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Re: SG-W:/ Proposal B

Kristen and others,

I confess I got somewhat huffy over the Dickens Woods at the end of a long day.  It has
been frustrating watching that purchase by PAC get portrayed so simplistically and
negatively in the News.  I was responding in that spirit and was unaware of the Planning
Commission dealings with the Dickens housing project.


"Kristen A. Gibbs" wrote:

> Bill and others,
> After doing more reading on the issue (thank you all for the links!) I'm
> coming around to supporting it. On a personal level, this proposal will
> only cost me $50 a year, and I have to think that realistically, even if
> only 20 acres of land are saved, it is worth it. I mean, I'd *love* to
> have more than that saved, and for the money to be spent wisely, and with
> matching funds from the townships and all that - but it comes down to the
> fact that even one drop in the bucket is better than nothing at all.
> I still hope for a more comprehensive and thorough plan to slow sprawl or
> change the form of growth entirely. I wish this was the first of many
> proposals that came out of such a comprehensive plan. But it isn't - it is
> one shot at a huge problem, and no one seems where we go from here. I
> really hope that a success with this ballot proposal will propel us to
> tackle even more issues like it! There is so much we can do once we get
> going.
> Bill, I realize that the Mayor must have met with Planning Commission
> after my term was over. But I went through the minutes, and he never
> appeared at any recorded meeting, which means he must have been at the
> working session on August 12th. Is that correct? If the Mayor was there,
> my sincerest apologies are due to him, because that is indeed a public
> meeting. That said, I'm still a little disappointed by the lack of public
> involvement, because I know that a working session is hardly the place
> where public input can really be taken into account. Not many people can
> fit into that room! :) And it is probably just me, but I wish there had
> been a month or two more to talk about the proposal, even if that meant
> that the homebuilders could gather more money during that time. It's a
> risk I'm willing to take in order to get more buy-in from the population
> at large.
> It was a pleasure to work with you as well, Bill, even if we didn't always
> see eye to eye. I learned a lot being on the Commission, and have been
> trying to figure out how else I can help the City deal with growth better
> through volunteering. Indeed, I have thought about applying for the
> Greenbelt Advisory Committee once Proposal B passes! We will see when that
> time comes.
> On an aside... why do we always talk about building more housing downtown
> - where land is extremely expensive - instead of better and more housing
> on the periphery of the city, where land is at least a little less
> expensive? It's an odd thing I just noticed... I'm all for more housing
> downtown, but I'm also for more (hopefully better designed) housing
> throughout the city too.
> Anyway, I hadn't intended to insult anyone about Dickens Woods, nor get
> very far into the background of that particular case. I gave my opinion,
> which admittedly was formed through just a couple interactions with the
> neighbors at a formal meeting. How much would I have known if I had stayed
> in the area instead of moving a bit north, and gotten involved with the
> Friends as I had intended? Ah well, life is too busy for all of us
> sometimes. We can't know the history of everything around us, or
> everyone's motivations. That is the way it goes. I'm glad that it has
> resulted in greater civic involvement by that community, a new park for
> the city near a school (always a good thing), and a successful fundraising
> venture.
> Thank you all for the interesting discussion, and I look forward to
> reading more about these issues in the future.
> regards,
> -Kristen
> ------------------------------------------------------
> "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
>         - Mahatma Gandhi
> ------------------------------------------------------
> On Wed, 29 Oct 2003 Willhan@aol.com wrote:
> > Kristen,
> > I hope you'll be able to work through your issues, and support Proposal B. I
> > fear you have some very bad information that you're using to make your
> > decision.
> >
>  > First of all, Mayor Hieftje did meet with the Ann Arbor Planning
> Commission
>  > at a public meeting in August to discuss the Parks and Greenbelt
> Proposal. This
>  > was after you left the Planning Commission in July. The mayor had also
> sought
>  > input from the Park Advisory Commission in August -- also at a public
