[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: SG-W:/ Unveiling the Ann Arbor Area Parks and Greenbelt ballot proposal



Unfortunately for folks who think like Phyllis does, Dexter's zoning policy, planning commission, and master plan appears predicated on the old canard that "growth" is good for the community's tax base.  This premise is demonstrably false based on both academic studies and real-world experience.  When's the last time you heard of a township, village, or city *reducing* its tax rates because of all the extra tax revenues brought in by an expanded tax base?
 
Instead, we see community after community having to increase its tax rates to cover the cost of expanded sewers, road networks, school systems, and public safety departments -- on top of the increased taxes paid by existing homeowners due to higher property values.
 
The problem in most communities is that relatively few folks are able and willing to get and stay involved in the decisions that determine the character of their community.  As a result, the field is left to pro-development interests, which have both the the means and motivation to stay involved (at least until they get the zoning changes they want).
 
  - Mike Sklar
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2003 1:11 PM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ Unveiling the Ann Arbor Area Parks and Greenbelt ballot proposal

Lots of good ideas here but Dexter doesn't need any MORE houses. I live in Ann Arbor, and driving to and out of Dexter there is a massive explosion of houses. What kind of planning was there for preserving open space and the amount of acceptable growth? The new elementary and middle schools are already too small....
Phyllis Ponvert
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2003 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ Unveiling the Ann Arbor Area Parks and Greenbelt ballot proposal

While this is an excellent start and I'm glad to see that A2 is going to
be part of a regional solution and not just focused on within the City
limits, there needs to be some more serious discussions about planning
across Washtenaw County to accomodate growth. While growth should be
directed towards A2 and Ypsi and they both can benefit from it, there also
has to be a realistic discussion of accomodating new growth as well. You
can't focus all of the growth into A2, otherwise, you'll end up destroying
the qualities that make the City such an attractive place to live.

I think the best approach I've seen to dealing with growth is the work of
Peter Calthorpe [http://www.calthorpe.com/]. Calthorpe has suggested the
creation of new towns to accomodate growth when the pace and amount of
growth exceeds what established communities can accomodate. No, this
isn't the the same thing as the Newmarket proposals that suggested
creating "new urbanism" centers without any kind of regional context.
Instead, Calthorpe takes a more regional view, indentifying locations
where you can create new towns that can accomodate growth and then
developing those towns scaled towards pedestrians and to accomodate
transit. But more importantly in my view, Calthorpe surrounds these new
towns with greenbelts of farmlands and open spaces. These help in the
creation of place by ensuring that both existing and new places don't
merge into a mass of undiluted sprawl.

In Washtenaw County, it's critical that Ann Arbor help communities like
Ann Arbor and Superior Townships establish and protect agricultural zones
that will buffer the City against sprawl. Otherwise, Ann Arbor can rename
itself West Canton. Communities like Pittsfield and Scio Townships may
still be able to create their own identities but they too have a role to
play in creating greenbelts. The City of Ann Arbor owns hundreds of acres
of land, some of it farmed, south of the City that include and surround
the MRF. Combined with the Pittsfield Preserve, this land, if dedicated as
a greenbelt, which still could be farmed in those areas where possible,
would be a simple, no-cost way of establish that greenbelt south of the
City and helping both communities create the separation needed to create
their own identities.

Outside of A2, clearly established towns like Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and
Manchester would be logical places to direct growth while also
establishing greenbelts. It will take a lot of community discussion to
decide what levels of growth are acceptable. Plus, some Townships
(Sylvan) still seem to think that all growth is good. But those
communities might be able to accomodate the majority of projected growth
in the future. If not, you may want to look at planning for a "new town"
but it would have to be located where it could connect into existing
transportation options. It makes absolutely no sense to locate those out
in the middle of farmland. Only with this kind of regional perspective can
the County hope to fashion senses of places while preserving farm land and
open spaces. While A2 has done an admirable job doing both, its clear, no
one community can do it by itself.

Andrew Mutch
Novi


On Fri, 8 Aug 2003, barbara nagler wrote:

>
>
> A thought:
> One thing I seldom see discussed is how compatible the desires
> to attract lots of new employees (i.e., population growth) and to preserve
> green space, really are.  If everything is framed in terms of Ann Arbor's
> economic and population growth (I'm referring to the Mayor's words here)
> rather than a more comprehensive ecological context in which all species
> have equal value-- Is it really going to be possible to preserve that much
> space?  If population growth is going to be valued, then attention will
> have to be paid strongly to making a town center so healthy, appealing and
> AFFORDABLE that it attracts a growth in density there, rather than sprawl
> at the periphery & beyond.
>
> Irena
>
>
>
>
>
> ===============================================================
> 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"
> ===============================================================
>




===============================================================
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"
===============================================================