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Re: SG-W:/ greenbelt

Actually, I think there is some point at which you get
to say enough is enough. Of course, Ann Arbor is no
where near the density of a New York City or a Tokyo
so there is "room to grow". But there is some tipping
point where the growth, even for the best of
intentions, destroys the very qualities that make a
community worth living in. Many people who live in Ann
Arbor could choose to live in a New York City or
Chicago if they wanted that kind of environment. But
that's not what most people who live in Ann Arbor
want. I like to call it the Portland, Oregon
phenomenom. If you create a community that is a place
where people want to live, you have to make hard
choices because if you allow the development to allow
everyone who wants to live there, live there, you'll
destroy the very thing that drew people to that place.

That presents challenges because it raises issues of
exclusivity and affordable housing. But you'll never
grow yourself to affordable housing unless your end
goal is to so overgrow an area to such a degree that
people no longer want to live there and everything
becomes devalued and then everything is "affordable".
I don't know what the answer is to affordable housing.
It's a problem that the market really can't solve
except through "solutions" that end of wrecking
neighborhoods and character. But I don't think
government-based solutions are necessarily going to
work either. Past efforts along those lines have often
had very bad outcomes despite good intentions. I think
partnerships that lead to housing cooperatives might
be a good middle ground but it's not an area I know
much about.

Ann Arbor as a City has to figure out what that growth
target is going to be and then work to figure out how
to deal with the other issues raised by putting a cap
on growth. It may mean that the other communities will
have to accomodate more housing and more development
or suffer as sprawl surrounds their towns with what
Ann Arbor can't accomodate. As was noted, to the
degree that those communities don't deal with sprawl
through regional planning and land preservation, they
are in effect accepting that fate. 

Andrew Mutch

--- Phyllis Ponvert <ponvert@mindspring.com> wrote:
> As a 28 year resident of the OWS in Ann Arbor, I
> have seen a tremendous amount of new housing both in
> the city of AA and in every direction outside the
> city with no thought to the overall impact on city
> or countryside.  It's not enough to protect land
> from development. There is going to be development.
> The issue is how cities and towns decide how and
> where that happens. We can't decide to tell people
> to just go away, because there isn't any "away." We
> must concentrate building in the cities and towns
> and leave the outlying land undeveloped. Affordable
> housing, and I mean really affordable is another
> important issue that has to be addressed. Ann Arbor
> could be a leader in affordable housing, but is too
> busy encouraging yet another restaurant and
> boutique. 
> Phyllis Ponvert

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