Community Benefits Ordinance

What is the Community Benefits Ordinance?

The Community Benefits Ordinance (CBO) is a law that requires developers to proactively engage with the community to identify community benefits and address potential negative impacts of certain development projects. The ordinance was approved by Detroit voters in 2016 and amended by City Council in 2021.

When projects trigger the CBO process, a Neighborhood Advisory Council is established, with nine representatives from the project’s impact area to work directly with the developer and establish community benefits, which are included in the final development agreement approved by the Detroit City Council.

Since voters approved the ordinance, residents have secured a number of commitments and benefits from developers for their communities through the process. So far the process has secured key benefits for the community such as:

  • $2.5 million to build 60 outdoor basketball courts in parks across the city from the Pistons Practice Facility CBO Process
  • The restoration of an abandoned school field for sports and recreation use, including a skate park and free programming for local youth from the Herman Kiefer CBO process
  • A commitment to providing more affordable rentals for low-income residents from the Wigle: Midtown West CBO Process
  • And dozens more, outlined here for each of the projects

How Does the Community Benefits Ordinance Work?

The Community Benefits Ordinance applies when a development project:

  • Is $75 million or more in value
  • Receives $1 million or more in property tax abatements OR
  • Receives $1 million or more in value of city land sale or transfer

When a project meets one or more of these requirements, the Community Benefits Ordinance process begins with the City’s Planning Department (PDD). PDD reviews the project scope and defines the project’s impact area. The impact area boundaries are set by census tract but can be expanded to include additional impacted residents to ensure all residents in the impact area have an equal voice in the process.

Then, the city organizes community meetings over a three-month period to introduce the project to the impacted residents, determine potential impacts of the project and establish benefits for the community. The process takes about three months, usually over 5-6 formal community meetings depending on the size of the project and the needs of the community.

Who Can Serve on a Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC)?

The Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) is charged with advising the developer of concerns within the community impacted by a proposed development. They are the eyes and ears of community concerns on how development affects their well-being, convenience, and livelihood.

Eligible members must be:

  • Residents of the impacted area
  • Nominated by residents of the impacted area, and
  • At least 18 years of age

The NAC consists of 9 members, who are selected as follows:

  • 2 elected by residents of the impacted area
  • 4 selected by the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department (with preference given to residents expected to be directly impacted by the project)
  • 2 selected by the At-Large Council Members
  • 1 selected by the local District Council Member whose district contains the largest portion of the Project