[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: SG-W:/ New development in Pittsfield Twp



I don't believe thinking any community (sprawling or not) should be
thought of as a "lost cause." Sure, we need to prioritize, but
Pittsfield is part of Wash. County and as such, it is part of the
picture.  We need more collaboration/cohesion among townships, not
fragmentation.  

A key problem as I see it is that we are on a group focusing on smart
growth in Washtenaw COUNTY.  Yet the county has very little land use
authority compared with townships in Michigan.  County authority over
land use is one reason why smart growth is working so well in
Maryland.  So, a major challenge for a those interested in smart
growth in Washtenaw is to get townships/villages to see beyond their
jurisdictional boundaries and see themselves as part of a larger
region (i.e. county).  

In my view, new development cannot be stopped.  From my experience the
goal of smart growth is to plan development and encourage it in some
areas and not in others.  With all the development going on in
Pittsfield, one vision would be seeing Pittsfield as another urban hub
within the county.  In this view, Pittsfield would be considered an
area of growth and development, while others would be
protected/preserved.  It doesn't mean that more development in
Pittsfield needs to sacrifice all environmental qualities--some can be
protected, particularly with environmentally sensitive design and
planning.  But if it is decided to be a "growth area" then some
environmental qualities will inevitably be lost.  

Bottom line is to see the county as a whole unit--decide where the
growth areas will be (if you agree that there WILL be growth); decide
where the protected/highly sensitive areas are and focus on preserving
rural/environmental qualities there. (Again, this requires getting the
townships to decide what they want to be as part of an overall vision
for the county--not all can be growth areas--not all can have suburban
and rural qualities.)  Developing design/planning standards for the
growth areas is key to ensure that the development is done in the most
environmentally benign/community friendly fashion possible.  I think
all would agree that the build out in Pittsfield is not community
friendly (e.g. is based on a suburban sprawl pattern).

--
-- 
Victoria Pebbles