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Re: SG-W:/ What's going on in the townships?



Glad you asked, Jeff.  Probably periodic updates are a good idea!  So
here's the news from Webster Township, still a rural paradise but on the
brink of severe shapeshifting.
I am happy to say that we have made some headway with our township
board in moving out of an isolationist mode as they look as masterplan
revision and our moratorium is still going on though it will be coming
to an end sooner than I would like.  Our township supervisor and one
very proactive planning commissioner made it to the Sierra Club training
and took back some learning to the board.  
Also, it looks like APRON is getting more credibility with the board. 
They have agreed to work with us on several projects.  
1) First, they like the idea of having a tour de sprawl next September
in Webster Township and we have applied to Sierra Club for a grant and
other assistance.  John Hansen is also co-sponsoring this event. 
2) Second, an undergrad class from UMich has adopted our township and
the board is willing to work with them on class projects that can
benefit their planning for our township's future.
3) Third, we are applying for a grant from the MEC to hold an
Agricultural Summit in partnership with the Huron R Watershed for our
and neighboring townships.  This is pretty exciting for us since the
township board has agreed to host it in our township hall.  The biggest
problem that plagues our township is the plight of retiring farmers, and
those of us in APRON feel some urgency in addressing this phenomenon. 
Also, we see this as an embryonic beginning in terms of developing some
regional planning.  So keep your fingers crossed that we get the grant
and that our officials and neighboring ones come, (as well as residents,
especially farmers.)  We are really open to ideas about how to make this
as effective as possible.  (n.b. Vivienne, our planning commissioner
suggested that we see if the county planning commission's ag committee
might have something to offer the Agricultural Summit!)  Another good
sign of receptivity to outside information.  We also would like to see
our township adopt a counsel like Superior and AA Townships have with
the Fleming Creek Advisory Council with whom they consult when new
development is being considered and natural resource features need to be
taken into account , another possible outgrowth of the summit.
4) We are  applying to natural beauty road status for a part of
Jennings Rd, probably not a good likelihood but nothing ventured nothing
gained.
The latest news I have heard is that the farmer featured in the AA News
from our township, Mr. Farrell, is selling off his 190 acres in 16 large
parcels.  So the land continuing to shift shape in major ways very
quickly.
5) We haven't gotten very far in putting together a petition asking
that our township raise taxes to purchase ag land, but it is not an idea
that we have dropped.  I just need some help in putting together the
formal language of the document and don't want to spend the time
figuring it out for myself.  
My little group has split into taskforces and we have some energy and
excitement.  It's good to read about what other groups are doing for
inspiration.
Thanks for asking, Jeff.
Erica and APRON, association for the preservation of rural open
neighborhoods. 

>>> "Jeff Surfus" <jeffsurfus@email.msn.com> 11/19/99 09:41AM >>>
To our township activists and others in the know:

We haven't been hearing much on the listserv lately about what's
happening
out there in the townships.  I can't believe it's been that quiet.

Erica et al:  What's the latest from Webster Twp?  Is the moratorium
ongoing?  Any more addressing of the master plan?

Ross and others:  Where do things stand in Dexter Twp with the new
zoning
ordinance and with the proposed car wash at N
Territorial/Dexter-Pinckney?

Scio Twp folks:  What's the latest on the proposed subs along Liberty
Road?
Is there any reaction to this week's final approval by the Board of
Supervisors of a new Meijer at Zeeb and Jackson Roads?  (Since I live
in
Scio, my reaction is utter dismay.  Zeeb and Jackson Roads are already
WAY
OVERCROWDED and the new Meijer, along with the proposed new County
offices,
and rumors of a proposed Lowe's superstore, will only turn a bad
traffic
situation into an impossible one!)

Salem Twp:  Any more info on the proposed Taubman mall?  Other
updates?

Pittsfield Twp:  What's next for the Newmarket plans?

Sharon Twp:  I don't think any Sharon folks have yet subscribed, but
you may
have heard that the Board of Supervisors denied the proposal for the
huge
mobile home development in Sharon Twp in an area not zoned or for
mobile
homes.  The developer has turned around and filed a lawsuit against
the
township.  The Stewards of Sharon folks are at a loss as to what to do
next.
They are considering helping the township fight the lawsuit by hiring
their
own lawyer, but their preference would be to raise the money and buy
the
land outright and turn it into a conservancy of some type.  Wouldn't
that be
a great ending to this story?  Any ideas about how they can accomplish
such
a thing in a relatively short period of time?

Any other township folks care to update us?  Superior, Ann Arbor,
Lodi,
etc.?

Let's use this forum to keep each other updated as well as continue
the
great discussions that have taken place.

Jeff Surfus





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===============================================================
smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
County.

Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
smartgrowth-washtenaw"
===============================================================