Real Estate Insider: Vacancies on key Detroit commission prompt meeting cancellations

Some vacancies on the Historic District Commission are prompting delays in project approvals.

The expiration of two former commission member terms in February is having ripple effects into June as two meetings have been canceled due to lack of a quorum.

That’s causing some projects to wait a few more weeks to get the HDC sign off, which is required for work on historic buildings or homes in local historic districts.

The city hopes the issue is resolved soon and notes that the delays have been minor.

“It’s just a blip in the road,” said Shane Overbey, a contractor who’s working on a project at 445 W. Forest Ave. expected to go before the commission later this month.

Dan Austin, director of communications for planning, housing and development for the city which staffs the HDC, said Detroit developer Roderick Hardamon is being nominated to fill one of the vacant posts and will be interviewed by the Detroit City Council Internal Operations Committee on Wednesday with confirmation by the full council possible next week.

Hardamon has projects with other investors, including a new 30-unit apartment building called Osi Art Apartments @ West End and is working to get a new 38-unit building on West McNichols near Livernois out of the ground. Hardamon declined to comment on this nomination on Tuesday, but said the majority of the OSI project should be wrapped up this year, and that demolition should begin on the West McNichols / Livernois project this month.

“The mayor will be interviewing two others for the final seat in the days ahead,” Austin said in an email. “In the two cases in which personal matters left HDC without a quorum, we were able to meet the same month in a special meeting in order to continue moving the people’s business forward.”

The two former commissioners were Alease Johnson and Katie Johnson.

“I made a decision not to re-sign,” said Alease Johnson, who is operations manager for Friends of the Children – Detroit.

Austin said the city has “set out to find not only candidates who would meet the criteria for the seats, but would be most qualified to serve the people of Detroit and their interests.”

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