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Granholm Appoints Institute Director to Smart Growth Council

Hans Voss named to 26-member panel

February 5, 2003 | By Keith Schneider
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

MLUI/Keith Schneider
  As a grass roots organizer, coalition builder, project manager, and writer Hans Voss played an indispensable role in helping to elevate the consequences of sprawl in Michigan to a statewide priority.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm today appointed Hans Voss, the executive director of the Michigan Land Use Institute, to be a member of her bipartisan Michigan Land Use Leadership Council. Governor Granholm, a Democrat who campaigned last year to rein in Michigan’s damaging patterns of development, charged the council with “studying and identifying trends, causes, and consequences of urban sprawl,” and to make recommendations that “minimize the impact of current land use trends on Michigan’s environment and economy.”

“Land use is a critical environmental and economic issue,” said Ms. Granholm, who also confirmed that former Republican Governor William G. Milliken and former Democratic Attorney Frank J. Kelley would lead the panel. “I am very pleased that two respected Michigan leaders – one a Republican, and one a Democrat – have agreed to step forward and take on an issue that is important to our entire state and the way of life our families enjoy.”

Voss Made Smart Growth a Priority
Mr. Voss is an expert in land use policy who joined the Michigan Land Use Institute staff in July 1995, just two months after the organization opened its doors. As a grass roots organizer, coalition builder, project manager, and writer Mr. Voss played an indispensable role in helping to elevate the consequences of sprawl in Michigan, and innovative solutions, to a statewide priority. Mr. Voss was named the Institute’s executive director in August 2000.
Under his leadership the organization solidified its reputation as the premier land use policy organization in Michigan and one of the 15-largest state-based land use and environmental research and advocacy organizations in the nation. The Institute has offices in Beulah, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids, a 14-member staff, a 15-member board, 2,000 members statewide, and a $1.5 million budget.

Mr. Voss is one of the 26 members of Ms. Granholm’s Michigan Land Use  Leadership Council. Other prominent members include Jim Barrett, president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Chris MacInnes, senior vice president of Crystal Mountain Resort in Benzie County, Hester Wheeler, executive director of the Detroit NAACP, Lana Pollack, president of the Michigan Environmental Council, and Larry Merrill, executive director of the Michigan Township Association.

“This commission has the potential to solve some of the most pressing economic, agricultural, environmental, and social issues facing Michigan,” said Mr. Voss, who added that he was pleased to be appointed. “I’m convinced that advancing new Smart Growth policies and thinking harder about where we make state investments will play a big part in helping to solve Michigan’s budget challenges. It will also satisfy the overwhelming call from Michigan’s citizens to enhance our cities, protect our countryside, and improve the quality of life in this state.”

A Step Towards Real Progress
Governor Granholm took care in her announcement to stress the bipartisan nature of the Land Use Leaderhip Council, and her clear intent to make its work public and inclusive. She said the council would “seek public participation in the process” and look to interest groups, experts, local government leaders, and citizens to conduct its work. She set August 15 as the deadline for the council to make recommendations to her and the Legislature.

State Representative Rick Johnson, the Republican house speaker, and state Senator Ken Sikkema, the Republican majority leader, negotiated with the governor on the Land Use Council’s size and scope, and chose half of the panel’s members. Both lawmakers said they supported the council and looked forward to its conclusions. State Senator Patricia Birkholz and Representative Ruth Johnson will represent Republicans on the panel. The Democratic lawmakers appointed to the council were state Senator Liz Brater and Representative Chris Kolb.



William G. Milliken - Former Governor of Michigan (Co-Chair)
Frank J. Kelley - Former Attorney General of Michigan (Co-Chair)
Patricia Birkholz - State Senator (R)
Liz Brater - State Senator (D)
Ruth Johnson - State Representative (R)
Chris Kolb - State Representative (D)
Jim Barrett - Michigan Chamber of Commerce, President
Jim Brooks - Retired Businessman
Keith Charters - New Designs for Growth
Dan Gilmartin - Michigan Municipal League, Deputy Executive Director
Gordon Guyer - Former Director, Departments of Natural Resources & Agriculture
Colin Hubbell - The Hubbell Group, Founding Partner
Robert R. Jones - Former President Michigan Association of Home Builders 
Dan Kildee - Genesee County Treasurer
Mick McGraw - Home Builder/Developer
Chris MacInnes - Crystal Mountain Resort, Senior Vice President
Larry Merrill - Michigan Township Association, Executive Director
James Okrazewski - Mead Westvaco Papers Group, Fiber Supply Manager
Lana Pollack - Michigan Environmental Council, President
Helen Taylor - Nature Conservancy, State Director
Rev. Kevin Turman - M.O.S.E.S., President
Hans Voss - Michigan Land Use Institute, Executive Director
Brian Warner - Wolverine Power
Heaster Wheeler - Detroit NAACP, Executive Director
Gil White - Michigan Association of Realtors, President-elect
Wayne Wood - Michigan Farm Bureau, President

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