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Thursday, November 13, 2003

Contact: Chris Kolb

Phone: (517) 373-2577


Kolb Land Use Bill Passes Michigan Senate

Next step, Governor’s desk

Joint Municipal Planning Act Will Allow for Cooperation Between Municipalities and Smarter Growth


            LANSING – State Representative Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) announced today that legislation he sponsored allowing local units of government to form joint planning commissions to deal with matters regarding land use between the two or more municipalities passed the Michigan Senate today.  House Bill 4284 – also known as the Joint Municipal Planning Act – enjoyed strong bipartisan support and passed by a 38-0 vote. 


“The decisions made by local governments regarding land use cannot be made in a vacuum,” Kolb said.  “These decisions affect the quality of life not just of the residents in the jurisdiction of that government, but the residents of surrounding communities as well.  Poor decisions can waste precious financial resources and harm our air, land and waterways.  By allowing municipalities to make these decisions together, we are ensuring that all interested parties have a say.”


            An April 2003 report commissioned by a group of Michigan foundations and nonprofit organizations entitled Michigan Metropatterns notes that despite slow population growth in most areas of the state, Michigan’s regions continue to expand outward.  The amount of land in urban uses grew significantly faster than population in most regions of the state between 1970 and 2000.  These regions include Detroit (including Washtenaw County and the city of Ann Arbor), Flint, Saginaw and Grand Rapids.  Other regions such as Traverse City also experienced the same phenomenon.  


            To address the problems of urban sprawl, Governor Jennifer Granholm created the Land Use Leadership Council.  Charged with “proposing innovative and cooperative land use approaches that will accommodate and guide growth and development through cooperation and partnership on a local and regional basis,” the Council – which includes Representative Kolb – worked this year to establish a smart growth program and provided recommendations to the Governor and Legislature earlier this year.  The Joint Municipal Planning Act is part of the Council’s legislative recommendation.


            “Local units must cooperate and communicate with each other – that’s the only way to make good land use decisions that will benefit everyone,” Kolb said.  “If these decisions are made with the surrounding communities’ involvement, they will benefit not just the communities themselves, but the entire region.  I am glad that my colleagues in the Michigan Senate agree with me.”


            The bill will now go to Governor Granholm’s desk for her consideration.