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Detroit: As Hotel Charlevoix Comes Down, Preservationists Walk Fine Line

One week after issuing a demolition permit, the city of Detroit has begun demolition of the century-old Hotel Charlevoix, a historic 11-story structure on the edge of downtown. The building had already been approved for demolition by the City Historic District Commission. It was initially labeled dangerous and slated for removal ten years ago, according […]

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Zoned Out! — New York and California Edition

What is smelly, makes some people happy but others very irate, and may be zoned out of cities? A) Fracking for natural gas B) Medical marijuana C) All of the above In opposite ends of the country, state courts this week upheld the cities’ ability to use zoning regulations to keep out two controversial activities […]

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Another State Takes Issue with Local Same-Sex Partner Benefits

Local governments that offer benefits to unmarried same-sex partners of their employees are violating a ban on same-sex marriages in the Texas Constitution, the State Attorney General announced this week in an advisory opinion. The opinion does not have legal force, but it does function as something of an invitation to lawsuits to test the […]

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Environmental Lawsuits: City Business or State Business?

The Texas legislature has long turned a disapproving eye to local environmental legislation through preemptive laws meant to override local initiatives, such as the Shopping Bag Freedom Act filed in response to a plastic bag ban in the liberal enclave of Austin. Last week, state lawmakers introduced a new twist by introducing a bill that would limit […]

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Chicago: Ashland Avenue is the Next BRT Corridor, City Says

Bus rapid transit will come to Chicago’s Ashland Avenue by 2016, the city announced Friday, in a $160 million effort to boost transit efficiency and reduce congestion on the Near West Side. Financed with a mix of federal and local money, the project will remove the interior lanes from Ashland, a major north-south thoroughfare, and […]

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St. Louis: NorthSide Renovation to Start Construction by Year’s End

After three years bogged down in court, the NorthSide Renovation Project will break ground by the end of the year, says developer Paul McKee. The project, a massive plan to transform vast swaths of derelict and underutilitized land north of downtown St. Louis into vibrant neighborhoods, had been stuck in limbo since 2009. Last week, […]

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Regulating for Density in the City With No Zoning

The City of Houston may be as well-known for its low-density sprawl as it is for. . . um. . . oil and the Astros? (What is Houston known for, anyway?) But even Houston has caught the density bug. City Council is considering a development code rewrite that (among other things) will allow densities up […]

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Update: Bisbee to Revise Civil Union Law

Last week, we wrote about Bisbee, an Arizona city that passed a law allowing same-sex civil unions and accompanying rights and benefits. This week, after legal pressure from the Arizona Attorney General, the Bisbee council voted to nullify the law, but the city plans to revise it to allow same-sex partner benefits while avoiding conflict […]

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The Future of Pittsburgh’s Police Residency Requirements

What is the value of community-based policing? Pittsburgh residents may soon find out. As Chris Potter of the Pittsburgh City paper reports in his April 3rd column, Pittsburgh’s long-standing requirement that city police officers live in the city is unlikely to be in effect for much longer. Pittsburgh police have long been required to live […]

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New Orleans and the “Economy of the Future”

New Orleans is not giving up, and it’s not merely trying to restore its status as a “sleepy southern belle.” According to Atlantic Cities, New Orleans is choosing a “third path” by aiming to transform itself into a regional innovation hub. The city is using its low cost of living, increasing quality of life, and […]

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