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E-M:/ Re: SG-W:/ Maunfactured Housing
Thanks for your
message. I am aware of the Stockbridge "battle" as I have run
into S. DeRoo at meetings re:Mobile Home Parks, I also have e-mail G.Winn
dealing with this matter. I am unfortunately not an organization, but I
think we could try to get some groups working together to change this. Has
Stockbridge contacted your representatives yet? I am sure the residents in your
community make up a fairly good sized constituency, nagging your rep. can
help. And calling Scranton, and Garcia with your situation may help to
keep their efforts going.
One of the things that is in your favor is the water
issue.There is a state-wide effort being made to clean up the poor conditions of
our rivers and tributaries, I'm sure the watershed groups have information is to
what those goals are. (Any watershed folks can jump into this conversation and
clue us in).
With respect to legal assistance the Michigan Land Use
Institute has 2 lawyers that help them with land use cases here's their website
WWW.MLUI.com e-mail them, they will get back
to you promptly with the info.
They also put out a
quarterly magazine "The Great Lakes Bulletin", I think this problem
would make a great article for one of their issues ( any MLUI people reading
this...what do you say?).
How much acreage has been
rezoned from agriculture to MH?
I am attempting to find out approximately how much farmland is
lost to this particular type of development.
In Lima we will lose 136 acres to MH.
In yesterdays Detroit News there was an article about Tyrone
Township being sued by a mobile home developer (the evil Mr.Landon) for $2
million. They will lose 148 acres of farmland to house a 642 unit
So we have a running tally so far of ... 284 acres of
Anyone else out there losing farmland to a mobile home park
let me know how many acres.
Lets work together on this, we have got enough people on the
short end of the stick to have things continue.
We are currently fighting a 750-unit mobile
home park development in
Stockbridge Township. The township board,
feeling powerless to do anything
to protect their constituents, has
signed a consent agreement that basically
strips them of any ability to
contest the development (and pays the developers legal fees to boot) .
The developer is in
the process of trying to get permits for their sewage
treatment plant and
water supply system from the MDEQ. Once these
permits are in hand, there is
nothing stopping the development of a
project that will increase the
population of the township by over 60%,
increase the traffic on Shepper Road
from 540 to 6,000 vehicles per day,
etc., all in exchange for a development
in which the occupants will be
paying $36 per year in taxes. In other
words, there will be
significant adverse impacts on all residents of the
Stockbridge school district.
The MDEQ originally issued a draft NPDES
permit allowing discharge of 0.5
mg/l of phosphorus to Portage Creek, the
largest tributary of the Huron
River. After the public raised
concerns about the impacts of the discharge
on water quality, the MDEQ
actually did some water sampling (the original
draft permit conditions
were not based on any empirical water quality data)
and found that
conditions in the creek and downstream lakes were highly
Based on this information, they reduced the phosphorus limits in
draft permit to 0.036 mg/l, which we have been told in nearly
to achieve with existing technology. It is amazing how
existing conditions can influence these decisions, and it
is amazing that it
takes public pressure to force the agency charged with
protecting the public
interest to take the impacts of such a discharge
into account when reviewing
permit applications. But that is
Anyway, the current status is that both the MDEQ and
developer have taken
additional water samples and the MDEQ is mulling
over the possiblity of
revising the phosphorus limits to 0.1 mg/l.
If a permit is issued, we have
the option to contest the decision in
court. We have standing due to the
fact that we submitted comment
during the public comment period. The Huron
River Watershed Council
has been providing technical support but we have not
yet discussed what
role they may be willing provide if a permit is issued
and we decide to
go to court. Does your organization provide legal support
like this? Do you know of any attorneys that you would
Are you involved in any efforts to change our currently
home regulations? Any help or advice would be
Thanks, Andrea Kline
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2000 3:45
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ Maunfactured
responding. One way to impact the process is to get individuals of
your group and members of other watershed groups from around Michigan to
contact (ASAP, as these bills need to be ready by June before the House
leaves for summer vacation) their Representative, and Rep. Scranton, and
Rep. Garcia- I'll give you their numbers and e-mail to pass along.
I think it is necessary to get a broad spectrum of constituents to
pressure change because this industry is big and has a Lot of apparent
supporters in the political arena. FYI: Michigan is one of only 2
states that have a commission at the State level. Most other
States don't have to contend with this particular industry when
addressing issues relating to sprawl. Lucky us! Anyway, if
members of watershed groups mobilized, and members of MEC mobilized, and
members of other environmental organizations focused on this issue it
would get taken more serious. It needs to become an
Rep.Judith Scranton: 1-800-295-0066; e-mail email@example.com.
Rep.Scranton is the only member that was also on the task force looking
into this in 1997, she's the "leader".
When we talk about farmland being used
up to accommodate development, we can't ignore this sector. They
have a habit of targeting financially weak rural townships that have
farmland available. In Lima township (where we farm) they want to
rezone 136 acres of really good farmland. In order to get as much
profit out of the land they would like to fill in a large wetland and
mow down 40+ acres of old growth oak.
There is now a new "park"
going in in the Saline area on what was formerly farmland.
There is a "park" attempting
to be developed in Sharon Twp. on what is farmland.
There is a " park" attempting
to be developed in Stockbridge on... yes Farmland.
And in Grasslake there is a
"park" going in.
I am astounded to think there is such a
need for so many parks. Is this really being driven by an
insatiable hunger of many to live in these places? Or could it be
the approximately 36% return on ones investment that fuels this type of
development? Tough one to figure out huh?
So there are my suggestions, let me know
what you think.
I am the E.D. of the Huron River
Watershed Council in SE Michigan and we are very concerned about the
impacts of Mobile Home Park Development on water quality/land use
impacts. How can we get involved or have some impact in this
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2000
Here's another environmental
issue working its way through the House. Changing the way
Mobile Home Parks do business in Michigan. I don't know
where this falls with respect to timber mandates and
"slob" farming, but it certainly is an industry that
is making some very big impacts on rural townships and the
environment. Mondays edition of the Detroit News had a
front page article highlighting again the disparities between
the taxes mobile home park residents pay Vs. property
owners. Rep. Judith Scranton and Rep. Valde Garcia are
heading up ANOTHER task force (the Engler administration created
a task force to look into this in 1997) to try change the state
law. These behemoth developments definitely give birth to
sprawl by the simple fact that they require greater amounts of
services yet don't pay for them, thereby almost requiring
townships to invite industry and commercial businesses into
areas just to help cover the expense of these parks And if
that isn't enough, many parks have on site sewer/water treatment
plants that have a high failure rate, which in turn tend to
spill into water ways and pollute. And let's not forget
the amount of impervious surfaces rolled out to support these
very unsustainable "houses". Anyway, these bills
always get buried because there are not enough people around the
state feeling the impacts of this industry. Yet townships need
to have a way to put limits on how many housing units one park
can hold and try to place them in places with existing
sewer. But many developers, when they don't get a rezoning
permit approved take rural townships to court, and again
property tax payers pay, and usually lose.
Here's another opportunity
to change bad policy and put forth a common sense approach to
land use, but it will take many people being vocal and letting
their representatives know that this industry has to change. Or
we can just deal with another 50 years of business as usual, and
there will be no rural townships anymore.