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Re: E-M:/ Looking for Help/Arguments



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Enviro-Mich message from Anne Heise <aheise@orchard.wccnet.org>
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Patrick,

Communities differ as to what government bodies make decisions on proposed
developments and what arguments move them.  I suggest you research these
things and base your strategy accordingly.  I'll provide a brief recent
example of a community struggle against a nature-killing development
below.

Here in Ann Arbor we recently beat back a condo project on beautiful
forested bluffs overlooking the Huron River, despite Planning Department
staff approval. We researched the decision process of the relevant
governing body (Planning Commission) and found that in the past they were
most moved by arguments related to the City planning and building codes.  
These could provide something that could stand up in court - their big
concern.  Other governing bodies in other places are moved by different
issues.

So we researched various aspects of the project, and hired experts to
provide technical reports where we thought the project was weak or did the
technical work ourselves where we could.  The culmination of this work
came last week when we presented a 30 page technical report at the
Planning Commission's public hearing on the project, with testimony from
20 citizens backed by a crowd of 70 people just days before Christmas.
Quite a turn-out.

Our focal issues were traffic impact, inadequate surface run-off detention
ponds, and wetland destruction without adequate mitigation.  We had
several others as well.  We spent less time on the impacts on wildlife,
scenic beauty, and neighbors, and destruction of forests because City code
gave us less to work with on these issues.  The Planning Commission
unanimously voted against the condo project, despite the Planning
Department staff's approval.  I'll send out the press clip on this story
in case you or others are interested.

This was no small task.  It took over two dozen people (at least 2000
person hours) almost two years to get to this point.  And we are not done
yet with threats to Ann Arbor's Bluffs.

This is an example of a process you can use to approach the issue, not a
blueprint you can copy. The specifics will always depend on the decision
process of the relevant government body, and the problems posed by the
development plan.  In another place or with another development plan, we
would have raised much different issues in much different ways.

I hope this is helpful.

Doug Cowherd
Chair, Sierra Club - Huron Valley Group
for "Friends of the Bluffs"

On Wed, 29 Dec 1999 Patrick_J_Clark@email.whirlpool.com wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Patrick_J_Clark@email.whirlpool.com
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
>      
>      I'm looking for logical reasons to argue against a proposed 
>      family/assisted living center in my neighborhood.
>      
>      What is now a wooded, open field area,where we've seen deer and fox, 
>      will be earth-moved into a subdivision (private residences) and 
>      condominium/duplex community.
>      
>      Aside from the weak arguments that this will lower my home's value 
>      (increased traffic, etc.) and obliterate scenic sunsets, What can arm 
>      myself with at the township meeting on 04Jan?
>      
>      What are the environmental concerns? Ecological concerns?
>      
>      Any information will be greatly appreciated.
>      
>      PJC
> 
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