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E-M:/ Press Release from Rep. Chris Kolb

Enviro-Mich message from "District 53" <Dist053@house.mi.gov>

State Representative Chris Kolb

Thursday, December 18, 2003
Contact: Chris Kolb
Phone: (517) 373-2577	

Kolb Land Use Bill Signed by Governor
Joint Municipal Planning Act will pave the way for improved smarter growth and cooperation between municipalities

LANSING * Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed into law House Bill 4284  enabling local units of government to form joint planning commissions to deal with matters regarding land use between two or more municipalities.  The legislation, sponsored by State Representative Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor), passed both the Michigan House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.  
"The keys to making smart and informed land use planning decisions are cooperation and communication between neighboring municipalities," Kolb said.  "The effects of these decisions do not hold to jurisdictional lines since they affect the quality of life of not just the residents of one community, but the residents of surrounding communities as well.  It stands to reason that these decisions are best made by local units of government that plan together and work toward a regional approach."

To address the problem of urban sprawl, the Governor created the Land Use Leadership Council * which included Representative Kolb - earlier this year to establish a smart growth program and provide recommendations to the Governor and Legislature.  The Joint Municipal Planning Act is part of the Council's final legislative recommendation and one of the first to be enacted into law.

"I commend Representative Kolb for his leadership on an issue that is critical to the future of our state," Granholm said. "Often an area or region's geography or natural features do not conform to city limits or township boundaries, and this new law will make it easier for local planning officials to create a vision for an entire region -- not just pieces of it."

According to the State of the State Survey released in early July by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, nearly 75 percent of all Michigan residents are very or somewhat concerned about urban sprawl.  Ninety-two percent agreed that the state should encourage local governments to work together in developing coordinated land use plans and 60 percent said they support increased land use planning and regulation.

"This law is an important step toward ensuring that Michigan grows and develops in a smart and responsible manner," Kolb said.  "I look forward to continuing to work on the Council's recommendations to support legislation that protects Michigan and our communities' air, land and water and help lessen negative environmental impacts, encourage innovation and save tax payers money in the long-run." 

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