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Re: SG-W:/ Where do we go from here?



Jeff,

I was having the same thoughts last night. As great a victory as this is, if
it can be parlayed into more victories in the surrounding areas, that will
make these wins even more important. Those Townships that surround the City
really have a financial incentive to work with the City to make farmland and
open space preservation a reality. Let's face it, there aren't too many
alternative funding sources out there that can have the impact that the City
can have. While one township reacted negatively to this potential, I think the
Townships that really have felt the growth are onboard with the program.

Opportunities:
The first order of business in my mind would be a meeting of the major players
in land preservation to discuss what are the opportunities and where each can
maximize their resources. These would include the City, the Township, the
County Natural Areas group, the Washtenaw Land Trust and the Southeast
Michigan Land Conservancy. Also, if Pittsfield, Scio and Superior Townships
are willing to be contributors, they should be part of the discussion. It
probably also makes sense to have U-M involved as they have some major land
holdings in the greenbelt area (Matthaei, etc.).

If it's possible, it would be great to see some acquisitions happen in the
very near future to show voters that there tax dollars can make a difference.
There are probably already some people deciding today whether they are going
to go the PDR route. I don't know when the dollars are going to be available
but maybe we can see some bridge deals that would allow some early successes
to be recorded.

Also, I have suggested before that the City has some land holdings in
Pittsfield that would be prime for designation as permanent farmland or
conservation easements. This includes some of the land around the airport and
south of the MRF that the City owns but is still leased out for farming, as
far as I can tell. The City will have to work with Pittsfield to see if this
matches their vision. But how cool would it be to be able to go back to the
residents and let them know that a buffer has already been established, where
it can be, along the City's southern border? Of all of the Townships in the
greenbelt, Pittsfield is the most impacted by growth and probably has the
fewest preservation opportunities. But with the establishment of the Preserve,
there's a nice base to establish some breathing space between the two
communities.

As Jeff noted, Webster seems prime for pitching a new vision for growth. What
kind of technical support can the Township get to establish a vision that
includes PDRs?

Challenges:
Northfield Township: I don't think I need to go into too much detail on the
problems up in Northfield. When your Township Board is hostile to PDR and is
developer-friendly, you have real problems. I know there's a grassroots
efforts in place but we really need to provide support to those residents
trying to stop really bad things from happening. It also is going to need
support from the AG community who can talk to their fellow farmers and show
them that there is a better way through PDR.

Salem Township: Salem is facing incredible pressures from the M-14 corridor
and from sprawl spilling over from Wayne County. We really need to connect
with the folks working in Salem to see how we can assist them. I think the
real problem there is conflicting visions about where the Township is going to
head in the future. The greenbelt proposal may help them clarify how they want
to grow.

I'll be interested to see where the areas of opportunities lie within the
greenbelt. I know that organizations like the Washtenaw Land Trust and the
Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy already have lands protected within the
greenbelt area. There may also be areas within the Greenbelt that are going to
be designated growth areas for the Townships, like the areas along the east
half of Ann Arbor Township. But how exciting is it to actually be able to
discuss these ideas with the knowledge that they are something more than just
wistful visions??
:-)

Andrew Mutch
Novi


Jeff Surfus wrote:

> First off, congratulations to all who worked to make Proposal B happen.
> You know who you are and you are saints, one and all!
>
> Take a day or two off...you deserve it!
>
> But...
>
> It's not to early to start talking about next steps in the followup to
> Proposal B.
>
> I think the next ring of townships out from Ann Arbor could be encouraged
> to do something similar.
>
> Right now the people in Webster Township are fed up and outraged over a
> proposed massive mobile home park.  That energy could be used to build
> interest in a meaningful effort in Webster Twp.
>
> I live in Scio Twp and am tired of the continuing onslaught of big box
> stores coming in along Jackson Road.  A monster Lowes is being finished
> now and word is that a Home Depot is next right down the road.  Can a
> Walmart be far behind?
>
> The devastation of farmland and trees in Dexter Township is sickening,
> particularly along Island Lake Road.  There is also the lingering memory
> of the Panda plant that was to be built in that township.
>
> Bridgewater township--Massive sand and gravel expansion potentially
> causing devastation to groundwater and wetlands.
>
> I'm sure there is much more that could be added to the list.
>
> Let's use this venue to encourage positive follow-up to Proposal B in the
> townships!!
>
> Jeff Surfus
>
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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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