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Re: SG-W:/ Proposal B



There's quite a bit of information at http://a2openspace.org

At 5:08 PM -0500 10/29/03, Catherine Riseng wrote:
>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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