is not zoned for the uses proposed by the county and … the city has not fulfilled its statutory requirements to consider project impacts on traffic and historic preservation,” Miller wrote.

In the suit, Miller argues that the land in question, 1301 E. Warren, is currently zoned as M4 under the city’s zoning ordinance, which Miller says does not allow for office use or institution living use, such as jails or other correctional facilities.

Miller argues that the zoning code only permits institutional living within “PD” districts or “B6” districts, which he says in both cases would require a public hearing. 

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The two-count lawsuit is alleging negligence and a violation of due process. In addition to the injuction, Miller is seeking a traffic and air quality study, which he says is required by Detroit’s city code. He’s also requesting the city solicit a report from the Detroit Historic Preservation Commission regarding the impact of the proposed jail and courthouse on the East Ferry Historic District.

“…Plaintiff requests temporarily (to) enjoin the Detroit City Council and the City of Detroit from authorizing the sale of the northern 11 acres of 1301 E. Warren Avenue to Wayne County for 90 days or until aforementioned studies have been conducted andsubmiyted to council,” Miller wrote. “This should not be a substantial burden on the city or county’s timeline as DDOT would continue to occupy the site for at least 8 months after the transfer.”

Contact Katrease Stafford: kstafford@freepress.com or 313-223-4759

 

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