This page has been updated to include the August 17 City Commission Presentation. A vote on the Chapter 18 and 18A proposal is expected to take place at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 8.
The City Commission will consider offering the proposed updates to Chapter 18 and Chapter 18A for first reading at its meeting on Monday, August 17 at 7 p.m. A vote on the proposal is expected to take place in September. Information about the proposed updates and their development is provided below, including draft documents. City Commission meeting agendas are available here.
In February 2020, the City Commission reviewed a proposal to update Chapter 18 of the City Code of Ordinances. This chapter addresses community relations and discrimination. The proposal would strengthen protections for Kalamazoo residents related to housing. The proposal was developed in collaboration with community partners including Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community (ISAAC), and Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo. If adopted, this would be the first significant change to address housing issues in Kalamazoo since gender identity and sexual orientation were added as local protections in 2009.
The update would expand housing protections to include educational affiliation, source of income, status as a victim of domestic violence, personal identification method, and prior arrests or conviction record.
The proposal also protects renters against predatory application fees and strengthens enforcement for gender identity and sexual orientation.
To enforce new and existing provisions in Chapter 18, the ordinance would create a Civil Rights Board. The Board would review allegations and violations of the ordinance. Another role of the Board would be to make recommendations to the City on how practices or polices that lead to discrimination can be changed.
City staff have planned several community conversations throughout August. Forums will be held with landlords and with housing partners and advocates. A virtual townhall was held on August 10 to answer community questions about the proposal and how it would affect landlords and tenants. A summary of this townhall is provided below.
The proposal is expected to be presented to the City Commission for first reading in August, with a public hearing expected in September.
pdf Chapter 18 Redline (276 KB) , Updated July 15, 2020
In March a presentation was recorded on the proposed updates to Chapter 18. You can watch the presentation below.
A more recent update was provided to the City Commission at its meeting held on July 20, 2020: