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Re: SG-W:/ Re: Proposal B

Are these common sentiments around town about Proposal
B? If so, it sounds like tough times come election
day. It amazes me that 
people can't see that by voting against Proposal B,
they'll be endorsing the status quo. Does anyone think
that if Proposal B is defeated 
that the Homebuilders won't crow "See, people want
this kind of development!" Endorsing the status quo
would be a disaster for the 
Ann Arbor area and relegate it to become West Canton.

I can understand where some of the concerns expressed
in the questions come from. But can't people see that
despite everything the 
City has done within its boundaries to counter sprawl
that it hasn't stopped sprawl outside the City? What
makes them think anything 
about that is going to change? What makes them think
that the homebuilders are going to do anything
different? They aren't going to 
build more affordable homes, unless it's massive
mobile home parks. They aren't going to protect
significant green spaces. They aren't 
going to protect farmland. Not all developers are bad
but under the current system, there's not enough
incentive for them to do any of 
those things.

Places like Ann Arbor are all too unique and often
fragile creations in our society. Because they have so
many qualities that people 
desire, they naturally attract people who want to live
and work there. And as much as possible, we should try
to accomodate those 
needs. But at some point, you have to draw a line lest
you destroy the very qualities that make these places
such great places to live. 
You could create lots of additional housing in the
City if you plowed over all of the parkland. But who
would want that scenario? You 
could have lots of high-density, high-rise development
downtown if you are willing to sacrifice the scale and
history of the community. 
But is that your vision for the city? Ultimately, you
have to realize that Ann Arbor, despite the best of
intentions, can't solve all of the 
growth and development problems of southeast Michigan.
You manage as much growth as is reasonable and then
rightlfully point out 
that some other location or community has to be
established to accomodate what exceeds the City's
capacity to support.

One last point, Ann Arbor is an expensive place to
live because its a desirable place to live. You can
live in plenty of places in 
Michigan for much less than what it costs to live in
Ann Arbor. But they don't have the quality of life
that Ann Arbor provides. Novi 
has the same challenges in terms of the cost of
housing although without nearly as many amenities as
Ann Arbor. I've seen examples of 
"affordable housing" built in the City which were done
at higher densities to provide lower costs. Guess what
happened? The first time 
those "affordable" houses were resold, their prices
skyrocketed to meet the demands of the market. Now
these areas have high 
density, lots of traffic and no affordable housing.
Unless the City or Townships are able and willing to
commit to some scheme that 
provides for ongoing controls on the costs of
affordable housing, they'll only be affordable once.
Then you'll have all of the negatives of 
these kinds of developments in terms of density and
impact with none of the benefits. The idea that you
can build your way out of 
sprawl is the mantra of the developers. It's a bogus
claim and yet, I see that even among
environmentalists, it's taking hold.

Andrew Mutch

--- Steve Bean <sbean@berginc.com> wrote:
> A Green's response to a friend's questions on
> Proposal B.
>  >
>  >Open space vs. greedy developers? Is Proposal B a
> non-brainer? Not
>  >necessarily.
>  >
>  >I hate sprawl and I love the countryside. I'm a
> staunch environmentalist.
>  >And I admire Mayor John Hieftje and others who are
> sincere about
>  >preserving farmland. But I still have to ask: Is
> the greenbelt proposal
>  >really good for the environment?

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