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Re: E-M:/ Re: [swan] Michigan Greens hail Governor Engler andSmart Growth!!!!!

Enviro-Mich message from "Bonnie Shupe" <BONNIES@cannontwp.org>

A couple answers - no tree ordinance yet.  Our ordinance committee that is working on the stormwater ordinance is looking at some tree ordinances from other areas.  Our concern is that once we've approved a PUD, we have control over tree removal and other excavating, but any land owner by right (state given) can harvest the trees on his property.  We're trying to see if there is a way to prevent that.

This leads into the issue about state laws hampering our ability to protect the environment.  A couple examples - the plat act, the land division laws are both state laws.  We have to abide by them.  We recently had a developer choose to develop using  site condominimum regulations.  The rules governing these developments cannot (by state law) be any more stingent than the subdivision act.  Because we are a general law township, the state does not allow us to enforce soil erosion - we must rely on the County Road Commission. (we're working to change that legislation).  Mobile home parks are allowed to go in almost by right.  Now it looks like intensive livestock operations may also get that opportunity.  The State limits much of what we can refuse based on property rights laws.

If we had our way, our Board would love to be able to say to the developers that we're full enough, thank you, go somewhere else.  Unfortunately, everyone has the right to develop their property to its highest and best use.  We certainly didn't come up with that idea.  We have the task of making sure there is a balance between protection of the environment and the rights of the property owners to develop their land.  We do the best we can with the laws we have to work with.
Bonnie Shupe, Cannon Township Clerk/Watershed Administrator

>>> <Murphwild1@aol.com> 07/14/00 12:05PM >>>

Well, sounds like your township may be cleaner than some, if in fact it is 
true.  I stand by my generalization that most township, village and city 
boards, planning commissions, and zoning boards are filled with those who end 
up representing the interests of developers--even when they are not directly 
affiliated with them.  I can say this is certainly true of Lake Orion 
Township and Village as well as many, many more.  If this was not the case 
than we would not be in the midst of this overdevelopment crisis--unlimited 
growth.  All you have to do is look around.  Development is utterly out of 
control.  Also, you do not have to be directly involved in real estate or 
development to cave to their interests.  I have seen other well intentioned 
people fall into the pack mentality, or popularity contests, in Townships, 
and also seen them form cliques which end up representing ONLY business 
interests and the status qou while giving lip service to the environment.

I doubt Kent County is free of strip malls, destroyed wetlands, and 
subdivisions. Also, facts are facts and the articles I refered to have 
appeared on this listserve and were based on facts, not generalizations or 
speculation.  You can probably request them from the list manager and list 
archives for dates and then find them in the Detroit News archives. I am sure 
Anne Woiwode has enough experience to speak to the issues of the Meridan Twp. 

State laws and courts advocating private property rights can indeed be a 
detriment to protecting the einviroment.  How are state laws preventing you 
from protecting the environment?

Do you have a tree ordinance in Cannon Township? If so, could you please 
forward it to me?

Murray Dailey

In a message dated 7/14/00 7:56:22 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
BONNIES@cannontwp.org writes:

