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Re: SG-W:/ Re: County Land Preservation Proposal



I e-mailed my county cmsr, Vivienne Armentrout.  She replied that she is
definitely supporting it.  Lets all nudge our reps on the county board.

--On Fri, Jun 9, 2000 4:04 PM +0000 Michael Sklar <tiger3@provide.net>
wrote:

> Wow!  This is great news, Mike.  Congratulations to all those who have
> helped create this unprecedented area of agreement between land
> preservation activists and homebuilder interests.  
> 
> As the official representative of the local environmental community on
> the Proposal 1 steering committee, I fully support this effort.  We've
> always argued that open space preservation was compatible with a healthy
> construction industry, and I'm delighted to see that the homebuilders are
> beginning to recognize this fact.  This proposal is a great step forward.
> I think everyone can agree that it makes sense to preserve critical
> natural areas.
> 
> Is this proposal perfect?  No.  No proposal (including 1998's Proposal 1)
> is perfect.  But I don't think that the fact that it's not perfect means
> that we shouldn't support it.  Heck,  if we always held out for perfect,
> we wouldn't have Yellowstone or Yosemite National Parks, the Endangered
> Species Act, or any of the important local environmental victories we've
> achieved.
> 
> Instead, I hope we can build on the stunning coup of getting the
> homebuilders and environmentalists to agree on this initiative.  I think
> this is what the broader public wants, and I think this proposal is one
> the broader public can and will support in November.  Congratulations to
> all those who have made it possible!  Now, it's up to the rest of us on
> this list, among others, to signal their support to their County
> Commissioners . . .
> 
> ==============
> 
> <fontfamily><param>Geneva</param>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
> 
> 
> 
> </fontfamily>
> __________________
> 
> 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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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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