Im a Vietnam infantry veteran and I find it almost amazing that there is this big scandal about our military beating, raping, killing prisoners.
When you say its okay to kill and wave the flag and cheer - then its okay to kill. The other stuff just goes along with it.
There is no morality in war. No matter how much paint (be it patriotic or religious or Just War Theory) you apply, the blood comes through.
Arnold Stieber Grass Lake
Bad for business
My wife and I are the owners of the Harbour View Centre project, which lies adjacent to the Hall Street property on both the north and west sides. The purpose of this letter is to express our opposition to the granting of the Special Land Use permit (SLUP) that is required for BATA to occupy the Hall street property.
In 1997 we approached the city planning director about the concept of placing a five story building on our property. We were told that it was the intention of the city through the master plan to create in this area a village like atmosphere of residences and ancillary commercial businesses. Adhering to this concept and with substantial direction and input from the city planner, we designed and built a first class mixed use building. We had to include residential units to fit within the zoning requirements. In fact the Master Plan was quite clear when it spelled out that Along Hall Street, residential units with ancillary commercial businesses are planned and Mixed use developments typically include residential units, offices and small scale commercial uses.
We have a substantial investment in this project and we feel that it will be seriously jeopardized by placing next to it a bus transfer station that will emit noxious diesel fumes and noise from the anticipated 168 buses per day. In fact we have several open air terraces that directly front on the proposed area and will no doubt be subject to these fumes and noise. This definitely does not meet the standard of subsection (f) of Specific Standards for SLUPs which states Noise, lights, glare and odor will not unreasonably disturb the surrounding land uses or members of the public.
The uses specifically prohibited in this D3 Redevelopment area include every type of business that has a drive through. It being the intention of the city to exclude these businesses, I ask you how the bus station, which is in fact a large drive-through business delivering people instead of goods, could possibly fit into what is to be a residential area?
By granting this SLUP you would be effectively sabotaging the intent of the Master Plan and writing off this neighborhood and its future as a residential/commercial focal point of Traverse City. It would send a very clear signal to other land owners and developers to be very wary of investing money in downtown Traverse City when the city government cannot be trusted to adhere to its own guidelines.
Can you remove from the tax rolls yet another valuable piece of property while the city is running an annual $900,000 deficit and over 46% of the city land is off the tax rolls? People are justifiably scornful of the high taxes in this city and this would only make it worse. The city would be foregoing a ten year property tax payment somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,500,000 that could be garnered from development of this parcel other than as a bus station.
Also, at this point I would say it is highly unlikely that my wife and I would build our intended second building if the bus station was allowed and that would account for another $1,500,000 in lost tax revenue. All of this doesnt even account for the damage that will be done to the values of surrounding properties.
The concerned citizens of the Hall St./ Garland area have already collected the signatures of over 800 individuals and 125 businesses that are opposed to this BATA location. That in turn has led the Downtown Development Authority to also oppose this location. I would ask that you seriously weigh the opinions of many people in making your decision on this matter.
Bernard Stover TC
(The above was excerpted from a letter to the city commission. --ed.)
The real BATA issue
It has been quite amusing reading the output of the opponents of the downtown bus terminal, the latest being Howard Scheldes note to the May 13th Express.
How gracefully they dance around their real gripe! How carefully they avoid mentioning the unmentionable! How creatively they launch empty and vague criticisms of the terminal when what they really object to is the people on the busses.
Since the folks in the Hall Street area are too shy, let me state the real case for them: People who ride public transit are poor. They are shiftless. They are liable to be our customers. And they stink.
Schelde is right about one thing: small business is what makes Michigans economy work. But that doesnt mean small business owners are the only people who get a say. And it doesnt mean that small business owners are the only constituency that gets served by our tax dollars.
But the prejudice against public transport and those who ride it is small-minded and short-sighted. A viable public transport system is an important part of a viable downtown district.
Of course, changing BATAs image and making it a truly viable transport option has to be a big part of what happens now. Theres much that needs to be done, but Scheldes nay-saying is just NIMBY, plain and simple, and reflects very little of the vision and courage he showed in building North Peak.
Oran Kelley TC
Be sure to vote
My good friend and fellow colleague lost his son in the tragedy of 9/11. He was 26 years old, newlywed, a recent graduate of Amherst College, and from what I understand from his father and many others, one hell of a pitcher.
The pain of that day was compounded with myself and my family by such close association with one that had perished. Ironicly, my daughter‘s college friend from Michigan State, who had stayed with us for a ski weekend, lost her father on that day. What are the odds, being from a small community in Northwest Michigan?
I now have a friend and co-worker who has a son stationed on the Syrian border of Iraq.
I find myself talking with God more than I used to.
All of those that read this, make sure that you get out and vote this November.
Ray Bollman TC