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E-M:/ All My Communities: The Avalanche Builds



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

The skeptics among you might think it couldn't be done, but I am increasingly
convinced that the current regime in Meridian Township can in fact reverse and
undercut virtually every single element of "smart growth" that still remains
in the township's ordinances and policies before the end of their term next
year.  It will be a challenge, but as evidenced in their current list of
activities and proposals, by golly this group could make it happen!

Here are the highlights/low-lights coming up in the next few weeks in Meridian
Twp, either at the Planning Commission or the Board level:

Meridian Twp's Commercial Core:  The center of retail economic activity in
Meridian Twp is around Meijer and the Meridian Mall, in about the center of
the Twp.  It appears the opportunistic commercial developers have seen the
convergence of a strong economy with a weak regulatory regime in this Twp.,
and are coming out of the woodwork.  On the agenda now or soon are:

- Meridian Mall is requesting to increase its size by 1/3 -- going from over
700,000 sqft to over 1,000,000.  The initial public hearing was held on that
last night, and it could be voted on within a few weeks.

- Wal*Mart is proposing a store just across the road and a little north of the
Meridian Mall, in a former farm field that has significant flood plain

- A rezoning request has been made by the property owners of the land Wal*Mart
is proposed to build on to change their single family homes/office/commercial
land to virtually all commercial, reflecting the rezoning by the Twp a few
months ago that is now on the ballot for Nov. 2 as a result of petitions.
A second owner next to the rezoned area is asking to be rezoned from office to
commercial as well.

- Across the street from the rezoning morass a Toys R Us will be built, with
some concern about the amount of green space being left behind.

425 Agreements/Governor's Club -- still:  The Board will decide in a few weeks
time whether to cede part of its sovereignty to the city of Lansing under two
425 Agreements made unnecessary by votes of the people turning down an
annexation and declining to overturn rezoning on the Governor's Club complex.
In exchange, the Board assures that there will be no opportunity for public
input into a 40 acre chunk of the area where hotel, condo, restaurant, driving
range, bowling alley, etc., can go in, AND the assure that Lansing water and
sewer will be available to undercut efforts to use limits on utilities to
limit growth.

Urban Service Boundary: The Planning Commission has promised to spend time
discussing and addressing the USB at its Work Sessions over the next few
months, but based on last nights work session where there was no discussion
about it, how this will be done is unclear.  There is growing concern that
they will simply wait until the public has gotten distracted then zap the USB
while few are looking.

Ember Oaks development:  If you can't undo the Urban Services boundary, maybe
you can undercut it.  A proposed development outside the USB but inside the
urban reserve, is before the Planning Commission, which is scheduled to vote
on Oct. 11.  The argument is no longer that the USB should be changed to
include this parcel, but instead that a virtually identical plan to one turned
down two years ago by the PC should be approved because it meets the Master
Plan's mandate that it be a "higher quality" development than would exist
otherwise.  The water and sewer access allow the developer to build 10 times
as many houses as without. 

So it goes!

Anne Woiwode



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