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SG-W:/ MEC Land Stewardship Initiative News

The Land Stewardship Initiative The Land Stewardship Initiative

      Updates on land use legislation, trends and reports brought to you by
the Michigan Environmental Council with the kind support of

      the C.S. Mott Foundation,
      the Frey Foundation,
      the Americana Foundation and
      the Towsley Foundation.

      Thursday, August 31, 2000

      Legislative Updates Land Use may get more attention in the next
legislature.  The Gongwer News Service reported an interview with
heir-apparent Gary Newell (R-Saranac) who will likely take the place of term
limited state Representative Terry Geiger (R-Lake Odessa).  Newell said he
anticipates placing major focus on land use issues in the 91st Legislature.


      The Bureau of Elections has certified language for Proposition 00-2, a
proposed constitutional amendment which will appear on the November ballot.
The proposal would require a super majority vote (2/3 vote) of the
legislature to enact certain laws affecting local governments.  The proposal

        1. Require a super majority to enact any law which addresses a
matter which a county, city, township, village or municipal authority could
otherwise address under its governing powers or which places a condition on
unrestricted aid extended to local governments by the state,

        2. Retroactively apply the super majority requirement to any such
law enacted after March 1, 200, and

        3. Exempt from the super majority requirement any law that can be
applied at the option of local governments.

      Pro-initiative activists are led by the Michigan Municipal League.
Opposition includes the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Townships
Association and the Michigan Association of Counties. The 90th Legislature
has enacted several laws restricting or eliminating local control, including
PA 261 of 1999, which removed local control over factory farms.

      Upcoming Events  Getting Beyond Borders:  A participatory discussion
on Land Use in Michigan (October 4, Ann Arbor).  Hosted by the University of
Michigan's College of Architecture and Urban Planning, School of Law and
School of Natural Resources the event features land use interests from
across the state ranging from the Michigan Environmental Council to the
Michigan Association of Home Builders.  More information about the event can
be obtained from Jim Kosteva, Director of Community Relations at UM's Office
of the Vice President for Government Relations.


      Planning Michigan:  Making it Happen (October 18-21, Boyne Highlands
Resort).  Hosted by the Michigan Society of Planning, a new organization
formed by the merger of the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning
Association and the Michigan Society of Planning Officials, this conference
will cover topics such as New Urbanism, sustainable growth, risk management,
brownfield redevelopment and legislative reform.  Registration costs range
from $250 not including lodging.  Early registration end September 15.
Contact MSPO at (248) 553-7536 for a registration brochure.

      Reports of Interest Following a survey of thirty-two opinion leaders
in Michigan, the Land Information Access Association has published Ready for
Change -- Michigan Opinion Leaders Speak Out on State Land Use Policies.
Surprisingly, LIAA found strong agreement among the diverse interests about
the urgency of Michigan's land use challenges and costs of inappropriate
land use to current and future generations.  For example, twenty-seven of
the leaders listed land use and associated land use issues among the top
three issues facing Michigan in the next thirty years.  Copies of the report
are available by calling Joe VanderMeulen, Ph.D. at LIAA  (231) 929-3696.


      The U.S. Census Bureau has released information on growth trends in
Michigan.  The Saginaw News reported that all but one of Michigan's fastest
growing counties are more than 95 percent white raising questions over root
causes for urban sprawl across the state.  Muskegon County best reflects the
state population averages at 83.6 percent white, 15 percent black, 0.5
percent Asian and less than 1 percent Indian and nonwhite Hispanic.

      National Notes As the new National Governors Association Vice Chair,
Republican John Engler is committing to finding the best practices for
managing growth through state legislation.  Parris Glendenning, the
Democratic governor of Maryland who coined the term "Smart Growth", is
leading the charge as the NGA's new chair.  Engler will head up the NGA
Center for Best Practices, which will also focus on ways to bring
entrepreneurs into new markets.

      A Time to Convene.  The National Association of Home Builders was
active at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions advocating
platform language that promotes home ownership.  They successfully added
language to the Republican platform that not only states that affordable
housing is in the national interest, but squarely places the blame for
rising housing costs on government regulations.  Home Builders are asking
Democrats to adopt similar resolutions.

The LSI listserv is a biweekly service provided free of charge to citizens
interested in land use issues by the Land Stewardship Initiative of the
Michigan Environmental Council.  It is a moderated list that is open to the
public.  Messages posted to LSI@mienv.org are subject to approval by MEC.
To subscribe or unsubscribe send a message to Maggie Klaviter at
maggiemec@voyager.net.  Comments or suggestions for material should be sent
to Conan Smith at conanmec@voyager.net.

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