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Re: SG-W:/ Proposal B



Kristen,

If you are forming your opinion of the purchase of Dickens Woods based on
reporting in the Ann Arbor News, think again because that reporting was very
biased.  No one on the Parks Advisory Committee was ever contacted to report
on the thorough and objective process that PAC goes through in deliberating
about purchasing properties.  Only one aspect of this purchase was ever
presented in the News and other recent purchases were never even mentioned.
While it is true that PAC listened to the concerns of a very large, organized
and active group from the larger neighborhood it was by no means the deciding
factor. Perhaps you  might like to know that Dickens Woods is one of the few
remaining undeveloped properties that lies in the headwaters of two of our
degraded urban tributaries to the Huron River, Allens and Mallets Creeks, both
of which have been targeted for study and restoration.  Perhaps PAC is looking
at the bigger picture and trying to purchase properties whether they be for
open space, natural areas or play areas that improve the overall quality of
the city.

Also, it does seem that you are asking for one relatively small, local
initiative to solve many large and very complex problems such as affordable
housing and urban density that occur in all our cities.

Catherine Riseng
PAC

"Kristen A. Gibbs" wrote:

> I, too, have misgivings about this proposal, and here are some of my
> reasons.
>
> 1. There was no public process.
> The Mayor lied about this in the forum held at the State Theater. He said
> that there had been public input at an A2 Planning Commission meeting.
> There was not, ever, such a meeting. There was a public input session held
> *after* the State Theater forum, in which the planning commission and the
> public could give their opinion on the topic, but to what purpose? the
> ballot initiative was pushed through hurriedly by Council in August, a
> month when people usually travel before school starts. One must wonder why
> this was! was it because no one wanted the idea 'diluted' by public
> process? wouldn't it have been better to discuss it for a year, gain more
> information & studies as well as more public buy-in, and then vote on it?
>
> 2. There is no support for affordable housing.
> I don't expect this one vote to solve this recurring problem, but am
> disturbed that the Mayor on the one hand says he is 'for' affordable
> housing, and on the other coordinates an end run around the Planning
> Commission & the affordable housing committees (which COUNCIL created) to
> halt discussions about accessory dwelling units before that public process
> even got off the ground. The issue  of ADUs was viewed by many affordable
> housing advocates as the smallest, easiest step to take toward more
> affordable housing, and it went down in flames. Does the Council and Mayor
> really have the political will to tackle affordable housing? I don't think
> so.
>
> 3. There is little support for higher densities within the City.
> The most recent planning iniative of the city, the NE Area plan,
> recommended moderate increases in density. Over and over again, any
> increase in density was met with STRONG opposition, both from citizens and
> the Council. Again, no political will to do what needs to be done.
>
> 4. Little coordination with the surrounding townships.
> We *might* have one townshp willing to put their money where their mouth
> is, i.e. Ann Arbor Township. Only two others - Pittsfield and Scio - have
> even talked about putting money towards this plan. What about the other
> townships further out that are affected by this plan? NO coordination was
> made with them, they didn't hear about this plan until it was in the news.
> Is this good regional planning?
>
> 5. No input from professional planners.
> Why, when we have a wealth of professionals who deal with planning issues
> like this every day for their jobs, in the form of City planning staff and
> professors at UM and EMU, were none of them consulted about this ballot?
> I'm not saying that they have all the answers, but it seems awfully wrong
> to have the City planning staff first hear about this from reading the
> newspaper, as I have heard!
>
> My own personal take on this issue...
> - I am against using A2 money outside our boundaries if the townships do
> not also put money towards the purchase.
> - I would only use this money to buy land that is contiguous to existing
> parks to make a connected greenbest and/or for land that is significant to
> the Huron Watershed, our source of water. I am not for buying "open space"
> simply because it is open.
> - I really hope that the city will use a clear, unbiased method in
> choosing properties, and not simply to stop development in politically hot
> areas (witness Dickins Woods).
>
> Am I voting for this proposal? I honestly don't know; I go back and forth
> on the issue. Time is running out of course, and I fully expect I'll go to
> the voting polls on Tuesday with questions still in my mind.
>
> regards,
>
> -K. Gibbs
>
> ------------------------------------------------------
> "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
>         - Mahatma Gandhi
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>
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