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Re: SG-W:/ Re: Victories
I ditto all your concerns, questions, and confusions. As another employee
of the Huron Watershed Council, an anti Sprawl activist, and a Planning
Commissioner (A2 Township), I run across the same problems.
I do think that Transfer of Development Rights is possible, and the
provisions Joan Martin has been telling you about are necessary.
Also, 5 acre lots *are* sprawl, but if the township can at least separate
the lot size from the overall density and cluster houses so that open
space or farmland is preserved, that would help.
The real answers, I think, lie in getting rural townships like Webster,
Dexter, etc. together with Cities and Villages, like Ann Arbor, Dexter,
etc. to work out how to keep people living in Cities and Villages, where
the infrastructure is there to suppport us, and keep sprawl development
out of the countryside. This cannot be done without some sort of
intergovernmental planning. Transfer of Development rights between
cities/villages and townships would work well. Also, the City/Village
would have tax base sharing with its surrounding townships. Townships can
pass agricultural security zones, and then run a Purchase of Development
Rights program so that farmers won't lose their inestments on their
property. I think we need to discuss control of sprawl on an
But, you're right, it's all so complicated. I don't really understand how
TDR would work, and I've been studying land use planning for years, now.
I think what Webster and other rural townships can do now is:
Enact a PDR program so farmers who volunteer to do so can receive money
and not sell out their farms.
Do an inventory of natural features in your township to find out where
the best places are to preserve natual areas and where you might want to
enact natural features protection standards to protect specific features
like creeks and wetlands.
Enact an open space ordinance so that, if development occurs, at least it
doesn't consume all of your open space (A2 Twp. is working on language
right now - I'll keepyou posted).
Any other thoughts?
On Tue, 24 Aug 1999,
Erica Perry wrote:
> Okay, Jeff. I will take this opportunity to share my concerns for
> Webster Township.
> As you may know, our township declared a moratorium on development last
> May, and the planning commission has been meeting trying to come up
> with changes in zoning and master plan to
> 1) maintain the rural quality of our township
> 2) preserve agricultural land
> 3) safeguard the interests of the farmers who are retiring and need to
> sell their land
> 4) safeguard natural features
> 5) avoid lawsuits with developers
> I am impressed with John Kingsley, the planning commissioner, who is
> himself a developer but also is trying to represent the interests of the
> community and who has spent a great deal of time looking for ways to
> accomplish the above. And the planning commission is primarily made up
> of farmers but they are trying to look at issues from all points of
> But we are trying to solve problems without all the information that we
> need. Someone from the Washtenaw Road Commission attended the
> worksession last night and he was helpful, but we need to have more
> people "in the know" attend these meetings to share ideas. I don't
> believe that we really know what is possible. Though we hear that
> California has charged developers with impact fees, apparently this is
> illegal in Michigan. One planning commission member suggested charging
> some kind of assessment fee which would be put toward infrastructure
> costs for developments which would be graduated if developers allowed
> for more open space. But it was thought that it would be illegal. When
> transfer of development rights was brought up, it appears that in a
> township where wells and septic predominate, this is not practical.
> Boy, it is complicated! We have heard that Dexter Twp to the west of us
> recently passed zoning for agriculture being 5 acres per household and
> that the residents didn't like it and are doing a referendum. And one
> household per five acres has been described by many as a different
> rendition of urban sprawl. I as a member of APRON end up staring
> bewildered at the planning commission who looks back at me and the
> farmers and other residents attending the work sessions in the same way
> and we don't know which way to go. How do we keep from recreating a
> Canton in our little rural township and yet preserve everybody's rights
> in a state dominated by developer mentality? Joan Martin of watershed
> expertise has offered natural features master plan language which has
> been helpful but I think we need more ideas. Now it is also true that
> my township is pretty fiercely independent and the planning commission
> doesn't seem to like to ask for help either. However!! They have
> accepted me into their midst and I don't even sport the XY chromosome!!
> The next working session will occur next Monday at Webster Township
> Hall. If you have something to offer, please come. We are at the point
> of trying to safeguard our township and create sustainable development,
> but I very humbly submit that we don't know how.
> smartgrowth-washtenaw: Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
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