After the presentation by the planner, and an opportunity for business owners to speak, I said:
I had to insert that last part. The planner actually implied business owners focused on their own business slows improvement.
""The hearing today is to determine if a top-down government centrally planned approach is appropriate.
So I have questions. These should be considered very carefully before committing community resources to yet another big-government scheme.
What tools are going to be used?
- Special Dispensation to favored "partners"?
- Compliance to particular Design?
- Perhaps driving un workable "partners" out of business so that others who are willing to abide by the authority's beautification plan can move in?
How many businesses along the corridor have been requesting this authority?
How many of the owners of the 108 parcels listed in the packet have been contacted by THIS BOARD by certified mail with regard to the authority?
Does not showing up in this hearing automatically indicate acceptance of this plan?
How many on the board understand the concept of private property?
How many of you have run a business?
How many of you have had to decide to forgo one project in favor of another in order to meet a goal in your business?
How many of you understand that it becomes incredibly hard when some unaccountable planner takes away many of your options through a second layer of government?
Did you know the authority as created under Michigan Public Act 280 of 2005 allows the authority to assume debt?
And that it can levy taxes? - Excuse me, 'special assessments'. The power point proivided says it cannot, or will not, however PA 280 says it can. Were you aware of this?
Do the property owners who are either supporting this or could not make this hearing understand that?
Do you or those folks understand the township has little or no say about it once the authority is created?
Does this board have a list of the minimum 20 locations where the posting this hearing was made within the proposed authority district in the past MINIMUM 20 to no more than 40 days as specified by PA 280?
We will be told that the tif will not affect local millages, or the schools. Did you know that education taxes CAN in fact be affected by the authority, per section 29 of PA 280?
"Michigan economic growth authority under the Michigan economic growth authority act, 1995 PA 24, MCL 207.801 to 207.810, determines that the inclusion is necessary to reduce unemployment, promote economic growth, and increase capital investment in a qualified development area.
By golly who wouldn't make THAT argument?
Funny thing about these "authorities." In the county commission, we were told the Next Michigan authority (which this board supported by majority) would "not cost the county anything." Not a single penny.
Yet just last month, $19,466 was taken from an administrative fee fund to provide money for legal services etc. The county board unfortunately gave approval to Appropriate the Restricted Economic Development Corporation Fund, (which was taxpayer money) with your commissioners Hentschel and myself as the lone dissenting votes.
Though $19,466 is not an incredibly large amount, it IS approximately a half FTE for the average county employee, and as we pare down county services in the future, it should be a reminder that nothing is free, and when government grows, is has real costs. Its a further example of how these things, these Authorities, are most often understated in their effect.
Something else that should be of a concern for this board is the question of WHO is behind this.
Mr Mansfield is not a township resident. Yet he thought it prudent to seek a grant from a local charity, in THIS township's name, for political cause, and to buttress his income perhaps? I suppose planners need to have projects. But why would he insert himself into East Bay township?
Speaking with a legislative expert at the Mackinac center about this earlier today, he suggested someone is likely to have a great windfall from it. "Follow the money he suggests".
Does the authority plan on hiring a full time planner?
Is it an environmental agenda driven plan? Does the Tribe which seems to have a stake in this wish to make it so costly to participate in, that development so as to cause hardship for some, and abandonment of private property?
Is it an environmental agenda driven plan? Is the Rotary, a noted contributor which has a verifiable stake in the Grand Vision agenda pushing for it?Does the tribe, which also is included in the power point, wish to make it so costly to participate in that development, so as to cause hardship for some and abandonment of private property? Or stifle development?
What is the proposed makeup?
Does anyone have a promised role within the authority?
Given there is a requirement of a 51% majority property owners for the authority as assigned by the CEO of this municipality, (East Bay TWP) does Glenn Lile (the supervisor ) have an idea already who might serve on its board?
Let me finish by pointing out some of the more troubling powers that PA 280 grants such an authority:
Part 125.2881 Board; powers.
