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E-M:/ 4TCAT - "Healthy Roads for Healthy Communities" Forum - April 1

Enviro-Mich message from "Lynna Kaucheck, Clean Water Action" <lkaucheck@cleanwater.org>



**7071 Locklin Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48324


Lorna McEwen

248-788-3940 / cell 248-736-3942

Julie LeBlanc

248-363-6128 / cell 248-613-1435

March 21, 2006


*If Smart Growth is so Smart, Why is it so Controversial?*

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich…. It began in mid-2002 as a demand by residents of four western Oakland County townships. They sought to defend the health of their lakes, streams, wetland and woodland-laden communities in face of a proposed road project which threatened all. It continues – not with a shouting match, but with a forum.

The forum, *“Healthy Roads for Healthy Communities -- Meeting the Traffic Challenge and Keeping our Green Space too,” will be held **8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.** Saturday, April 1 at the student center of **Oakland** **Community** **College** **Highland** **Lakes** campus (**7350 Cooley Lake Road, west** of **Hospital Road**, **Waterford**).* It is sponsored by 4 Towns Citizens Action Team, Inc. (4 Towns CAT) formed by residents of Commerce, Waterford, West Bloomfield and White Lake Townships.

“Roads are a symptom of the (traffic) problem, not the problem itself,” says *Richard K. Norton, Ph.D, J.D., who will keynote the April 1 forum.* “You can’t stop all development, but you can figure out where to build denser so that you can protect environmental amenities.” He suggests asking the question “is this the right place to put, for instance, a new ‘village center’ development.” An assistant professor at University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, *Dr. Norton will speak on “If Smart Growth is so Smart, Why is it so Controversial?” * Dr. Norton teaches, conducts research and has written extensively on sustainable development, environmental planning and planning law.

*Also featured will be Larry Falardeau, R.L.A. principal planner, Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services, who will speak on “Protecting our Green Spaces Preserves Quality of Life and a Healthy Economy.” * Mr. Falardeau is especially well-known throughout the area for championing the substantial trail network which now exists, or is in planning stage in Oakland County. __

The road which prompted the formation of the 4 Towns CAT is the north-south corridor which begins as Haggerty at 14 Mile, continues as Union Lake Road, then Williams Lake Road to M-59. A Giffels Webster engineering study begun in the 1990’s recommended widening the corridor to five lanes and cutting off a “dog-leg” containing the unincorporated Union Lake Village and numerous homes fronting on Union Lake itself. 4 Towns CAT supports a three-lane alternative for the corridor – without the dog leg.

4 Towns CAT members are now concerned with another proposed four lane road which would essentially extend M-5 beyond its present terminus at Pontiac Trail through two golf courses and an estimated 100 acres of wetlands -- and with the commercial and residential development and associated traffic which it would spawn. (The EPA refused to permit extension of M-5 in this area and beyond.)

“Lack of information leads to faulty logic,” says Julie LeBlanc, president of 4 Towns CAT. “From our inception, we have relied on research and advice from experts in seeking a solution to the traffic and development which challenge our environmentally sensitive communities. This forum is the second we have held so that citizens can hear for themselves that there are many options in planning communities and preserving the amenities we already have.”

The forum will conclude with a panel of planning directors from the four townships along the corridor to address specific local questions, and a “call to action” to invite guests to later small group discussions.

* *

The forum is co-sponsored by Clean Water Action, Concerned Citizens of Commerce, East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Michigan Environmental Council, Oakland Land Conservancy and Save Our State Land. It is supported in part by the ECCO Small Grant Program. Pre-registration is $10, $12 at the door, $5 seniors, students free. *Call 248-363-6128.*


Lynna Kaucheck

Southeast Michigan Community Organizer
Clean Water Action Clean Water Fund
205 1/2 N. Main St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Tel. 734.222.6347
Fax. 734.222.6473

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water."
-Ben Franklin

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