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Re: E-M:/ High Density Developments to Preserve Agricultural Land???

Enviro-Mich message from "Cynthia  Price" <skyprice@iserv.net>

The cluster and open space bill last year (2 years ago now?) was a
meaningful attempt to give planning authorities another tool to address
negative impacts of unmanaged growth. Coordinated and regional planning are
two more, as others have mentioned. In addition, in my response to the
survey sent me by the Land Use Leadership Council, I commented that one of
the barriers to successful planning is the mandate that all townships must
plan for all uses.

I can tell you that in Bonnie's township, the open space ordinance (which
they had in place even before the state bill was passed) is very useful. On
the other hand I agree that it won't protect the character of a township
that's completely rural, and I think that needs to be considered with great
seriousness. Bonnie and I and most of the United Growth for Kent County
members worked very hard to pass a Purchase of Development Rights program in
Kent County, and that offers another tool. But none of these is complete in
and of itself. We need to face a number of difficult challenges to our
current lifestyles and expectations in order to avoid some very nasty
consequences that I think may be coming sooner than most people predict. On
the other hand, we can't start from any point other than the one we
currently find ourselves at.

I hope that people are intending to come out in strong numbers for those
Land Use Council hearings. In Grand Rapids and other places, they're on
Monday, April 28. This is such an important issue.

Cynthia Price
>From: "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>
>To: "Anne P. Couture" <couture@jasnetworks.net>, William Tobler
<WilliamTobler@critterswoods.org>, enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Subject: Re: E-M:/ High Density Developments to Preserve Agricultural Land???
>Date: Thu, Apr 24, 2003, 10:51 AM

>Enviro-Mich message from "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>
>I don't agree.
>The key word is "implemented properly".
>I have been on the Planning Commission for 20 years, and I know very 
>well, first hand, what is going on.  My interest is preservation of 
>rural lifestyles.  It is sadly comical when the leading Land Use 
>Planners come in and propose a 15 foot greenbelt buffer to isolate 
>incompatible uses from each other.  And they do it with a deadly 
>serious attitude, like it means anything.  The advanced land 
>preservation plans that I have seen all been written from an urban 
>citizen's viewpoint, and quite frankly, I don't see them as very 
>attractive or useful.
>The developers come in and buy 100 acres.  Then they intensively 
>develop 50, and leave the other 50 as "open space", or whatever you 
>want to call it.
>When you are done, you have an urban park.  There is absolutely nothing 
>rural or "country" about it, and other than market gardens, there is no 
>farm land preserved.  To some, this may be better than having a lot of 
>large lots and lawns, but in either case, "country and rural life" was 
>not preserved.  PDR is a great concept, but not exactly affordable in 
>its present form, and also not in reality affecting very much in the 
>way of stopping conversion of non-developed lands.
>There is nothing being done about what the real problem is.  This is an 
>economy (national and/or local) and personal attitudes based on 
>consumption and continuing growth at all costs, and getting someone 
>else to pay for "services" other than those citizens demanding them.  
>It won't stop until ALL of the resources are consumed, and then that 
>miserable status will be maintained.
>I don't look forward to it.
>Urban areas need to be enhanced so that individuals that actually 
>prefer urban life will happily choose to live there (and not be force 
>to), and not necessitate their flight and creation of new urban areas 
>in the country at the expense of the country.
>> Cluster, or Open Space development, if implemented properly, does not 
>> have to diminish the rural nature of a community.  Rather, if based 
>> conservation planning principles, designed to preserve and enhance 
>> natural features while devoting much less land to manicured lawns, is 
>> good way to allow for some rural growth while maintaining the rural 
>> character.  
>> William Tobler wrote:
>> > I live in an area that is still relatively rural, or at least most 
>> > urban folks think so.  I actually would prefer to live in an area a 
>> > heck of lot more rural than is available.
>> >  
>> > The problem for a rural township within a commuting distance 
>> > of employment is the clustering proposal will quickly transform it 
>> > anything but rural.  The factors that keep urban and suburban 
>> > away are:
>> > 1)  Yuk, you live on a dirt road?
>> > 2)  Echk, you drink water that comes out of the ground?
>> > 3)  Ooh, where does this go when I flush?
>> > 4)  Ach, you go how far to buy cheez doodles?
>> >  
>> > Creating the cluster home situation takes away all of these 
>> > deterrents.  It would be one thing if we were building it for the 
>> > township's residents to live in at their choice.  But instead, you 
>> > inviting every one else to move in and take away from you what you 
>> > hold dear.  If you build it, they will come, and in short order, 
>> > will have the local votes to take away the rest, and they will.  
>> > spent my entire life moving from one area or another that has 
>become a 
>> > place that I wouldn't even want to visit.
>> >  
>> > As far developers paying their way, forget it.  They don't and they 
>> > won't.  Not even close.  It is a real struggle to get the 
>> > to even build and pay for the amenities that they promised to put 
>> > their developments in the first place.  Our legislators won't fix 
>> > either.  How many years have they had the opportunity to fix the 
>> > inequity of MHP developments?
>> >  
>> > The only solution is to address urban and suburban flight, and not 
>> > create yet more new urban and suburban sprawl.
>> >  
>> >  
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