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Thread: Michigan Land Use Council

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Michigan Land Use Council

    Governor Granholm and Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan Land Use Council

    The members of the council include:
    William Milliken, Former Governor of Michigan (Co-Chair)
    Frank Kelley Former Attorney General of Michigan (Co-Chair)
    Patty Birkholz State Senator
    Liz Brater State Senator
    Ruth Johnson State Representative
    Chris Kolb State Representative
    Jim Barrett Michigan Chamber of Commerce, President
    Jim Brooks Retired Businessman
    Keith Charters New Designs for Growth
    Dan Gilmartin Michigan Municipal League, Deputy Executive Director
    Gordon Guyer Former DNR & Agriculture Dept. Director
    Colin Hubbell The Hubbell Group, Founding Partner
    Robert R. Jones Builder, Former President Michigan Home Builders Assoc.
    Dan Kildee Genesee County Treasurer
    Mick McGraw Home Builder/Developer
    Chris MacInnes Crystal Mountain Resort, Senior VP
    Larry Merrill Michigan Township Association, Executive Director
    James Okrazewski MeadWestvaco Papers Group, Fiber Supply Manager
    Lana Pollack Michigan Environmental Council, President
    Helen Taylor Nature Conservancy, State Director
    Rev. Kevin Turman M.O.S.E.S., President
    Hans Voss Michigan Land Use Institute, Executive Director
    Brian Warner Wolverine Power, Environmentalist
    Hester Wheeler Detroit NAACP, Executive Director
    Gil White Michigan Association of Realtors, Director
    Wayne Wood Michigan Farm Bureau, President

    ********

    Notice the lack of professional planning experience. The Michigan Society of Planning had pushed for an appointment by one of it's members, but apparently a planner isn't important on a land use council ???

  2. #2

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    Don't worry...

    I think that once non-planners begin discussing and debating planning issues, we as planners have sort of accomplished our task. Evidently sprawl concerns in Michigan have gotten to the point that business and political leaders think something should be done.

    But they will come back to the planners. They will search for the vernacular to articulate their goals and realize that they don't have it, and we do.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Political appointments have nothing to do with qualifications and expertise.

    That list is disappointing because it lacks important representatives from urban areas.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I'm not surpised. Every time the some elected goon establishes some similar type of committee/council, they always exclude planners, but then come running back to one when the crud hits the fan.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Examples of Smart Growth that have been implemented?

    I am a planner in Michigan and lately I have been thinking about Smart Growth and Governor Granholm's land use initiative. The thing is, I don't know what exactly Smart Growth is. Sure, I know that it is generally about curbing sprawl, but specifically, I don't know the details. I've done some some preliminary research at the the Michigan Land Use Institute website (mlui.org) and I've found the following:

    "During her successful 2002 election campaign, Ms. Granholm repeatedly promised to establish a bipartisan commission to study the consequences of Michigan’s sprawling patterns of development and recommend solutions. She specifically said she wanted to evaluate state spending programs that encourage sprawl and “terminate those that cause irreparable harm to our land resources.” Ms. Granholm said she wanted to invest more state dollars in cities and older suburbs for public transit, affordable housing, infrastructure, and urban redevelopment. And she wanted to assist communities in “assessing the long-term costs of low density development,” and provide technical and financial support to reduce them."

    (From http://www.mlui.org/growthmanagement...p?fileid=16397)

    And:

    "But even as Smart Growth proponents await details of the Smart Growth Commission's mission and work plan, advocates and opponents of managing growth in Michigan said it is obvious that curbing sprawl, solving congestion, conserving farmland and other so-called Smart Growth priorities are now squarely in the spotlight in Lansing."

    (http://www.mlui.org/growthmanagement...p?fileid=16391)

    This information is helpful, but only to a point. I am curious about the success of Smart Growth policies.

    Does anyone know of any states or metro regions that have adopted Smart Growth policies? If they exist, can you tell me the objectives of these policies? Are they successful? What have been some of the difficulties getting them implemented? How effective are they?

    Smart Growth has become sexy in some areas, and clearly, it is a hot issue in the Governor's office here in Michigan. However, recent news from other places makes it clear that not everyone likes what Smart Growth has to offer. The first thing that comes to mind is the recent controversy involving the APA and Professional Builder magazine. Apparently, the magazine, after strong opposition from its readers, withdrew a professional achievement award that was to be given to APA for its "Growing Smart" project. (More at http://www.planning.org/newsreleases/2003/ftp011703.htm)

    I know APA has a Smart Growth reader at http://www.planning.org/SGReader/index.htm but I do not have access to it. Any links to good articles on the web or any print articles that I can pick up my library will be helpful and very much appreciated. Thanks!

  6. #6

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    The lack of planners doesn't trouble me as much as the presence of the legislators. They get the final shot at everything anyway, and their presence on commissions like this always waters down the results. The state legislators who served on Arizona's Growing Smarter Commission (do not look at that as an example by the way! it was a failure of gargantuan proportions) controlled the process from the beginning with very explicit threats about what would and would not pass.

    Having spent some time with Keith Charters, I think he is probably as knowledgeable about land use at the policy level as most planners, and a practical and influential guy. Professional planners need to play the usual role, offer support to the commission members who will listen.

