At its Tuesday meeting, the Ann Arbor City Council approved
Major John Hieftje’s proposal, known as the Greenbelt Open Space
Program, putting it on the Nov. 4 ballot. Ann Arbor citizens will
be asked whether they want the city to purchase 84,000 acres of
land around the city to be preserved. Much of the land is already
developed, but the city would purchase the remaining land and
prohibit its development.

Besides preventing sprawl, the greenbelt land will provide the
city with increased profits from the millage tax. According to The
Ann Arbor News, the current parks acquisition tax will expire soon
and can either be renewed or replaced with the new land purchase.
It is estimated the millage on the new land will raise $35 million
along with $30-$50 million in matching funds over the next 30
years. In comparison, the soon to expire parks acquisition tax only
generates $1.9 million per year; therefore, the revenue from the
new land purchase has the potential to relax property taxes on Ann
Arbor citizens.

The purpose of the greenbelt is to prevent sprawl, an
ever-growing problem in Ann Arbor and the rest of the state as
well; however, the city must proceed with care after purchasing the
land in order to prevent a series of negative developments.

A significant problem facing the greenbelt proposal is what is
known as “leap frog” sprawl. Without sufficient plans to create
incentives for developers to remain within the city, resources may
be wasted if they move beyond the greenbelt. The purpose of the
greenbelt, to safeguard natural spaces and limit sprawl, would
no

In order to combat these problems, the responsibility falls on
city officials to create incentives to encourage businesses to
redevelop brown fields and to remain within Ann Arbor. The idea
behind the greenbelt is to limit sprawl, but it will not do so
unless other measures in addition to purchasing the land are
enacted. While voting on the proposal, citizens must lobby the city
council to create business incentive programs to halt the potential
negative effects.

The greenbelt proposal provides an excellent opportunity for
students to become more involved in Ann Arbor politics as many
students are registered to vote in this town. While only transient
residents in the city, it is still important for students to weigh
in on the proposal as it may directly affect them: If the proposal
is not passed, property taxes will rise which should also lead to
student rent hikes. It is vital to the preservation of the
environment and prevention of sprawl that the greenbelt proposal
pass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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