With a recently adopted Downtown Master Plan in place, the city of Clawson is wasting no time getting started with implementation. Since zoning is one of the city’s most effective tools for implementing the recommendations of the Master Plan, the city is moving forward with a zoning amendment project, which will include changing the way development is regulated downtown. Assisting the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Planning Commission is the community planning firm, Clearzoning, Inc., who helped the city with the Downtown Master Plan.
A key recommendation of the Downtown Master Plan is to encourage redevelopment while retaining the buildings and businesses that give the city its unique identity. The Clearzoning team will start the zoning project by asking residents and business owners to identify specific buildings downtown that people find reflect the city’s character. The team will examine those “precedent” buildings to determine how new development can be compatible and make a positive contribution to the fabric of downtown development.
The Downtown Plan envisions three zoning districts that align with the land use envisioned for the three downtown areas: the downtown core (right at the heart of downtown), the core fringe (away from the heart, but within an easy walk), and the core residential (areas adjacent to downtown that are primarily residential and support downtown). The new zoning ordinance will include standards for physical design elements and building form along with permitted uses. Standards will also be included that improve screening requirements to buffer parking areas, rooftop equipment, and trash containers from view. In addition, the city will explore how to permit innovative uses such as shared kitchens, pop-ups, and entrepreneurship incubators as well as create standards that extend the lives of historic residential structures by permitting adaptive reuse for non-residential uses that are generally compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.