[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

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



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from bonnies@cannontwp.org (Bonnie Shupe (Cannon Township))
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just want to clarify a couple of your assumptions.  Many people seem to think that townships want development because it increases their tax base.  I find this totally untrue.  First of all, most townships collect very little in property taxes.  We collect less than one mil for operations and 1 mil for fire protection.  Most townships in the Kent County area are trying to preserve open spaces and agricultural land.  We're against sprawl and against development in general.  We're trying to do the best we can with the property rights granted to the land owners by the state.  Development costs us more in infrastructure than we retrieve in taxes.

We have to balance the desire to protect our natural features and in our case "rural" atmosphere against the rights of the property owner.  There is only so much we can do.  Many times we can't say no to a development, even if we would like to because of a state law which supersedes our authority.  The new land division law is a good example of state legislation telling us what we can do.

I think you do many of us a disservice when you say we are uneducated on land use issues.  Most township officials in our area are well informed and eager to do the best we can.  In our area we have organized a group of communities to look into farmland and open space preservation - the North Kent Townships Association.  Many area organizations such as the Water Resources Institute at GVSU and the Grand Valley Metro Council provide workshops for local officials which are well-attended.  
Bonnie 

----------
From:  anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org[SMTP:anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org]
Sent:  Wednesday, May 19, 1999 6:40 PM
To:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject:  E-M:/ RE: / Meridian Twp.: Serving as a Bad Example Again 

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


SNIP
Just curious, but what is your solution to the problem of the many units of
local government we have in the state?  Put us all under leadership of one unit?

Bonnie Shupe, Cannon Township Clerk and Watershed Administrator

Bonnie:

There are many who can do a much better job of explaining how regionalizing
our planning and zoning efforts could be done. In the simplest sense it is
critical for our communities, which are already economically and socially
interdependent, to be tied together in our land use and planning activities.
We, meaning everyone except the specific developer of the moment, cannot win
if all it takes for them to get their way is to threaten to bolt to a
neighboring community, or threaten to sue, or bully local community activists
out of expressing their legitimate concerns.  

In East Lansing, Mark Meadows and the East Lansing City Council have a golden
opportunity to turn this mess into a positive situation -- they can look
beyond supposed pot of gold in taxes (which has been shown time and time again
not to really address the full costs to a community of new development) to
what this means to the REAL community here.  That community is the seamless
reality we live in -- the same people work in Lansing, live in East Lansing,
shop in Meridian Township, recreate in Holt and go to church in Williamston --
yet our political community fails to account for that.  

East Lansing could take advantage of this and leverage some enforcable
commitments out of the developers of the Governor's Club that would help
address the legitimate concerns of the neighbors, who will be neighbors
regardless of jurisdiction.  Wouldn't it be spectacular if East Lansing did
what Meridian Township had failed to do -- listened to the people who will be
directly effected by this development, and guarantee that their concerns were
met.  Just because the Governor's Club is going to seek annexation to East
Lansing doesn't mean that they would automatically get everything they asked
for. 

Seems like, as well, that MSU could take a role instead of remaining
"neutral".  After all, as a university with a tremendous agricultural and
natural resource base, there are many people at MSU STUDYING this very issue
who could assure that what is done here does not wreak havoc on reasonable
planning and zoning efforts.  Does MSU want to sit by passively and simply let
development occur around them with no input or opinion whatsoever, or will
this university actually turn its experts loose to help secure the best plan
and best outcome.  After all, MSU experts are always ready to give advice to
other communities and businesses -- don't they have at least as great an
obligation here in their own back 40 to give sound advice?

Those are a couple of thoughts.

Anne Woiwode



==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
==============================================================


==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
==============================================================