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Re: E-M:/ Dr. Adelaja: We Need a Plan; Ready for Asparagus?

It seems like you are deliberately missing the point to pick a fight, which is too bad. Also, I think you are not discussing the merits of the plan, but mounting an attack through anecdote.

Maybe this proposal is not all good, but maybe there are aspects that would work in our state?

Or, perhaps you could propose an alternate plan or model that has been implemented and shown to work?

Regardless, this pointless pettiness is really unfortunate given the many interesting and appropriate posts that you have made in the past.


Christopher Reader

On Tue, May 20, 2008 at 5:17 PM, William Tobler <williamtobler@critterswoods.org> wrote:
Enviro-Mich message from "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>

Well, I have to disagree in principle, but not necessarily in the specific areas that you may have visited, which is a rather small percentage of the State. The rest has been ruined.
Before I give you the details, the issue is that I was born in Glen Ridge New Jersey.  In the 50s, the NJ as I knew it was a very pleasant place and I had many fine memories from that time.  In the 60s, things started to go bad, and continued to get worse and worse.  By the mid 90s, much of the State that I knew was disgusting.

According to the Planning Article, the Planning Process started less than 2 decades ago, or around 1990.  Although I have to commend NJ to recognize that the "Garden State" had been turned into a hell hole and start trying to do something about it, isn't that just a little bit too late.  Is that what you suggest, that we should first trash most of Michigan before we recognize what we are doing?  That's why I said it was an oxymoron.  "Planning" after the fact is not the right way to go.

My first home was in Bloomfield in a WWII home built for the returning GIs. Actually had a rather nice lot, and my parents had a large backyard garden and a small orchard.  I remember going to public parks and to a wonderful swamp south of the house.  I remember playing in the woods.  Today, the parks are gone as are the woods.  Everything is wall to wall ashphalt and houses.  The "swamp" which had wonderful waist deep, warm water has been filled in to create a golf course.

My second home was in Glen Ridge.  Glen Ridge was already a mature community so it didn't get trashed too much from what it was.  Wonderful Oak and Maple lined avenues.  I wonder if they are still there, but the big public park off to the one end of Ridgewood Avenue is mostly gone.

My third home was in Lincoln Park.  This was located in the middle of the northern half of the State.  My folks bought part of a 50 acre veterinary farm.  The property taxes on the entire vet estate in 1959 were $700 in 1959 dollars.  The area was really wonderful.  Mostly older homes, lots of open space and woods, orchards and farm fields.
In 1959, two dairy farms sold out to housing developments.  Suddenly, the population of Lincoln Park tripled with ticky-tack housing that didn't begin to pay its own way.  By 1964, the property taxes on the 4 acres and building that my parents had purchased from the 50 acre estate has ballooned to $3500 in 1964 dollars, and was going up at $500 per year.  No increase in services other than providing sidewalks and other services for all those new residents that didn't pay their own way.
Today, all of this wonderful space is completely gone covered over with gross urban development.  Not only is is shocking to revisit the areas of which I have fond memories, but also in an absolute sense I would never choose to live there given any kind of choice.  The four acre horse farm has been subdivided several time with a truck depot next door.  The farm fields and cattle pastures now show nothing but roof tops edge to edge.

When I lived in Glen Ridge, I remember going to the parks and flying kites under wonderful blue skies.  Not only are the parks mostly gone, but so are the blue skies.  Mostly gray haze from air which is badly polluted.

The rapidly rising property taxes forced my parents out of their home to move to Belle Mead.  This was a farming community north of Princeton.  They built a new home with a small horse farm.  By now I was in college (1964-68) and only visited from time to time.  It was a pretty decent place then, although the roads were pretty nasty during rush hour.  By the 1980s, all of the farmland had been converted to small housing lots, and the property taxes had risen to $10,000 in 1985 dollars.  Remember, no services for this other than school tax.
By 1990, it was virtually impossible to commute.  What was once a 10 minute drive had become 90 minutes.  Because of no planning, and greed to split every piece of land into the most possible building lots.  The air is bad. The cost of living is out of sight.  Today, even modest homes are in the $1.5M category.
While we were in Belle Mead, the lack of any kind of planning was evident. One year the roads were torn up to put in water lines, and then repaved. The next year, the same roads were torn up to put in gas lines, and then repaved.  The next year, the same roads were torn up to put in storm water drainage.  Planning?

