Detroit City Council: Approve Hantz Farms Project
  • Petitioned Council President Charles Pugh

This petition was delivered to:

Detroit City Council
Council President Charles Pugh
Mayor Dave Bing
Detroit City Council
Councilman Gary Brown
Detroit City Council
Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins
Detroit City Council
Councilman Kenneth Cockrel
Detroit City Council
Councilwoman Brenda Jones
Detroit City Council
Councilman Andre Spivey
Detroit City Council
Councilman James Tate
Detroit City Council
Councilman Kwame Kenyatta
Detroit City Council
Councilwoman Joann Watson

Detroit City Council: Approve Hantz Farms Project

    1. LEAP Detroit
    2. Petition by

      LEAP Detroit

      Detroit, MI

January 2012


LEAP Detroit (The Lower Eastside Action Plan): December 11, 2012 Detroit City Council, amidst fiercely vociferous opposition, voted today to sell city-owned vacant land for the Hantz Woodlands project. After many months of educating residents on this project and connecting them directly to Hantz Woodlands president Mike Score, a "silent" majority of supporters reached out to Council and the Mayor by mail, phone, email and in person. We collected over 200 signatures of support through and numerous supporters through neighborhood canvassing, community dialogue and resident engagement. While we understand and advocate for land procedural and policy reform, that means nothing to those living in severely blighted areas TODAY. Though the those who support this project were not adequately or evenly represented in mass media or public hearings, we're grateful that Council heard our voices and that our neighborhoods will be positively impacted now instead of generations ahead.

Updated December 2, 2012:

On Monday, December 10, 2012 at 6pm, the Detroit City Council will hold a public hearing regarding the Hantz Woodlands project. It is very important for Council to hear from all of you who support this project. We encourage you to come out and demonstrate your support.

Public Hearing on Hantz Woodlands

Monday, December 10


Eastlake Baptist Church

12400 E. Jefferson (at Conner)

Detroit, Michigan 48215



Hantz Woodlands, a subsidiary of Hantz Farms, is a locally owned LLC funded by The Hantz Group. The mission of Hantz Farms is to help people achieve their life dreams, and to build more sustainable communities. It is important that the City of Detroit support this mission and approve Hantz Farms.

Hantz Woodlands is a forestry based investment that is designed to repurpose vacant, blighted properties through the planting of trees and ornamental plants. Placing city owned properties back in the marketplace will provide the city with revenue from the sale of surplus property, improve quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods, and reduce city operating costs by transferring maintenance costs to a private sector company.

Hantz Farms has changed and modified its original proposal in response to community feedback. Since John Hantz also lives in Detroit, directly adjacent to where his company’s investment will be, he will be more accessible and responsive. A pending agreement between Hantz Farms and the city of Detroit was developed during four years of negotiations where community concerns were taken into account.

The choice of producing mixed hardwoods and ornamental plants takes into account resident concerns about potential impacts of more intense types of land management. Part of the agreement will provide community gardeners, property owners and neighborhood associations with a first option to purchase parcels that they manage as part of neighborhood improvement efforts.

Hantz Woodlands’ choice to grow trees and ornamentals expands local efforts to improve water quality and reduce pressure on storm water systems. Hantz Woodlands specifically chose not to grow fruits and vegetables so that local gardening programs will not be negatively affected by this neighborhood improvement investment.

In negotiating a purchase price Hantz Woodlands has agreed to pay above market prices for vacant, publicly owned parcels. In purchasing land from the city Hantz Woodlands will be required to comply with local zoning ordinances.

The Hantz Woodlands’ investment will include a commitment to remove city-owned blighted structures. Brush that has grown in alleyways and fence rows will be removed to improve neighborhood beauty and safety. Illegally dumped debris will be cleaned up as part of the process of repurposing land. Costs of cleanup work will be recovered over several years through tax credit agreements. In effect, Hantz Woodlands will be prepaying property taxes for the land they would purchase, with the investment being focused on addressing long-standing neighborhood needs.

The ultimate trigger for Detroit’s reinvention is when the private sector—nonprofits and for profits alike— begin to reinvest in our land. For too long we have witnessed economic decline in our neighborhood and been largely ignored by private investment. Hantz Farms presents an opportunity to change that. Thousands of city-owned vacant lots could be repurposed by the private sector to produce jobs and other economic, social and environmental impacts. The Hantz Farms proposal is one means toward this end. Investments by organizations such as Eastern Market Corporation, The Greening of Detroit, the Black Food Security Network and others groups are also important private sector investments. There is room for all.

Hantz Woodlands has reached a working agreement with local organizations through the Lower Eastside Action Plan (LEAP), and is committed to investing in ongoing neighborhood beautification that will make neighborhoods more beautiful and livable. Mechanisms have been developed—a Community Agreement and a Community Advisory Council—to continue this dialogue between Hantz Farms and local stakeholders.

Because of Hantz Woodlands’ close collaboration with neighborhood leaders and their commitment to improve the livability of Detroit neighborhoods I support a vote by City Council to sell surplus property for the development of Hantz Woodlands.

For more information, like Hantz Farms LLC on Facebook or visit their website (


Updated August 23, 2012:

Because Hantz Farms is part of the Detroit community they have agreed to present their agreement to City Council after the city completes the development of an agricultural zoning ordinance and streamlined policies for selling surplus land. This work is projected to be completed in Fall of 2012. If the policies are not in place before the end of 2012, Hantz Farms will revisit the issue of timing for presentation of their agreement for deliberation.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 200 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Joseph Johnson LANSING, MI
      • almost 2 years ago

      It's a proposal for use of the land which would benefit the public in general, and decrease worldsuck.

    • Richard Swift OKEMOS, MI
      • almost 2 years ago

      I like this dream.

      • almost 2 years ago

      I've taken a survey. the local squirrels are for this. the local rats are against it. seriously, we are neglected down here and i would like to see some progress towards making the area clean and safe.

    • Nate Egger DETROIT, MI
      • almost 2 years ago

      This is a wonderful and much needed step towards revitalizing a large number of the blighted streets and lots in my neighborhood.

    • Paul Nieratko BATH, MI
      • almost 2 years ago

      An incredible vision for a self sustaining redevelopment of an urban neighborhood. Urban farming is a proven way to re-connect people in local action toward creating better places to live. Creates an opportunity to teach sustainable landscape and farming practices to future generations. Supports growth with a local focus: "growth and healing starts at home".


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