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E-M:/ Sierra Club "Solving Sprawl" Report Rates Michigan

Enviro-Mich message from "Alison Horton, Sierra Club-Michigan" <sierrami@voyager.net>

News from Michigan
Sierra Club
300 N. Washington Square, Suite 411, Lansing, MI 48933   
(517) 484-2372

For Immediate Release:                     Contact:
Thursday, October 7, 1999               Alison Horton, Lansing
                                                             (517) 484-2372

    Sierra Club "Solving Sprawl" Report Rates
                   the States
New Report Finds Michigan Is Not Doing Enough to Manage
                  Urban Sprawl

LANSING   Michigan's urban sprawl problems are not inevitable,
according to "Solving Sprawl", a report issued this week by the Sierra
Club.  The Sierra Club's second annual sprawl report shows that states and
communities across the nation are using innovative tools to manage poorly-
planned growth.  Michigan, however, ranks as one of the worst states in
the nation when it comes to community revitalization and land use
planning, key building blocks for managing growth.

Today, announcing the report's Michigan findings and Sierra Club radio
ads currently running in the Detroit metro area on sprawl and smart
growth, Alison Horton, director of Sierra Club's Mackinac Chapter, said,
"We can start turning sprawl into planned growth here if Michigan starts
using the tools to manage sprawl that are proving successful in states and
communities around the country." 

The national report rates each of the 50 states by measuring progress in
four broad categories: open space protection, land use planning,
transportation planning, and community revitalization.  In each area the
report found states with innovative programs that are already working and
laggard states that have been slow to adopt sprawl solutions or are doing a
poor job of implementing them.

The report ranks Michigan 49th in Land Use Planning, 47th in Community
Revitalization; 14th in Transportation Planning; and 6th in Open Space
Protection. "Michigan compares badly to other states in solving its sprawl
problems," commented Sierra Club's Horton.  "Michigan doesn't even
have land use planning tools on the books, the only state that's done less to
adopt land use planning tools is Wyoming.   Where we do have some tools
on the books   for instance for farmland protection   the Sierra Club gives
credit for having a program on the books, but the reality is that Michigan's
farmland purchase of development rights program is a hollow shell that has
never been funded sufficiently to make a difference."

To give concerned citizens a chance to examine sprawl problems and
solutions in their communities, the Sierra Club has been sponsoring a series
of  "Tours de Sprawl" in Michigan this fall.  These bike and bus tours are
looking firsthand at urban sprawl.  To date tours have been held in
Washtenaw County and the greater Lansing area.  Coming up are Grand
Rapids area on October 9th, and Macomb County on October 23rd.  "We
are facing common problems in community after community, we need to
start putting common solutions in place," commented Lansing area Tour
organizer Maria Lapinski-Lafaive.  

The Sierra Club is also conducting a series of community workshops and is
running radio ads in Southeast Michigan this week to raise public
awareness that we can work together to solve sprawl problems.  "People in
Michigan need to know that we don't have to put up with the traffic
congestion, the air and water pollution, the loss of open space, the higher
taxes, and the deteriorating cities that come with urban sprawl," said Dan
Farough, Sierra Club campaign organizer.  "There are solutions and
Michigan needs to start putting them to work."

The best states are using innovative tools like regional planning councils
with authority to coordinate development, statewide standards for planning
growth combined with community authority to implement plans, state
investment in expanding public transportation, and investment in
community development programs.  

Maryland ranked best in open space protection; Oregon in land use
planning; Rhode Island in transportation planning; and, Vermont in
community revitalization.

The report offers profiles of the top states, short articles on a range of
solutions to sprawl, and commentary from in-house experts and respected

The complete report with ratings for all 50 states is available on the web at

The Sierra Club, with more than 550,000 members and 65 chapters, is the
nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alison Horton
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
Lansing, Michigan
(517) 484-2372 (voice) * (517) 484-3108 (fax)
sierrami@voyager.net *  http://www.sierraclub.org/chapter/mi/

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