    Having mentioned an example of a completely worthless state smart growth program, I should remind you of Washington and Oregon. Their programs are quite different in many ways, but both offer a lot of interesting lessons. Then there is Maryland, another set of lessons. All three states definitely have some successes. MOP, MD Office of Planning, and Washington's Office of Community Development, and OR's Department of Land Conservation and Development all have web sites to start with. Also 1000 Friends of Oregon's site is good (there are also a 1000 Friends groups in WA and WI). Some other states have interesting programs, including your neighbors across Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and Vermont's long-established program. There are also states that have interesting legislation that isn't exactly a smart growth program (CO's "1041" legislation and Georgia's planning requirements for local gov't) One thing you will note about the somewhat successful programs is that while they end up addressing pretty much the same topics, they are all quite different, reflecting the local political culture.

    If I were a MI planner I would set up a working group and come up with some proposals for the Commission. Lots of other groups will be doing that!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Final report available at http://www.michiganlanduse.org/finalreport.htm

    It is 101 pages long and requires Acrobat Reader.

    My favorite portion of the vision statement, from page 22:

    "The principal purpose of the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council is to make recommendations to reform land use decisions in Michigan so that we create sustainable and more livable communities—large and small—in the both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, from Lake Michigan to Lakes Erie, Huron, and Superior. Land use in Michigan is about maintaining and, where necessary, restoring or creating communities that people want to live in and providing housing choices that do not now exist for many. At the same time, land use in Michigan is about preserving open space, farmland, and forestland. It is about:

    • Vibrant, “hip” cities that combine the best of the old with new redeveloped housing and worksites, where people can move about easily by means of a variety of modes of transportation and feel safe and secure while doing so."

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Re: Examples of Smart Growth that have been implemented?

    Originally posted by Alan
    I am a planner in Michigan and lately I have been thinking ....
    Stop now - before it's too late.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    D'OH!

    Originally posted by Rem
    Stop now - before it's too late.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Originally posted by Alan
    Vibrant, “hip” cities that combine the best of the old with new redeveloped housing and worksites, where people can move about easily by means of a variety of modes of transportation and feel safe and secure while doing so.
    Do you suspect the planning team was having a late night, maybe there were a few beers being shared around, maybe someone had just been down south and had brought back a little weed ......and maybe everyone in the room had no idea about how bad Richie's Dad looked when walking into Arnolds and asking the Fonz "what's happening man?"

  11. #11
    BEWARE: RANT follows:

    An article on this site today warns that, if Michigan does not do something about urban sprawl, it will soon end up "like New Jersey".

    I wonder if the author meant the part about New Jerseyan's never defeating referenda for "Green Acres" (purchase and preservation of open space)?

    Or the active preservation of farmland?

    Maybe he meant the mandatory development of affordable housing embodied in the Mt. Laurel decision?

    Surely he was discussing New Jersey's cutting-edge rehabilitation building codes?

    Could he have thought Bob Seger will be reborn as "the Boss"?

    As a native Jerseyan -- now an ex-pat -- I know the Garden State is far from perfect, but many things the state has done have been right-minded. I get extremely honked when some slovenly writer who has probably never been there decides to take pot shots at my home state. His editor is a laggard, too.

    (114A)

    Okay, rant over. I feel better.

    A while ago the thread was discussing redevelopment of urban areas. A major player in the success of such efforts are the building inspectors. If they don't recognize that a masonry three-story c.1869 victorian isn't the same as a BP station out on the edge, then you can kiss urban revitalization good-bye.

    If a developer gets screwed over by some building official who is inflexible, you get two things: A developer who will never consider rehabilitation -- no matter what the tax benefit, and more sprawl -- because they go back to the greenfields where they know what to expect.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Originally posted by Rem
    Do you suspect the planning team was having a late night, maybe there were a few beers being shared around, maybe someone had just been down south and had brought back a little weed ......and maybe everyone in the room had no idea about how bad Richie's Dad looked when walking into Arnolds and asking the Fonz "what's happening man?"
    Ha! Good one!

    Actually, Governor Granholm is promoting, err selling, the whole "vibrant hip cities" message throughout the state. I imagine the Land Use Council was expressing their endearing love for Jennifer by listing that statement as their first bulleted goal in the vision statement. The origin of the "vibrant hip cities" sales pitch comes from the fact that Michigan is lagging in their retention of the "creative class" and the demographic group that is associated with it.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Originally posted by Gedunker
    BEWARE: RANT follows:

    An article on this site today warns that, if Michigan does not do something about urban sprawl, it will soon end up "like New Jersey".

    I wonder if the author meant the part about New Jerseyan's never defeating referenda for "Green Acres" (purchase and preservation of open space)?
    Yeah, NJ gets a bad rap. From what I understand, NJ has enacted some rather forward-thinking land use policies. Wasn't former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman the former governor of NJ?

  14. #14
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Originally posted by Alan
    ...Michigan is lagging in their retention of the "creative class" and the demographic group that is associated with it.
    This is true. Michigan lost me and by that simple fact Michigan should be weeping and bemoaning the lost, since I am simply amazing!!!
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  15. #15
    Member UPPlanner's avatar
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    my 2 cents

    I too am a Michigan planner, and have volunteered some of my non-existent spare time to the Michigan Economic Developers Assoscation: Land Use Council Taskforce. Apparently we are going to pour over all the recommendations and weed out those closely associated with Economic Development and focus on those.

    We'll see.

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