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Re: SG-W:/ greenbelt



I have to say having followed Ann Arbor area development as an interested
observer, regular visitor and one time student-resident, I think there
really has been a major change in how the Townships surrounding Ann Arbor
manage development over the past several years. 

In years past Pittsfield and Scio Townships were consistently pro-suburban
sprawl and Ann Arbor Township suffered from benign neglect of planning.
Now, Ann Arbor Township is leading the way in preservation of natural
features and farmland preservation which has been especially impressive
considering the legal and political challenges mounted against the
Township. I think the preservation millage will prove whether the
residents are willing to put dollars behind their sentiments to maintain
the Township's rural character. But the fact that the Township is even
having this vote is a significant step forward. 

Pittsfield and Scio Townships are further along in their development
cycle and they have significant amounts of suburban sprawl. But both
Townships are now trying to be part of the solution, not part of the
problem. Both have committed to farmland and open space preservation and
working with the City, there may be a chance to do even more. I know it
may sound like small steps but the fact that these Townships even might
consider transportation alternatives is a discussion that you will never
hear in most growth locations around SE Michigan. 

Outside these border Townships, there has been some changes, some positive
and some not so much. Ypsi Township now appears to realize the long-term
costs of growth and is trying to re-direct growth in a way that can
preserve more of the Township's natural features. Also, the Township
appears to be working more closely with the City and realize that the two
entities need each other. Superior Township continues to march to its own
drum and hold fast to being the buffer between the growth overrunning
Canton and the development around Ann Arbor. Much of the credit needs to
go to the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy for their efforts to protect
and preserve farmland and natural features in the Township. 

Unfortunately, there are some areas that raise real concerns. Salem
Township does appear to have a board that is giving more than lip service
to maintaining its rural character. But I don't think the residents are
ready to commit to preserving those qualities. Bigger problems are afoot
in Northfield Township. If the pro-development forces have their way, we
could have a massive explosion of commercial and residential development
in the Township. Clearly, that is the biggest threat to those of us who
believe that there are good alternatives to business as usual in the area.

Andrew Mutch
Novi



On Mon, 11 Aug 2003, Michael Sklar wrote:

> Scott raises interesting points.  In reality, leapfrog sprawl is already
> happening, and several of Ann Arbor's bordering or near-in townships appear
> committed to a pro-growth, pro-sprawl future.  The Parks and Greenbelt
> proposal would give other neighboring and near-in townships that want to
> join with Ann Arbor in pursuit of a different future the chance to make that
> future a reality.
> 
>   - Mike
> 
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Scott Reetz" <sreetz@med.umich.edu>
> To: <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
> Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 12:17 PM
> Subject: SG-W:/ greenbelt
> 
> 
> > If the citizens of Ann Arbor pass this proposal, would Ann Arbor more
> > likely use funds to pay for lands farther out "in the cornfields" where
> > there is little infrastructure or contiguous to the edge of the city
> > limits where there is infrastructure? Wouldn't it make more sense to
> > allow development contiguous to the edge of the city limits? For
> > example, Ellsworth Rd is paved, has bus service and is already partially
> > developed. Is more development along Ellsworth, such as the new shopping
> > center at Stone School Rd, considered sprawl, or is this totally
> > appropriate?
> > Michael Sklar's idea that development would be encouraged in townships
> > that are progrowth is intriguing. It seems to be a ready-made solution
> > to where development should occur. However, the most pro-growth
> > townships tend to be further from the edge of Ann Arbor. This would be
> > "leapfrog" sprawl as opposed to "contiguous" sprawl.
> > Are there sites in the contiguous townships that are appropriate for
> > development? Shouldn't these sites be identified? I am not necessarily
> > pro-development, but I am trying to reconcile Ann Arbor's popularity--it
> > contains a nationally and internationally recognized university and
> > medical center, a major campus for the largest pharmaceutical company in
> > the world, etc, etc. Development is going to occur, where do you want
> > it, and what do you want it to look like? I would feel much more
> > comfortable with this proposal if I had some idea of where development
> > is going to be steered.
> > Scott Reetz
> >
> >
> >
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> 
> 
> 
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> 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"
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