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

The study commissioned by the Ann Arbor Township Board of Trustees and 
conducted by the Washtenaw-Potawatomi Land Trust comparing the projected 
costs of underwriting services for residential development v. of purchasing 
conservation easements on the remaining tillable farmland has been completed. 
 Numbers indicate that keeping the ten acre minimum lot size with $400K 
houses would cover township costs, but probably not schools.  Three acre lots 
with $300K houses don't come close to covering costs and would require tax 
increases of 1.35 mills for services, costing the existing homeownere there 
an additional $167/year, half of that in perpetuity (schools at 20 year 
bonds).  Half acre lots are way off the map with water, sewer & police costs 
amongst others.

Buying easements on 2,800 acres, on the other hand, would cost 1.16 mills 
($144/year for 20 years) if no other matching funds (federal, state, local, 
private) could be obtained.  So, for that semi-rural township, it's cheaper 
to preserve land that to allow to be developed, plus all the other benefits 
(scenery, fresh food, wildlife, water quality, etc.) are included.  As it's 
been said, it's all a matter of what you pay for, how much you pay and how 
long you pay for it.

The model developed for the study can be duplicated elsewhere, if folks are 
interested in doing that.  In the meantime, use the figures to hammer the 
point home with your planning commissioners and trustees.  Forward!

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