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SG-W:/ public hearing Monday to save natural areas in Ann Arbor Townshp

On Monday night, Ann Arbor Township is holding a public hearing on an 
important proposal to save natural areas there.  I urge you to attend 
the Township board meeting (7:30 p.m., at the Township Hall - 3792 
Pontiac Trail) to voice your support for the plan.  There's more 
information about the proposal below.

Mike Garfield



The current Township board has worked hard to protect the rural 
character and natural beauty of Ann Arbor Township.  For the past 
three years, a Natural Features Advisory Committee has been 
developing a major new zoning classification that is designed to 
protect open spaces and natural features on approximately 1500 acres 
of land in the northeast corner of the Township.  This land is now 
mostly agricultural, and is under intense development pressure.

The proposed Open Space Preservation Residential District carefully 
allows increased density in exchange for natural areas preservation 
and other conditions.  The District's zoning allows one home per ten 
acres, but alternatively permits one home per five acres if home are 
clustered, natural features are retained, and a minimum of 65% open 
space is permanently preserved through conservation easements. This 
ordinance is similar to the system that Hamburg Township has used for 
the past decade.  That Township, near Brighton, has permanently saved 
1,500 acres of natural areas through their ordinance.

There are at least three reasons to support the proposal:

1. It's an effective way to permanently protect natural areas, 
natural features, and some of the Township's rural beauty.
2. It diminishes the amount of water pollution caused by new 
developments, since clustered developments need shorter roads, and 
therefore have less impervious surface.
3. It allows developers and property owners to retain the economic 
value of their property, so the Township is less likely to wind up 
fighting lawsuits.

Even though ordinances like the one being considered by Ann Arbor 
Township are generally supported by the development community, the 
Township Board has been repeatedly locking horns with Tom Monaghan, 
and it's likely that Monaghan will send his backers to the hearing to 
shoot down the proposal.

So, if you're able, please lend some support to the strong 
pro-environment trustees on the Ann Arbor Township Board this Monday, 
February 4, at 7:30 p.m.  The meeting is at the township hall, 3792 
Pontiac Trail.  For more information, contact Trustee John Allison, 
who can be reached at 971-3989 or at swiftrun@peoplepc.com.
Mike Garfield
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor, MI  48104
(734) 761-3186 ext. 104
(734) 663-2414 (fax)

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