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City Has Official Growth Policy--after Years Of Debate

City Has Official Growth Policy--after Years Of Debate image
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,; After years of debate about how large Ann Arbor should be and what kind of development it should allow, the city finally has an official growth policy. City Council Monday night approved a policy originally proposed by Administrator Sylvester Murray and refined by the Planning Commission. The policy, approved on a 9 to 1 vote, essentially puts the city on the side of managed growth. It attempts to hit a happy medium between persons favoring a strong pro-growth v policy and those wanting no-growth. 1 x The policy calis for "orderly growth and change," including some population growth, Táut how much is not specified. It also says the city will look favorably on new developments and rehabilitation work "which' provide for variety in the physical environment ... in terms of commercial services, work opportunities, housing types, circulation modes, building scále and space modulation, all within a framework( of design excellence anö economie acceptability to the public. Developments will be considered in terms oMheir need and environmental and social impact, their conformance with building laws and "their ability to be served by existing public facilities and services .pr the public's willingness to fund necessary expansión" of those facilities, the policy states. ■ , In approving the policy essentially as the Planning Commission recommended it, council rejected a plea from Ronald Williams, execútive director of the Board of Realtors, to insert stronger pro-growth language. Williams submitted several amendments, and asked council to "put the city on rifeord saying we want growth, we want development, provided it follows our(guidelines." One of his suggested changes would have stated the city's desire to cooperate in funding the expanI sion of public facilities. I These changes were opposed by Councilman Roger Bertoia, R-Third Ward, [who said any substantial alterations Ishouíd be, studied first by the Planning [Commission. Bertoia, a commission I member, noted that the commission had spent considerable time and effort to.arrive at the exact wording and intent of the policy they wanted. Ti only opposition to the policy came from Councilwoman Kathleen Kozachenko, HÉP-Second Ward. She claimed the statement is too loosely worded and will enable any future city council to interpret it as it wants. Councilman John D. McCormick, RFifth Ward, voted for the policy, but questioned if it.will have any effect. Everything it calis for the city already is trying to do, he said, describing the policy as an "ineffective sheet of paper." In a related growth matter, council deferred any decisión on limiting new residential construction in the city for at leijfct two weeks. This concerns a ning Commission recommendation that the city limit approvals for new construction for the first six months of this year to the equivalent of 300 new. singelfamily homes or 450 new multiple-family units. The restriction relates to the inability of the city's sewage treatment plant to handle much additional sewage. The deferral carne at the suggestion of Councilman Robert L. Henry Jr., R-Fifth Ward, who previously has expressed reservations about such a policy. The matter was deferred to a public hearing for March 24.


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