Stories indexed with the term ‘Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy’

Greenbelt Group Recommends Land Deal

At a special meeting called for Nov. 30, 2011, the Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission spent most of the 30 minutes in a closed session to discuss possible land acquisition. When commissioners moved back into the public portion of their meeting, commissioners unanimously passed a resolution recommending that the city partner with the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy and Washtenaw County to preserve a parcel of land within the greenbelt.

The property was identified only by application number – #2005-27. The location of the properties and their owners aren’t revealed until resolutions are voted on by the Ann Arbor city council. However, the property discussed by GAC at its Nov. 30 meeting was likely part of an initiative mentioned briefly at GAC’s … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Greenbelt Eyes Future Land Deals

Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission meeting (Nov. 9, 2011): Skyline High School students on class assignment outnumbered commissioners at Wednesday’s meeting. More students might have attended, but some learned of a meeting of the city’s medical marijuana advisory board scheduled for the same time, and were drawn to that instead.

Skyline High students, Dan Ezekiel

Skyline High students get their attendance sheets signed by Dan Ezekiel, chair of the greenbelt advisory commission. Some students recognized Ezekiel from his other job – a science teacher at Forsythe Middle School.

Those who did stay witnessed a brief meeting that included a recess to wait until a sixth commissioner arrived – GAC requires six members to hold a closed session, which they needed in order to discuss possible land acquisition.

Briefly participating in that closed session was Jack Smiley, former executive director of the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy. The conservancy hopes to partner with Ann Arbor’s greenbelt program on property in the Superior Greenway – land between Ann Arbor and Detroit that’s protected from development.

In other business, commissioners briefly discussed ways to communicate better about the greenbelt program with the public, building on what they viewed as a successful bus tour of protected greenbelt land in October. One possibility is a forum this winter at the Ann Arbor District Library, where the public could meet with landowners whose property is part of the greenbelt.

The one action item at Wednesday’s meeting was a vote to pre-authorize staff of The Conservation Fund, which manages the greenbelt program under contract with the city, to conduct appraisals for potential land acquisitions through Dec. 31.

Typically, GAC votes to authorize appraisals on specific parcels, as part of the application process that landowners make for being part of the greenbelt. But the city council is expected to vote on a possible expansion of greenbelt boundaries in December, after GAC’s meeting that month. GAC voted to recommend the expansion at its September 2011 meeting. It’s expected that some landowners within the expanded boundaries might want to apply for the greenbelt, and a February deadline to seek matching federal dollars makes the timeline for getting appraisals shorter than usual. Pre-authorization gives staff flexibility to move forward with the process.

Commissioners are also awaiting finalization of Shannon Brines’ appointment to GAC. The city council was expected to vote on his appointment at its Nov. 10 meeting. But the council postponed the vote to Nov. 21 – due to a procedural issue, not any substantive concern about his appointment. [Full Story]