Voter referendum would ban tall buildings in downtown TC

Sep 21, 2015

Developers have pulled plans for a nine-story building on West Front Street.
Credit The WODA Group

A voter petition to ban tall buildings in downtown Traverse City could soon be hitting the streets. A group opposed to tall buildings expects to submit its petition language to the city clerk by the end of this week.

Attorney Grant Parsons is leading the effort.

“We are not against large developments elsewhere that might work better but in the downtown area, it’s just too congested," says Parsons. "It’s a three-story town … at max.”

Parsons is against a proposal to build a nine-story building on West Front Street.

“You cannot possibly put this development on this size lot, this close to the river (and) plunk in the middle of Traverse City’s congested traffic, and not have it really ruin the nature of the vicinity,” he says.

State law says you can’t change zoning through a voter referendum but Parsons says his petition would only amend existing zoning rules. The petition would delete sections of the city’s zoning code that allow 100-foot-tall buildings in the downtown area.

If the petition is approved, supporters would have 30 days to collect more than 500 signatures.