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Re: SG-W:/ greenbelt



I've long said the only way to get people to work together on land use in our area is to take certain lands out of the development pool.  As long as everything is treated as a holding zone for future development--and home rule reigns in Michigan, and there's distrust of the city of Ann Arbor in the townships, and there's no mandate from the legislature, etc., etc., etc.--no one has wanted to engage in real cooperative endeavors to decide where development should best go.  Once lands critical to watershed protection, agricultural productivity, scenic views and other amenities are protected, then the rest can be developed more densely, wisely, sustainably. 

We're dealt a really lousy hand on land use in Michigan; other states have much better options.  We've been 'round about this a million times.  Since 1998, the enviro/conservation groups have had several notable successes (AA parks millage, county natural areas millage) and have pursued some other innovative strategies like using sewer capacity as a "carrot" for higher density development close to the large cities in exchange for open space protection, akin to transfer of development rights.  With every one of those pursuits, impenetrable blockages occurred while land kept disappearing.  Finally it was concluded that the proposed greenbelt program was the only viable option.  I support it fully.

A huge amount of credit goes to John Hieftje.  His election marked another significant milestone in the years since Proposal 1.  Still, recognizing problems and taking leadership are two quite different beasts.  The mayor is displaying what it takes to get things done.

If anyone has a better idea--or a "better way"--I haven't heard it in over ten years of working on this issue.  It's easy to take pot shots but unless you have a viable alternative I hope you will help in the passage of this monumental proposal.

Barry Lonik