Ann Arbor to preserve open space

By | 2013-03-11T09:00:00-04:00 March 11th, 2013|Uncategorized|

ANN ARBOR – While Nov. 4 saw places like Rochester Hills and Tyrone Township rejecting tax millages to pay for services such as police and fire departments, Ann Arbor residents voted by an overwhelming margin to pay for the preservation of open space.
Proposal B asked Ann Arbor residents to vote yes or no on a tax millage to “buy parklands and preserve open space in and outside the city limits.” A vast majority said, “Yes.” A similar proposal was passed in Ann Arbor Township with 77% opting to pass it.
The Greenbelt Proposal, introduced in August by Mayor John Hieftje, is intended to curb sprawl and increase open space. Urban sprawl is a big problem for cities that are seeing more and more people and businesses moving away from the city and into undeveloped land. Not only are wetlands being filled in to build shopping malls, but also the tax base of major cities dwindles in the process with vacant buildings and lots left in the wake.
Alarmed by the fast-spreading urban sprawl, Ann Arbor voters turned out in such large numbers that some polling stations ran out of ballots.
The Friends of Ann Arbor Open Space, a group pushing for the Greenbelt Proposal’s passage, sees this as a major victory for environmental interests in Michigan. The Washtenaw Citizens for Responsible Growth, a group opposed to the measure that included the Michigan Association of Homebuilders, laments its passage fearing that it will hurt economic and development interests in the city.
According to a Nov. 5 article in the Ann Arbor News, “Proposal B will cost taxpayers 50 cents on every $1,000 of taxable property value. The tax replaces an existing parks acquisition millage that was set to expire in 2004. The tax will generate an estimated $84 million over 30 years. The plan calls for one-third of the money to be used for city park land acquisition; the rest would be used to help buy development rights on up to 10,000 acres outside the city.”

About the Author: