Another Victory for Our Community

The City of Detroit’s Board of Zoning Appeals (The Board) dismissed an appeal from Detroit Bulk Storage—the company that was storing massive piles of petroleum coke on the Detroit River waterfront last year.  The original decision from the City’s Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) denied an application from the company to store petroleum coke at a site on the Detroit side of our waterfront.  The Board found that the applicants did not have standing to bring this issue before them since they were not the owners of the property. 


In the original decision the BSEED noted some of the negative impacts that storing petroleum coke on the waterfront at this location would have.  Below are some highlights of the BSEED decision:


  • ...approval of an additional industrial use (stockpiling petcoke) is contrary to the overall vision for the Detroit waterfront
  • The establishment, maintenance, location and operation of the proposed use will be detrimental to the social, physical, environmental or economic well being of surrounding neighbourhoods and will exacerbate the negative impact of the existing industrial uses thereby contributing to the physical, social or economic deterioration of surrounding area.
  • ...such operation (stockpiling petcoke) has demonstrated that this use is injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes permitted, specifically adjacent multi-family housing.
  • The establishment of the proposed use will impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of Detroit Riverwalk development project...
  • Per testimony, the applicant does not plan to enclose the Petroleum Coke material with an enclosed structure or utilize containment tarps and no measure exists to prevent vehicle tracking in the neighbourhood...
  • The proposed use involves activities, processes, materials, equipment and conditions of operation that are detrimental to the public health and general welfare by reason of excessive production of dust, fumes and odour.


The dismissal of Detroit Bulk Storage’s appeal is an unquestioned victory for our community as is the original decision of the BSEED.  As a part of that process I wrote the Board to apprise them of the position I’ve carved out in conjunction with the community on the issue of uncontained storage of petroleum coke on our waterfront.  I’ve attached a copy of that letter here.