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E-M:/ Meridian Twp.: Serving as a Bad Example Again

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org


If anyone doesn't get it that Michigan's current morass of local governments
leads to irrational and environmentally damaging development, they need only
look at the top story in today's Lansing State Journal to shed light on this
anomaly.  A massive development has been proposed for southwest Meridian
Township, involving hundreds of homes a golf course.  The township approved
the proposal over stiff local opposition, and residents embarked on a
successful petition drive to place the rezoning on the ballot in November.
The petition drive engendered some of the nastiest attacks on activists that I
have seen in this state, including efforts to smear the organizers of the
drive, and fallacious claims that there was fraud in the course of collecting
the petitions.  

Now, the developer has decided they will get a better deal from East Lansing,
so in a gerrymandered petition have requested to be annexed to that city,
taking a significant portion of MSU with them, and leaving out the neighbors
who opposed the rezoning.  Because of the state law, the only people who can
vote on an annexation petition are those living within the area proposed for
annexation and those in the community to which they seek to be annexed.  The
story reports that the mayor of East Lansing, Mark Meadows, is clearly
delighted with this move, in part perhaps because the annexation would give
access to another sprawling community, Alaidon Twp., just south of Meridian.

It is the tragedy of our idiotic system that adjacent jurisdictions would be
so disconnected politically that such a manipulative scheme could even be
considered by developers, much less carried out.  By playing one community off
against another in the Lansing area we have seen common sense approaches to
planning and zoning be tossed aside like the toys in a Cracker Jack box.  The
only winners in this are invariably the developers, who don't have any
commitment to a community or to the area, but seek to maximize their profits
at the expense of those who call these places home.

Anne Woiwode

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