>  > meeting. The mayor also initiated a public forum on Proposal B at the
> Ann Arbor
>  > Planning Commission's October 21 business meeting. Further, the mayor
> called for
>  > and organized the town hall debate on Proposal B at the Michigan
> Theater, which
>  > nearly 1,000 citizens attended and participated in. What he said at the
> debate
>  > about public input was correct. To accuse him of lying is unfair and
> simply
> > wrong.
> >
> > Second, the mayor and Leah Gunn, chair of the Washtenaw County Commission,
> > have spearheaded a regional planning effort the past several months. Several
> > township leaders and planners, as well as the planning directors and chief
> > executives from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and the County planning director are
>  > participating. The meetings have been very good, and a lot of progress
> is being made
> > on finding regional solutions to affordable housing, transportation and
> > roads, and preservation of open space.
> >
> > Third, although Mayor Hieftje is Proposal B's chief champion, and will
>  > rightly get a lot of credit for its success should voters approve it,
> the initiative
> > is the work of dozens of people over many years. Greenbelts and PDR programs
>  > have been around for years, as I'm sure you know. This program borrows
> several
>  > successful ideas from places like Peninsula Township, Michigan, the
> Greenbelt
> > Alliance Program in San Francisco, Boulder, Colorado, and Cleveland, to name
> > but a few locales that have used similar approaches to smart growth.
> >
> > Fourth, Ann Arbor Township, Pittsfield Township, Superior Township, and Scio
> > Township have all been consulted in advance of the program going forward, and
> > have been warm to it. The supervisors of each of these townships has
> >  officially endorsed Proposal B. Ann Arbor Township is going forward
> with its own
>  > program, as you point out. I predict others will follow soon if these
> two
> > initiatives are successful.
> >
> > I know from working with you on the Ann Arbor Planning Commission that you
>  > understand that affordable housing is a complex and challenging problem
> in our
> > community. I think it's unfair to suggest that Proposal B should somehow
>  > address every problem we have in our community. Housing in Ann Arbor is
> expensive
> > because people want to live here. Housing prices have continued to climb
>  > substantially in Ann Arbor with no greenbelt in place. It's wrong to
> blame the cost
>  > of housing on a plan that hasn't even been enacted. Mayor Hieftje and
> virtually
>  > every leader of the Proposal B campaign has expressed support for the
> idea of
>  > significantly increasing the number of residential units in the
> Downtown.
>  > Environmentalists have long said that they would support some more
> density in the
> > City for preservation in the outlying areas. Proposal B is the first real
> > opportunity to make that happen. It's why so many business leaders in our
> > community support it.
> >
> > Two of the most dense projects in recent history -- Lowertown and the private
> > North Quad Dorm -- were approved by Planning Commission and City Council
> > largely because of Mayor Hieftje's leadership.
> >
> > If approved by voters, Proposal B will result in creation of a Greenbelt
> > Advisory Committee, much like the County's Natural Areas Technical Advisory
> > Committee. The technical advisory group will make recommendations to City Council,
> > who will ultimately decide how funds are spent. The committee will be made up
> > of citizens from a broad spectrum of professions -- and will likely include
> > land-use planners, developers, architects, scientists, environmentalists,
> > educators, and preservationists. If you decide to support Proposal B, I would
> > certainly support your appointment to the Greenbelt Committee.
> >
> > Kristen, I enjoyed working with you on the Ann Arbor Planning Commission, and
> > I respect your opinion. I certainly acknowledge your right to disagree with
> > Mayor Hieftje about his agenda and his ideas. I don't think it's fair to accuse
> > him of lying, though. He values public input more than many leaders who have
> > come and gone at City Hall, and he's put together a remarkably broad coalition
> > to support Proposal B. I hope you'll join that coalition, and vote YES
> > Tuesday.
> >
> > Respectfully,
> > Bill Hanson
> > Ann Arbor Planning Commissioner and Washtenaw Land Trust Executive Director
> >
> >
> >
> >
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org:School of Natural Resources and Environment;University of Michigan
title:Research Associate II
adr;quoted-printable:;;430 E. University=0D=0A;Ann Arbor;MI;48109;
fn:Catherine Riseng