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Re: SG-W:/ anti-rezoning strategies needed

The most important thing for the Lodi Township Board to know is that these 
mobile home developments CAN be beaten--especially if there are already areas 
within the Township zoned or used for mobile homes.  Superior Township 
defeated a proposal by Landon to build a mobile home park in their community; 
other Townships can, too.

First of all, get legal representation right from the beginning.  Superior 
Township had their attorneys there at all meetings, and even had a court 
stenographer take accurate notes.  Don't buckle under, but prepare as if 
everything you do might end up in court.  It very well may.  (Good 
preparation will cost some money--but it will save the Township a ton of 
money in the long run!)

Superior Township did such a good job in preparation, however, that Landon 
chose not to sue...and went on to harass another community.  Some of the most 
important questions to consider:

Are there other areas more appropriate for mobile homes?
If constructed, what percentage of the Township residents would live in 
(Whatever they say, this would not be a "manufactured home" community.  
Factory-built homes can be placed anywhere; they don't require being placed 
into special tax-subsidized welfare zones)
What are the soil conditions?
Is the site suitable for massive septic fields?  Water quality considerations 
are increasing in importance (but don't trust that the MDEQ will be 
protective of our resources)
Well water?  Impact on adjacent residential users?
Roads?  Adequacy?
Is the present zoning reasonable, allow for economic use, and serve a public 
purpose?  (this is a big topic which I don't have the time to go into)

Mobile homes do NOT constitute affordable housing.  That's one of the biggest 
lies ever perpetuated.  Mobile homes are the worst of both worlds--they 
require perpetual rents, yet are one of the few housing choices with a high 
likelihood of depreciation.  Once lured into "cheap" up-front costs, 
residents soon find out they are stuck with few options out.  Although 
technically "mobile", they really aren't.  You can move a regular house 
almost as easily as you can move a "mobile" home.

Republicans and Democrats have teamed up in Lansing to give favored status to 
mobile home park developers.  It's wrong and misguided, but these 
illegitimate preferential treatments can be beaten.  It just takes a lot of 
work...and is still an uphill battle.

By the way, the Landon Companies planned to discharge their Superior Township 
wastewater onto land owned by the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy.  For 
that reason, the Conservancy actively opposed the Landon mobile home 
development.  We usually don't involve ourselves in opposing development, but 
in that case we made an exception. 

Jack Smiley
Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy

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