By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – The city plans to establish a green belt in the city’s south end to create a buffer zone between industrial and residential areas, Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said Sept. 8.
Hammoud said the green belt would be near Industrial and Eagle streets, and would include parcels which the city had acquired in the past.
“One side of Eagle is obviously heavy in industry and the other side is all residential,” he said. “So, basically, to Wyoming (where) that heads into Ferney and Industrial, with industry on one side, and the same with Eagle Street.”
Hammoud said it will beautify the area and will assist from a public health perspective.
“I think we can go a long way to reduce air and noise pollution,” he said.
Hammoud said there are parcels the city already owns, and other land which the city hopes to acquire.
He said if in the future they acquired the CSX Rougemere Yard railroad site it would be only for the sole purpose of planting there for green belt space.
Hammoud said the green belt would help de-industrialize that part of the city.
City Councilmember Robert Abraham asked it the land would be rezoned to reflect its use as a green belt.
Hammoud said it was the city’s intent to rezone it away from both industrial and business use, and said pines or other greenery would be chosen to best serve as noise and air filters.
“We think it is prime right now to do it because a lot of these businesses are winding down on this street, and we own quite a few parcels,” he said. “We are not too far from connecting the whole strip on Industrial, so we think it’s a great opportunity.”
Hammoud said there is an opportunity to get a problematic entity that is on the residential side of Wyoming out and to get them to a different parcel of land that the city owns, and at present, city officials are making sure that they are following all state and federal regulations to relocate the business.
Abraham praised creating a green belt zoning district and said it sends a positive message to the residents with respect to what the city wants and the direction it is going.
Hammoud said the city might be able to get foundation support to establish the green belt once all the land is acquired.
“It is obviously a great tool that we can use to invest in this space,” he said.
Hammoud said that because the city only wants to tear down structures and plant, and not dig and construct, it is not concerned about past environmental conditions on the green belt land.
“I think that part of town is exhausted, from my perspective, in terms of just noise and air pollution,” he said. “And so, if we can create a green buffer specifically around that portion of the district, I think we can improve the quality of life immeasurably.”
Hammoud said he believes that as long as the green belt land is not used for recreational purposes, soil testing for contaminants would not be required.