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E-M:/ Open letter to General Motors

Enviro-Mich message from "Aretta Schils" <squaw@provide.net>

A friend and I spent a wonderful day attending the Tour de Sprawl in
Webster Township.  I met a couple of new friends and they suggested
that I post our open letter to General Motors concerning the auto
distribution yard that is proposed from Milan Township.  So here it is:

September 13, 2000

Percy Barnevik
Chairman, Board of Directors
General Motors Corporation
300 Renaissance Center
P.O. Box 300
Detroit, Michigan 48265-3000

Dear Mr. Chairman,

We are writing to share our deep concern about the behavior of General
with regard to the residents of Milan Township, Michigan.  The people of
Township and Monroe County have clearly and repeatedly said "NO" to the
Ann Arbor Railroad Properties/GM Intermodal Distribution Center in Milan
Township, yet work continues on GM's behalf to force the project into our

Let us share with you a short overview of the proposed project:

On behalf of General Motors, AAR Properties has been trying for 2 years to
develop the country's largest auto-distribution center in rural Milan
Monroe County, Michigan.  AAR Properties is a wholly owned real estate
company of the Ann Arbor Railroad.  AAR Properties is seeking to build
this railyard on approximately 1,000 acres of prime agricultural land.  They
plan to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, introducing the noise and
light pollution of a 1,000 acre industrial complex into a rural neighborhood
with no transitional zoning.  They propose to build a 405 acre parking lot
store up to 50,000 new GM vehicles, causing storm water run-off, flooding
and water table problems.  AAR Properties projects an increase of 900-1400
daily truck trips (50 trucks an hour at peak times) to the traffic volume on
causing air quality concerns from diesel fumes as well as road safety
issues.  They
estimate daily train traffic would increase by 8 to 12 train trips, blocking
emergency vehicle routes and causing traffic delays.  A fiscal impact study
by the Michigan Land Use Institute found minimal or no economic benefit to
 township or its residents.

On January 13, 1999, Patrick O'Meara, president and owner of the Ann Arbor
Railroad assured the Milan Township Board of Trustees and community members
that AAR Properties would proceed with their plans to build this site only
with the
support of the community.  Milan Township and Monroe County residents have
repeatedly turned down this project.

On July 14, 1999, the Monroe County Planning Commission voted down a
rezoning recommendation 6-1.

Following the Township Board's 3-2 vote approving the rezoning, area
gathered approximately 10 times the petition signatures necessary to bring
the rezoning
issue to a referendum vote of the people.

On February 22, 2000 the voters in Milan Township turned down the rezoning
request at the polls with the largest voter turnout in township history.

On July 10, 2000, the Monroe County Road Commission refused a request by
AAR Properties for a technical review of road improvements.

On July 25, 2000, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality denied
an AAR Properties application for wetlands removal.

On August 8, 2000, four local candidates who publicly opposed the proposed
railyard won seats for the five person township board in the primary
These candidates are running unopposed in the November election.

In spite of this clear message, AAR Properties, on behalf of GM, continues
disregard the will of the people.  Railroad officials are proceeding with
 work at the site.  Currently they are also working with state officials to
this farmland from the Farmland Preservation Act as they try to move forward
their plans against the wishes of township and county residents.  AAR
Properties and
GM are clearly attempting to thwart the democratic process.

We believe we speak on behalf of the majority of area residents, many of
currently work for General Motors, are retired from a GM plant or drive GM
We do not understand why General Motors is trying to circumvent the
process that is the foundation for our country.  We do not understand how a
that prides itself on its good community relations could decide to force its
way into a
rural community that has clearly said NO.  We do not understand how a
 that views itself as a "Green Business" could consider destroying 1,000
acres of
 prime farmland and open space against the wishes of the community.

We believe that General Motors should respect the democratic wishes of the
of Milan Township and stop moving forward with this project.  You have the
opportunity before you to show the people of Michigan that General Motors is
company that values its partnership with local communities by responding
to the wishes of local residents to protect farmland and open spaces and
their rural quality of life.  We look forward to your response.


On behalf of Milan Area Concerned Citizens

James McCrae Hokenson

Carol McCrae-Hokenson

Mary E. B. Carek

cc:  Members of the Board of Directors for General Motors

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