<< Subj:     E-M:/ Re: [swan] Michigan Greens hail Governor Engler and Smart 
 Date:  7/14/00 7:56:22 AM Pacific Daylight Time
 From:  BONNIES@cannontwp.org (Bonnie Shupe)
 To:    swan@egroups.com, patmec@voyager.net 
 CC:    Murphwild1@aol.com, enviro-mich@great-lakes.net 
 You make a lot of good points in this message that I'm sure apply to some 
local municipalities.  However, I take exception to some of your 
generalizations because I am one of those "corrupt" township officials you 
refer to.
 You say:  <<As anyone who has been in a prolonged battle against development 
 developers knows, the developer usually always wins, and local zoning 
 planning commissions and township boards are always corrupted by their 
 influence. These local governments are usually always stacked with 
 "representatives" who are either real estate agents, developers or business 
 people with close ties and relationships with the forementioned.>>
 This is definitely not true in Cannon Township and not in most of the other 
townships in Kent County.  I, and my peers in township government, strive to 
perform our jobs to the best of our abilities.  I know no one who is "on the 
take" with any developer in our area.  Kent County Townships are working hard 
to protect the environment and maintain the best growth practices we can.  
State law is often a detriment to our efforts, but we are people of integrity 
and concern.
 Not one member of our Board or Planning Commission has a job that in any way 
ties to a developer.  There are no real estate agents (not that that would 
necessarily be bad), no builders.  We try to encourage developers to use the 
latest development ideas such as open space PUD's with dedicated set-aside 
green space.  We have ordinances to protect our watershed and are working on 
a stormwater control ordinance.  
 So, please do not generalize about local governments based on articles you 
read in the newspaper and Anne Woiwode's continuing saga of the Meridian Twp. 
Board.  Believe me, there are many, many good. 
 >>> <Murphwild1@aol.com> 07/13/00 03:05PM >>>
 Enviro-Mich message from Murphwild1@aol.com 
 There was a recent article published in the Detroit Free Press (or is it 
 Detroit News now?) which was the result of an investigation into the 
 funding of local munincipalities in Michigan by developers.  The article 
 sited instances over and again of developers and real estate people 
 contributing to the campaigns of local officials, once "traditional sources 
 ran dry."
 There was another article recently too in the DN/Press about the HUGE 
 disaster Detroit (and cities everywhere) has on its hands regarding storm 
 water and waste water runoff and contamination occurring from decades of 
 uncontrolled growth and human greed. 
 As anyone who has been in a prolonged battle against development and 
 developers knows, the developer usually always wins, and local zoning 
 planning commissions and township boards are always corrupted by their 
 influence. These local governments are usually always stacked with 
 "representatives" who are either real estate agents, developers or business 
 people with close ties and relationships with the forementioned.  
 Other than purchase of development rights, I dont see anything from the 
 "Smart Growth Agenda" which leads me to beleive anything will change on the 
 ground at all.  In fact the euphemism smart growth is merely another 
 corporate greenwashing. I can understand the lure to some.
 I support the purchase of development rights, and have suggested for some 
 time  that township's or village's who are being eyed and speculated for 
 destruction by the vultures we call developers, look at millage proposals to 
 purchase development rights--these are tools, but zoning and enforcement of 
 laws are even more important for any kind of comprehensive look at 
 growth and protecting biodivesity and quality of water and life.  
 There are a few places (not many) where "smart people" have taken over 
 boards and planning commissions, kicked the developers and their cronies 
 and designed near zero growth zoning ordinances.  When combined with very 
 strict tree ordinances, can be used against greedy developers building 
 infrastructure for increasing their markets, not because we need any of 
 cleacuts and subdivisions and walmarts.  And we have to move beyond 
 asthetics.  I dont see any biology or reference to biodiversity in the Smart 
 Growth Agenda.  Half of our biodiversity is being lossed to urban 
 The very first item on my "agenda" would be a call for a COMPLETE moratorium 
 on issuance of wetlands permits to dredge, drain or fill. No more wetlands 
 can be destroyed, ever!   No, your Governor Engler has worked hard at making 
 this impossible.  But for a real "winning oriented agenda," this would be a 
 good start. 
 From a line item look at the Smart Growth Agenda, I see and read a lot of 
 rhetoric,  like the endless pages of DNR and Forest Service environmental 
 documents which say one thing on paper and translate to nothing on the 
 ground. In fact a lot looks good on paper.
 How about upholding the laws of the land.  If our governments would simply 
 enforce the laws we have, much development would not even be allowed.  The 
 state ESA, Inland Lakes and Streams Act, Wetlands enforcement, etc..
 But then again, Governor Engler has led the fight to allow laws to be 
 weakened and destroyed and our natural heritage to be pillaged.  If Engler 
 throwing you bones, it must be a bad agenda for our natural world and 
 diminishing quality of life.  Engler's children have to drink the water too. 
 Murray Dailey
 Subj:    Re: [swan] Michigan Greens hail Governor Engler and Smart 
 Date:   7/13/00 10:39:04 AM Pacific Daylight Time
 From:   willers@vaxa.cis.uwosh.edu (William Willers)
 Reply-to:   swan@egroups.com 
 To: patmec@voyager.net 
 CC: swan@egroups.com 
 >Enviro-Mich message from "Patrick Diehl" <>
 >We were pleased to learn that Governor John Engler has decided to embark on
 >a study of Smart Growth policies in order to prevent excessive development
 >and expansion while ensuring sound economies in Michigan. 
 Dear Mr. Diehl:
         Given the human population and the per capita level of consumption,
 growth is no longer "smart". "Smart Growth" is a rhetorical device to make
 the status quo acceptable. Moreover, "excessive" is a relative term, and, as
 interpreted by those intent upon continued development and expansion in the
 interest of their "sound economy", it will mean no change on the ground.
 Really, Mr. Diehl, there is nothing to be pleased about. 
         Bill Willers
 Bill Willers
 Biology Dept., University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
 800 Algoma Blvd.
 Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.A. 54901
 Phone: (920)424-3074
 Fax: (920)424-1101
     "An enormous proportion of property vested in a few individuals is
 dangerous to the rights, and destructive to the common happiness of mankind;
 and therefore every free state hath a right by its laws to discourage the
 possession of such property."
         -The Privates Committee, Pennsylvania, 1776
 From:   patmec@voyager.net (Patrick Diehl)
 Sender: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net 
 Reply-to:   patmec@voyager.net (Patrick Diehl)
 To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net 
 Enviro-Mich message from "Patrick Diehl" <patmec@voyager.net>
 We were pleased to learn that Governor John Engler has decided to embark on
 a study of Smart Growth policies in order to prevent excessive development
 and expansion while ensuring sound economies in Michigan.  His announcement
 at the recent National Governors' Association meeting - together with
 Maryland Governor Parris Glendening, a national leader on smart growth
 issues - is encouraging to many who have advocated for these policies for
 several years.
 The Smart Growth Agenda that the Michigan Environmental Council and our
 partners and allies have developed includes statewide, coordinated
 goal-setting; regional impact coordination; integrated and adequately-funded
 state and local programs (e.g. Purchase of Development Rights); urban
 service districts and growth boundaries; fiscal incentives for better
 planning and growth management; and other tools for local governments to use
 in the fight to preserve the character of their communities and the
 viability of their local economies.  Our coalition studied the progress
 Maryland has achieved in the land use arena for some time and designed a
 framework for land use reform based in part on Maryland's success.
 Twenty-four organizations have committed to a Smart Growth Agenda in
 Michigan to date, including the League of Women Voters of Michigan, the
 Michigan Land Use Institute, the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan
 United Conservation Clubs, the Ecology Center and the Mackinac Chapter of
 the Sierra Club.  For more information, contact Conan Smith or Dusty Fancher
 at (517) 487-9539.
 Patrick Diehl
 Associate Director
 Michigan Environmental Council
 119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
 Lansing, Michigan 48912
 517-487-9541 fax
 e-mail: patmec@voyager.net  >>

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