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E-M:/ Sprawl Wars



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Until recently, I have always been at a loss to explain how countries like
India and Pakistan can get to the point where they are fighting a war over a
chunk of land.  Now, as the Sprawl Wars between Meridian Twp. and East Lansing
escalate, I am beginning to get a taste of how idiotic people have a potential
to be.  This may be where concealed weapons really come into play!

When we last left our story, the city of East Lansing was welcoming with open
arms a manipulative developer who was upset that Meridian Twp. residents had
succeeded in putting a rezoning vote on the ballot in November.  The project
is a golf course and 200-250 home proposal in the southwest corner of Meridian
Twp.  The developer, through remarkable map making, had succeeded in drawing
lines from his property through part of Michigan State University's farm
country to connect the disconnected development parcel with the city of East
Lansing, while gerrymandering out the neighbors who were known to support the
referendum.  A vote of the those who reside in the area to be annexed (4,
count 'em 4 people) and a vote of East Lansing residents must be taken, both
achieving a majority, in order for the annexation to move ahead. The elections
were scheduled for August 3.

Turn to a new chapter.  Meridian Twp's Board, the group that upset the
residents so much in the first place by ignoring their concerns about this
proposed project, decides to move up the referendum on the rezoning issue to
July (instead of November) in order to try to get ahead of the annexation vote
and resolve the rezoning, with the hope of keeping the development.  The vote
will cost $16,000 (unlike holding the election on the General Election), but
the Twp. Board figures it is worth it to try to keep a prospective $400,000 in
taxes annually from the parcel.  The developer, ever the peace maker, says he
doesn't give a hoot -- even though it will cost three times as much in taxes
for the people who eventually buy into this project, he will spite Meridian
Twp simply because he can.

Open today's paper and there we learn that East Lansing has decided to move up
the annexation vote to the same date as the Meridian Twp. vote.  Mayor Mark
Meadows says it "isn't aggressive.  It's good policy. We can all find out in
one day."  Yeah, that is sort of like Judgement Day or Armaggedon --
convenient as all get out.  

The only rationale voice in this article, speaking for the common person of
both communities I would think, particularly those who think this is childish
and dangerous to our entire area (hey, with this and riots at MSU, we have a
ready made advertising campaign for this area!), is a resident who observes:
"It just all seems so silly to me.  It doesn't have to be this way.  That
they just keep playing ball with each other.  It's in your court. No it's in
your court."


Anne Woiwode



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