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 · Acme Town Center will...
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Acme Town Center will Fuel more Sprawl for the Region

William G. Milliken - July 22nd, 2004
During the last year, the Grand Traverse region has debated the merits of a new “town center” proposal in Acme Township. While I certainly support the township’s goal of concentrating new development and combating sprawl, I strongly oppose the current proposal.
Through their master planning process a few years ago, Acme Township residents told their government that they wanted a “town center” development. What they meant, and still mean, is: They want a place that feels like home, a place that is distinctive, that has a sense of neighborliness, and that carefully mixes homes with shops, offices, and civic space. They want a walkable community with quiet, pleasant streets and sidewalks. They do not want a place that is a commercial and retail epicenter for the region.
The current proposal flies in the face of those desires. Developers have proposed a shopping mall as large as the combined size of two other malls just 20 minutes away: the Grand Traverse Mall and Grand Traverse Crossings. It would have more than one million square feet of commercial space, including two 200,000-square-foot big-box stores, plus very large parking lots and, if it is to succeed, plenty of traffic. It would indeed be a commercial and retail epicenter for the county and beyond.
In the next 15 years, an estimated 50,000 people will move to this region seeking our high quality of life. So Acme is right to plan for rapid growth. But this proposed “town center” would not — despite some claims — lessen development pressure in the surrounding area. This combination of a modest housing development and a gigantic mall would in fact generate sprawl, particularly strip malls, subdivisions, and traffic congestion. The area will quickly go the way of Garfield Township.
It does not have to be that way. Last year, I co-chaired the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council, a bipartisan, public-private task force that issued many well-considered, well-researched recommendations meant to revitalize city centers and help rural areas properly manage their growth.
One recommendation encourages neighboring communities to coordinate their growth regionally. But even as the current Acme “town center” proposal ignores the township master plan, it is taking shape without any active input from Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, or other neighboring townships or counties. All this despite the fact that this development proposal in Acme Township, which has a population of only about 4,000 people, hinges on the expectation of attracting business from tens of thousands of households throughout the area.
This is a crucial test for the Grand Traverse region.
Thankfully, more and more people from all walks of life are realizing they must work together to make sure that we manage growth in a way that permanently protects our wonderful place, northwest Michigan. I hope you will join many of them at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 26, when the Acme Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the current “town center” proposal at the New Hope Church off U.S. 31, just north of Acme. Whether you live in Acme Township or not, this important decision affects you. Please attend and ask township officials to develop a new plan that fulfills the vision we share for our region.
It’s hard work, but with active civic involvement and strong leadership we can protect our landscape from haphazard growth for generations to come.

William G. Milliken, a Republican, was governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1982 — the longest serving governor in the state’s history. In 2003 he was appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm to
co-chair the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council, which recommended steps the state needs to take to slow sprawl,
rebuild cities, conserve natural resources, and improve the state’s economic
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