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E-M:/ landslide victory for PDR millage in Webster Township

Enviro-Mich message from Mike Garfield <michaelg@ecocenter.org>

Yesterday, Webster Township voters overwhelmingly approved a millage to raise funds for land preservation primarily through the purchase of development rights. The millage passed with 69% of the vote.

Webster Township is located near Ann Arbor and Dexter, in Washtenaw County, and it becomes the third township in the county to create its own local funding source for farmland and/or open space preservation. Each of the township programs are at least partially located in the Ann Arbor Greenbelt District, which provides a fourth -- and largest -- source of local land preservation funds in the county.

The Webster vote was significant in two ways. First, the township is more politically conservative and anti-tax than the other communities which have taxed themselves for land preservation in southeast Michigan. They had recently voted down several millage requests for other purposes. Second, the township's land use activists were very creative in moving forward their agenda. After the township leadership repeatedly refused the activists' proposal to place a PDR millage on the ballot, and after the leadership's budget tax proposals were beaten back by voters, the "Webster Neighbors for Responsible Growth" offered to campaign for the leadership's proposals if the Board of Trustees let residents vote on PDR too. They campaigned to "Protect Webster" by sensibly managing growth and providing basic township services. Yesterday's election drew an unprecedented turn-out (30% in August with nothing else on the ballot!), and all three proposals won, with the land preservation millage leading the way.

Mike Garfield
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor, MI  48104
(734) 761-3186 ext. 104

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