Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

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

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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