My parents escaped to Ohio, and then to Kentucky, where the current property taxes on my Mom's home are $700 in 2008.

My view from first hand experience is that most of MY New Jersey has been destroyed in every sense of the word.  There may well be places that are nice.
You mentioned certain wetlands; yes, developers stay away from those.  I never visited southern NJ, but it has the text book reputation for cranberry bogs and the like.  Also not very development prone.  Western NJ can be OK in spots because it is well away from the urban areas providing the jobs, and little to no infrastructure to commute to the eastern part.  The Atlantic City areas were built up long, long ago, and have a charm associated with what was then.  Gee, it would cost much to much to trash such an area when you have all of this Garden State to trash.  The article said the farmers are doing very, very well.  What?  Growing houses.

OK.  So New Jersey finally recognized that they trashed a wonderful place, and are trying to reclaim brownfields and blackfields.  An admirable challenge.  Should we follow that?

----- Original Message ----- From: "Anna Dorothy Graham" <grahama9@msu.edu> Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 2:26 PM
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Dr. Adelaja: We Need a Plan; Ready for Asparagus?

Enviro-Mich message from "Anna Dorothy Graham" <grahama9@msu.edu>

I have to say, I think you're doing N.J. an injustice -- it's pretty wretched in parts around NYC, for sure, but the southern part is quite lovely, and there are some wonderful protected areas around Atlantic City and Cape May, both along the coast and a little inland -- the birdlife in the wetlands areas is good to see.  Ospreys, herons, egrets, etc.  We've spotted whales off Cape May in the past.
I was very much surprised, when traveling through recently, at how much land is set aside, there and in the south central part of the state.  Even the countryside west of New York City, along the I-80 corridor, gets pretty nice toward the border with PA.  And it seemed like Jersey City has really cleaned up its act -- nicely planted with lots of green space and attractive gentrification.  Much nicer now than I remember it being when I traveled through NJ as a child ...
We should give credit where it's due, as a positive incentive!
Dr. Adelaja: We Need a Plan; Ready for Asparagus?New Jersey's great planning success?
Is that an oxymoron? I grew up in New Jersey.  In the 1950s, it was a pretty nice place.
In the 1990s, it was a disaster from total absence of prior planning. Not a nice place to visit, and I would never want to live there.
The whole place would go into gridlock at 7am and again at 4pm.
Dirty.  Polluted.  Congested.  Yuk.
 ----- Original Message -----  From: Jim Dulzo To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net Sent: Monday, May 19, 2008 4:50 PM
 Subject: E-M:/ Dr. Adelaja: We Need a Plan; Ready for Asparagus? Dear Enviro-Misher--
 We've just posted three opinion pieces by Dr. Soji Adalaja, the director of MSU's Land Policy Institute, along with some great asparagus recipes.  As our leaders rush toward 18th, 19th, and 20th-century solutions (you know...digging up sulfates, selling our water, building more coal plants, stuff like that) to our 21st-century problem , the good doctor Adalaja says that what we really need is a clear plan for developing and growing in ways that protect our resources...aided by a big hand from Washington. The first of Dr. Adalaja's three commentaries, which looks at Michigan's chance to influence the national scene, is here: http://mlui.org/GrowthManagement/midisaster.asp. His second commentary looks how having a plan can help us-and uses New Jersey's great planning success as an example:
 http://mlui.org/GrowthManagement/miplan.asp. And the good doctor's last commentary considers the Marshall Plan as a precedent for dealing with the severe damage Michigan and the rest of the Rust Belt are enduring: http://mlui.org/GrowthManagement/marshallplan.asp. On, ahem, a lighter note...Is your grocery store stocking fresh, local asparagus? If it is, Janice Benson has some terrific recipe suggestions. Check it out here: http://localdifference.org/rtp.asp. Nothing like using delicious, locally grown food to boost the economy! Thanks for clicking in with us; we hope this finds you well! Thanks,
 Jim Dulzo
 Managing Editor
 Michigan Land Use Institute
 231-941-6584 x 18

Anna Kirkwood Graham, J.D., Ph.D.
"There is no trifling with nature; it is always true, grave and severe; it is always in the right, and the faults and errors fall to our share."
-- Goethe

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