Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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

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