LANSING, Mich. (May 18, 2023) — Yesterday, Sen. Sue Shink’s (D-Northfield Twp.) Senate Bill 164 passed through the Senate. This legislation would modify the law for Business Improvement Zones (“BIZ”) to allow for some zones to be created using weighted voting by assessed or taxable value.
“I’m excited to see movement on this bill as it passes the Senate and now heads to the House,” said Sen. Shink. “This legislation increases the tools that business owners have at their disposal not only to improve our communities but also continue building on the state’s economic momentum. This is a win for our economy and our communities.”
A BIZ allows a group of property owners to establish a geographic area that can collect funds from its members and use those funds to invest in the zone. Such groups have been utilized in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids so far, but could be applied throughout the state. BIZs have been used to increase the amount of snow removal in a certain area, make aesthetic improvements and make other investments.
“Improvements to the BIZ law will enable stakeholders to invest in our community in a unified way. We appreciate Senator Shink’s work on this bill and look forward to its passage,” said Jeff Hauptman, CEO of Oxford Companies. “State and Eisenhower have the largest retail and office markets in the county, and a BIZ would allow us to work toward solutions for our unique challenges with a focus on improving walkability, aesthetics, and wayfinding. Bringing people together to solve local issues is really at the heart of this legislation, and the BIZ will result in more vibrant and cohesive neighborhoods.”
Until recently, the BIZ law allowed zones to be created using a variety of weighting tools. However, a change to the BIZ law in 2019 removed any ability to use weighted voting, which severely limits the flexibility and value of the BIZ. This legislation would restore the ability to use assessed or taxable value as a voting mechanism for some zones, which allows more local flexibility on how Zones are established and governed.
“This legislation will provide us with the flexibility we need to establish Business Improvement Zones in our region, including along South State Street, an important entry point to Ann Arbor. These Zones allow property owners to make improvements that will give these areas a real sense of identity,” said Paul Krutko, President & CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “Thank you to Senator Shink for providing her leadership on this effort.”
Senate Bill 164 now heads to the House for further consideration.