Michigan Land Use Institute

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Take Action

August 1, 2001 | By Keith Schneider
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

The Michigan Legislature is moving toward policies that would help communities grow in ways that protect valuable natural resources. Your support is vital for the success of the Smart Growth initiatives now on the table in Lansing.

Getting the ball rolling

House Speaker Rick Johnson (R-LeRoy) personally promoted a legislative package in April that forms a cogent statewide vision for managing growth, rebuilding cities, assuring clean water, and conserving farmland. Two of the package’s core provisions are: • The Coordinated Planning Act, or House Bill 4571, which is a measure to encourage local governments to plan their growth with the environmental and economic concerns of neighboring communities in mind. • The Development Rights Marketing Act, or House Bill 4346, would give local governments the authority to create markets for development rights. Farmland owners could sell their sub- division rights to developers who could then transfer these rights to parcels in existing towns or areas already planned for growth, permanently protecting open space.

Water works

The state Senate also is getting involved with action on legislation to clear sewage from the state’s waters. State Senator Ken Sikkema (R-Grandville), chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee, is promoting a five-bill package — Senate Bills 105, 106, 107, 108, and 109 — to control sewage overflows. The Senate approved all the measures, except for Senate Bill 107, earlier this year. The House votes next.

Key contacts

Express your support for Speaker Johnson’s land use vision, the Coordinated Planning Act, the Development Rights Marketing Act, and Sen. Sikkema’s water quality package. Contact: • Your own state legislators and other key lawmakers at the State Capitol, Lansing, MI 48909. The mailing address for senators is PO Box 30036. For representatives use PO Box 30014. To locate phone numbers and email addresses and to track legislative progress on the bills, see . • House Speaker Rick Johnson at 517-373-1747 or . • Representative Ruth Johnson (R-Holly), chair of the House’s new Land Use and Environment Committee, which is considering the Development Rights Marketing Act, or H.B. 4346. Call her at 517-373-1798 or email . • Representative Patricia Birkholz (R-Saugatuck), chair of the Local Government and Urban Policy Committee, which is working on the Coordinated Planning Act, or H.B. 4571. Call her at 517-373-0836 or email . –KS

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