Birmingham debating minimum downtown height rules

While most so-called progressive cities in
Michigan are struggling with capping building height, Birmingham is
looking at ways to make them taller.

The city’s planning
commission is looking at reforming its ordinances to allow additional
floors on its downtown buildings for residential space. It’s also
looking at setting a minimum height for structures in the downtown area.
That’s an about face in conventional wisdom in local planning, where
public officials regularly bend to the whims of people who want to
freeze their one- and two-story city centers in amber.

The first
ordinance change calls for allowing downtown construction projects to
build one story higher than rules allow. However, the catch is that
extra story must be for residential purposes and have a 10-foot setback.

The

other ordinance change would mandate that all buildings must be at
least two stories tall. The idea is to make the downtown more dense and
urban, steering it away from the suburban-style planning habits of the
mid-to-late 20th Century.

Source: City of Birmingham
Writer:

Jon Zemke