Greenbelt Commission Endorses Expansion

At its Sept. 14, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission voted unanimously to recommend that the city council expand the boundaries of the greenbelt in Lodi and Salem townships. In addition, the commission recommended that council allow for the acquisition of property adjacent to – but outside of – the greenbelt boundary, if it is under the same ownership as property within the greenbelt that’s being considered for the program. This change addresses the situation of a property owner holding land on both sides of a road – one parcel within the greenbelt boundary, the other outside of it.

The recommendations will be forwarded to city council for consideration. [.pdf map of existing greenbelt district] The greenbelt program is funded by the Open Space and Parkland Preservation millage, which voters passed in 2003. Since then, the council has expanded the boundaries once, in August 2007, by bumping out the boundary by a mile.

A related resolution failed during Wednesday’s meeting on a 1-5 vote. It would have recommended that council consider properties adjacent to the greenbelt for acquisition. The resolution also recommended creating a one-mile buffer surrounding the current boundary. Properties within that buffer could be considered for acquisition with greenbelt funds, but would require stricter selection criteria. Only Dan Ezekiel, chair of the commission, voted for that resolution.

A subcommittee has been considering possible expansion of the greenbelt boundary for about a year. See Chronicle coverage: “Time to Expand Greenbelt Boundary?” and “Proposal Would Expand Greenbelt Boundaries.”

This brief was filed from city council chambers in the second floor of city hall, 301 E. Huron, where the greenbelt advisory commission meets. A more detailed report will follow: [link]