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Re: SG-W:/ Interesting Pittsfield Twp meeting

Hello,  I am familiar with Duany and his presentations.  I saw him do the
same dog and pony show for a group that was trying to get a permit for a
new sand and gravel mine.  He was showing how nice the gravel mine
could be once they developed his new urbanist village around the
proposed gravel pit.  His ideas may be good but I question whether an
isolated development can really be self-containing and don't truly add to
the congestion and over-use of the land just as the "other" type of
development will.  Catherine

On Thu, 24 Jun 1999, Jeff Surfus wrote:

> Did anyone else attend the Pittsfield Twp charrette opening presentation
> last night?
> It was very well attended, and Channel 7 was there as well.   They ran a
> brief story on the news last night at 11.
> The architect, Andres Duany, had a very good presentation, with some
> convincing arguments for the New Urbanist style of development, termed
> "traditional neighborhood design" by him, and against the type of suburban
> developments that we are all used to, called "conventional neighborhood
> design."
> However, he essentially is coming from the position that the development of
> this property is a done deal--and that it would be better to allow his type
> of development rather than the other type.  A lot of people in the audience,
> based on the questions at the end of the presentation, were unsold on the
> premise that this property should be developed at all.  There were some very
> good questions about the preservation of true natural open space (as opposed
> to the tidbits of preserved areas talked about in his presentation) and
> about the impact of such a development on the infrastructure and on the
> residents who already live in the township.
> His position on some of these tougher questions, in my opinion, was to put
> people off, again taking the position that it's "grow my way or grow the
> other way."
> In my opinion, the developer is being very shrewd by allowing the architect
> to sell the benefits of this project and to bear the brunt of the tough
> questions while he stands at the back of the room licking his chops at the
> amount of money he is going to make on this development.  When will he come
> to the front of the room and take some questions?
> This fascinating process will continue to take place over the next several
> days at the township hall.  In the back of the meeting room, they have set
> up a working office where they will be completely finishing the design for
> the project over the next few days!  He invited people to stop in at any
> time during the day or evening to observe the goings on.  At any time there
> will be the latest version of the project design hanging on the wall for
> people to look at.
> Again, below is the schedule of meetings for the next few days.  I STRONGLY
> ENCOURAGE anyone who is curious about the "New Urbanist" philosophy of
> design and planning to come to one or more of these meetings or drop in and
> look at the latest version of the plan.  This approach and process is like
> nothing you've experienced before with development in Michigan.
> The idea is that these series of meetings, hearing people's concerns and
> ideas, will drive how the project will be designed.  Whether this is indeed
> how the project will play out remains to be seen.  Call me skeptical, but I
> think it's more of an attempt to sell the development of this property by
> the developer through good PR than a true give and take between the
> community and the architect/developer.
> The schedule:
> Thursday
> Planning commission/Bd of Trustees 10 am - 12:30 pm
> Transportation 2:30 - 4:30 pm
> Neighborhood associations/property owners 5:30 - 7 pm
> Friday
> Schools/government agencies 10 am - 12:30 pm
> Builders, developers/economic development 2:30 - 4:30 pm
> Community organizations 5:30 - 7 pm
> Saturday
> Public session 5:30 - 7 pm
> Sunday
> Public session 5:30 - 7 pm
> Tuesday
> Final public presentation 7-8:30 pm
> Remember, the public is invited to any and all of these meetings, regardless
> of the intended audience.  I think the meetings with builders and developers
> as well as the property owners could be really interesting.
> Jeff Surfus