The ideas in this post were largely spawned from a tweet by @localinannarbor. And honestly, I don't do much more than add some pictures and a little history.
In November 2003 City of Ann Arbor voters approved funding for the Greenbelt Program. Since then, local tax dollars have been used to leverage 20.8 million in grants, local funds and donations to conserve 4,200 acres of farmland and open space adjacent to Ann Arbor. Hopefully, this program will be able to slow suburban sprawl and ensure healthy open areas.
The City of Ann Arbor also supplies areas of Ann Arbor and Scio Townships with drinking water services. In addition to the aforementioned townships, Pittsfield Township receives wastewater services. Right now there is a proposal for a new 176 house development on 162 acres of farmland at approximately 4300 W. Liberty in Scio Township. The development would need Ann Arbor drinking water due to its location on top of the Gelman 1,4 Dioxaine Plume (an area of ground water contamination courtesy of Pall Corp née Gelman Scientific). The development will also need access to Ann Arbor's wastewater treatment services, or else the developer says they will have to build their own treatment plant.
Ann Arbor voters have shown that they value conservation of farmland and open spaces. They approved a millage to support this vision. It is counter productive for the City to work against our collective vision of conservation by supporting sprawl on the very farmland we are attempting to conserve with City resources. I don't know if we have an agreement with Scio Township about expanding water services to new developments. If we do, it's high time we revisit that agreement.