Detroit City Council voted Thursday to approve one of four possible options to draw new districts for city residents. The districts will govern elections for City Council and Police Commissioners.
Council selected "Option 3," a map that draws the districts along somewhat diagonal lines.
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City Council members held five public meetings to hear feedback from residents on the possibilites prior to the vote. And last week, after a fifth, unofficial option prepared by Data Driven Detroit gained some public support, Council advised its law and planning departments to take the map into consideration.
But the law department found the map lacking, and per its recommendation, Council moved quickly to a vote Thursday, even choosing to forgo debate on the maps.
The 'Option 3' map got five votes -- the majority needed to pass, with two votes going to 'Option 1,' and two going to 'Option 4.'
Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown told the Detroit News that resident feedback showed 'Option 3' was preferred by a 2-to-1 margin.
"It really was a no-brainer for me," Brown told the paper. "The city as a whole wanted 3."
Detroiters voted to adopt a council-by-districts system as part of the new City Charter, which went into effect in January. Vince Keenan, the man behind public voter information site Publius.org and a key organizer around the new charter, said after the vote Thursday he was disappointed that the Council did not consider Data Driven Detroit's map, but was relieved Detroit would finally move to a district system.
"We're going to have districts now and regardless of the configuration, it's going to be better," he said.
While Keenan said he would have preferred a map that kept Southwest Detroit intact, rather than link the area to downtown, he finds the approved districts "workable."
"I think it doesn't necessarily respect neighborhoods as well as it could have," he said, "but I genuinely am still enthusiastic about the districts and Option 3."
Compare Council's four original plans, as well as Data Driven Detroit's unofficial "Option 5" below:
The first option draws districts horizontally.
Option 2 uses vertical lines to divide the districts.
Option 3 is a "hybrid" version that draws a mix of horizontal and vertical district lines.
Option 4 accounts for the Bangladeshi community around Hamtramck.
This is the only official map of city neighborhoods, though members of the Planning Commission noted it is not comprehensive. The map marks subsectors used in the city's master plan.