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Re: E-M:/ Big lots hurt farming more than sprawl, land-savers say

Enviro-Mich message from Gary Stock <gstock@net-link.net>


> More harmful to the state's agricultural economy than the steady
> march of urban sprawl across the landscape is the proliferation 
> of homes on huge rural lots that break up large stretches of 
> working farmland, land preservationists say.

Overstated for emotive effect; not "more harmful," just differently harmful.

> These mega-home sites of three, five, 10, 20 or more acres - 
> described by farmland preservation advocates as "too small to farm
> and too big to mow" - make it difficult for nearby farmers to 
> continue farming.
> http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=573013

However, ten (or 19, or 77, or 133...) one-acre platted lots make it
_impossible_ for nearby farmers to continue farming.  That's another way
Right-to-Farm fails miserably (in the opposite sense from the CAFO
instance).  Dozens of immediate, new, rich, city-fied neighbors all
griping, whining, and threatening will shut most any farm down, or at
least force abandonment of necessary practices.  RTF offers no
meaningful help.

Either way, this happened because the Subdivision Control Act trained
developers to behave thus for decades, and local units rarely had the
nerve to correct their bad behavior in ordinance.  It'll be at least
another generation before either group respects the marginally-better
and weakly-implemented intent of today's Land Division Act.

>From a more environmental perspective, this phenomenon also makes
effective habitat management impossible.  Joe 10-Acres plants a bunch of
Autumn Olive to the south... then Bob 20-Acres puts English Ivy along
his back fence at the north... then Don 12-Acres wants nothing but lawn
to the west.  This spells the end of meaningful management for an entire quarter-section.

One useful solution (among many understood in planning circles for
decades) is to zone for density rather than lot size (for example, one
dwelling per 80 acres), then set a _maximum_ size for new lot splits
(for example, one acre).  

However, you can count municipalities with _that_ good sense on one hand.

You say the Land Division Act corrects it?  Ha.  Ha-ha.  Ha-ha-ha...


Gary Stock                                        gstock@unblinking.com
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     The best proof for a claim that terrorists are crazy or evil
     would be to acknowledge that the White House is full of them

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