Sec. 11. (1) The board may do any of the following:
(c) Plan and propose the construction, renovation, repair, remodeling, rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, or reconstruction of a public facility, an existing building, or a multiple-family dwelling unit which may be necessary or appropriate to the execution of a plan which, in the opinion of the board, aids in the economic growth of the development area.
This means that technically a forced renovation could occur.
(d) Plan, propose, and implement an improvement to a public facility within the development area to comply with the barrier free design requirements of the state construction code promulgated under the Stille-DeRossett-Hale single state construction code act, 1972 PA 230, MCL 125.1501 to 125.1531.
The authority may be able to compel retroactive compliance without regard to property owner planned improvements.
(e) Develop long-range plans, in cooperation with the agency that is chiefly responsible for planning in the municipality, designed to halt the deterioration of property values in the development area and to promote the economic growth of the development area, and take steps as may be necessary to persuade property owners to implement the plans to the fullest extent possible.
(f) Implement any plan of development in the development area necessary to achieve the purposes of this act in accordance with the powers of the authority granted by this act.
(g) Make and enter into contracts necessary or incidental to the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties.
And the biggies ..
(h) On terms and conditions and in a manner and for consideration the authority considers proper or for no consideration, acquire by purchase or otherwise, or own, convey, or otherwise dispose of, or lease as lessor or lessee, land and other property, real or personal, or rights or interests in the property, that the authority determines is reasonably necessary to achieve the purposes of this act, and to grant or acquire licenses, easements, and options.
(i) Improve land and construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, restore and preserve, equip, improve, maintain, repair, and operate any building, including multiple-family dwellings, and any necessary or desirable appurtenances to those buildings, within the development area for the use, in whole or in part, of any public or private person or corporation, or a combination thereof.
Its called eminent domain. And unless used judiciously and for real public use, is outright theft. And it is unconstitutional in Michigan for these purposes.
Sec. 13. makes it even clearer. "A municipality may acquire private property under 1911 PA 149, MCL 213.21 to 213.25, for the purpose of transfer to the authority, and may transfer the property to the authority for use in an approved development, on terms and conditions it considers appropriate, and the taking, transfer, and use shall be considered necessary for public purposes and for the benefit of the public."
PA 280 passed in 2005. In November of 2006, voters passed proposition 4.
Prop 4 prohibited government from taking private property by eminent domain for certain private purposes.
The effect of Proposal 4 was to:
- Prohibit government from taking private property for transfer to another private individual or business for purposes of economic development or increasing tax revenue.
- Provide that if an individual's principal residence is taken for public use, the individual must be compensated for at least 125% of property's fair market value.
- Require government that takes a private property to demonstrate that the taking is for a public use; if taken to eliminate blight, require a higher standard of proof to demonstrate that the taking of that property is for a public use.
- Preserve existing rights of property owners.
Do we really want to expose the township to a state constitutional battle?
Other allowable activities mention automatic ability to modify property both public and private with a financial mechanism to offset for the latter. They might not be seen as eminent domain, so MIGHT be allowed, yet have the same end result.
Some people might call it stealing. Theft by prohibition, theft by limited use, theft of use outright, all terms that are appropriate to this CIA under act 280.
The board is being asked to create this authority under P.A. 280 of 2005, yet its simplified resolution does not address the changes in the state constitution which have significant effect on the authority's ability to operate under the act. Further, it does not recognize other constitutional rights of private property and business owners.
In fact, PA 280 may have been nullified by the constitutional amendment in 2006, having no severability mechanism.
If this authority is created by the board, I would expect it to be challenged legally anyhow.
Also.. as a technical issue, the resolution is factually incorrect as it states there was a yea vote of ALL the trustees. Trustee Strait did in fact vote nay. The legality as a "true and certified" document is in question.
The board is now going to attempt to get more input from those who have property in the corridor.
Good. This is a big deal.
Afterward, there were a number of those owners who expressed a level of gratitude for bringing up some of those points. they had no idea.
And until a final decision is made, there are now even more of us who will remain alert.