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Re: SG-W:/ county land preservation proposal



Mike - I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know who my County Commissioner
is.  Is there a quick way for me to look this up?

Donna

--On Thu, Jun 8, 2000 7:32 PM -0400 mike garfield <michaelg@ecocenter.org>
wrote:

> Many of you will remember that, two years ago, the county home builders
> and their allies waged the most expensive campaign in county history to
> defeat Proposal 1, a comprehensive land preservation ballot proposal.
> The homebuilders said then that they agreed with us that sprawl was bad,
> but that there was a "better way" to deal with it.  One plank of their
> "better way" used public funds to acquire open space.  And since then,
> leaders of the builders' and realtors' "Smart Growth Initiative" have
> continued to say publicly that they support the use of public funds to
> buy natural areas.
> 
> Well, that's all along sounded pretty good to me.
> 
> Last night, four environmental organizations -- the Ecology Center,
> Sierra Club, Huron River Watershed Council, and Washtenaw-Potawatomi Land
> Trust -- formally requested that the Washtenaw County Board of
> Commissioners put a natural areas millage proposal on the November
> ballot.  We proposed a 10-year 0.25-mill levy which would raise over $20
> million, leverage additional matching funds, and save thousands of acres
> of the most environmentally sensitive lands in the county.
> 
> And the builders and realtors?  
> 
> Yesterday, the boards of directors of the Home Builders Association and
> the Board of Realtors endorsed our proposal, in concept, without taking
> any position on the millage level.  This follows a series of meetings
> between the environmental groups, home builders, and realtors.  
> 
> (If you read the Ann Arbor News article about this issue, you might be
> confused about the homebuilders' position.  The newspaper neglected to
> mention that a homebuilders' spokesperson read a statement at the meeting
> endorsing the proposal in concept.  Instead, they repeated a
> three-week-old out-of-context quote by the group's executive officer
> which made the homebuilders appear unsupportive.)
> 
> Two specifics of our proposal deserve special mention.  First, we are
> explicitly excluding farmland from the types of land that could be
> protected under the program.  Instead, the plan would protect wetlands,
> wildlife habitats, and other critical natural areas.  Second, we would
> house the program within the County Parks and Recreation Commission.  We
> figure that the Parks Commission already acquires and manages land for
> recreational purposes, so most of the infrastructure for a natural areas
> program is already in place there.  A technical advisory committee would
> be appointed by the Board of Commissioners to advise the Parks Commission
> on acquisitions.
> 
> It's hard to predict how this proposal will play out.  The County Board
> has until August to approve language to place the proposal before voters
> this fall.  The Board is currently dealing with a number of unrelated
> controversial issues, so commissioners need to hear from
> environmentalists that land preservation is an important issue, and that
> the ballot language should be approved.  
> 
> So please contact your County Commissioner and urge their support for the
> proposal.  And, if you'd like to get more actively involved in the
> campaign, please let me know.
> 
> It's exciting to consider that, only two years after a sound election
> defeat, Washtenaw County might be in a position to pass a major open
> space acquisition proposal.  To succeed, it will require lots of hard
> work by many, many people -- both to get it on the ballot, and to win a
> millage election.  But, if any county can do it, it's this one. 
> 
> Mike Garfield
> 
> 
>  __________________
> Mike Garfield
> Ecology Center
> 117 N. Division
> Ann Arbor, MI  48104
> (734) 761-3186 ext. 104
> (734) 663-2414 (fax)
> michaelg@ecocenter.org
> www.ecocenter.org
> 
> 
> 
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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"
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