More Notches in Ann Arbor Greenbelt

Two additional properties totaling 125 acres have been added to Ann Arbor’s greenbelt – land protected by acquisitions through the city’s open space and parkland preservation millage. Votes on the two pieces of land were taken at the city council’s Oct. 15, 2012 meeting.

A vacant parcel adjacent to the Kuebler Langford Nature Area with about 0.91 acres was purchased using a $123,000 expenditure from the millage. The owners had approached the city with an offer to sell. The fair market value of the land was determined to be $110,000, with the additional $13,000 accounted for through closing costs and due diligence. An environmental site assessment will be completed before closing. [.jpg image of parcel map]

A second, much larger property totaling around 124 acres was also added to the greenbelt through a purchase of development rights – the Donald Drake farm in Lodi Township. The expenditure from millage funds amounts to $483,450. Of that amount, $23,867 will go to cover costs related to closing, due diligence and a contribution to the greenbelt endowment. The total purchase price of the land was $549,478, with the city of Ann Arbor’s share supplemented by $109,895 from Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation and $1,000 from Lodi Township.

Part of the property is currently being farmed. So the city applied for USDA Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) grant funds in March 2012 to acquire development rights, but did not receive funds for this property. The strategy recommended by the city’s greenbelt advisory commission is now to consider the farm as two parts – a northern and southern part. The GAC recommendation is to acquire development rights on the southern portion of the farm now, but to re-apply for FRPP funds in 2013 for the northern part of the farm.

The city’s 30-year 0.5 mill greenbelt tax was established by a voter referendum in 2003 for the purpose of “funding the acquisition of land for parks and the acquisition and management of land and land rights in undeveloped and developed land both within and outside the City of Ann Arbor for the purpose of preserving and protecting open space, natural habitats and the City’s Source-waters.”

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]