Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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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
competitiveness.
 
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