Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · The Battle in Acme
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The Battle in Acme

Jim Lively - March 1st, 2007
Acme Township’s brave battle to build a village instead of a pair of huge shopping centers is raging again. No matter where you live in Northern Michigan, you should care about this.
Acme’s struggle is more than another fight between aggressive developers and growth-fearing townies. Unlike many communities that have allowed themselves to be gradually paved over during the past half-century, Acme residents took the time a few years ago to decide, together, what they wanted their
community to look and feel like—and wrote it into their master plan.
Their idea was visionary: Concentrate development, rather than letting it run rampant across Acme’s beautiful countryside. Transform a 182-acre field along M-72 near U.S. 31 into a downtown resembling Elk Rapids or Suttons Bay. Give it a main street, lots of retail businesses and offices, and surround it with traditionally designed, walkable neighborhoods with pleasurable and practical nearby destinations—parks, stores, and work places. Encourage community, rather than eviscerate it.
But Acme’s board of trustees now finds itself in a startling, ironic bind.
After sweeping the previous board out of office because it ignored the master plan and instead approved a massive shopping mall “lifestyle center” for the M-72 site—and after winning, as a township board and as individual citizens, three out of three lawsuits involving either the lifestyle center or a Meijer store proposal for an adjacent field—the current trustees now face their own recall election on Tuesday, February 27.
Even though the master plan that the board is defending allows lots of commercial development, even though the board has repeatedly invited the developers to work with them and a renowned consultant to find a compromise, and even though the board has already granted Meijer permission to build a 232,000-square-foot store, recall proponents insist that the trustees are anti-growth, anti-property rights extremists.
In evaluating that accusation, it’s important to understand the scale of the developers’ proposals: a lifestyle center and an adjacent big-box mall that, together, would contain slightly more than one million square feet of commercial space—about the size of the Grand Traverse Mall and Grand Traverse Crossing combined. In retail space alone, moreover, the Acme proposal still exceeds the 461,000 square feet of retail space that downtown Traverse City—the region’s largest city—offers.
So, perhaps, when the current board puts modest conditions on the design
of these developments, it is not about being anti-growth. Maybe it is about
self-defense.

Jim Lively directs the Michigan Land Use Institute’s Northwest Michigan program. Reach him at jim@mlui.org.
 
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