When Ann Arbor initially proposed its Greenbelt Program, local developers worried that it would create competition, scarcity and drive up the cost of building sprawl in Washtenaw County. Now developers are starting to sell land to the Greenbelt.
The Ann Arbor City Council approved spending $626,000 in city money to buy 139 acres of rural land in Superior Township from Biltmore, a residential development company. The city is teaming up with the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission to meet the $1.3 million price tag for the land.
The land is in two parcels along either side of Prospect Road near Vreeland Road. The parcels are near a number of other properties protected by the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy. The Biltmore properties are a combination of high-quality mature woodland, wetland, open water and farmland.
The city's Greenbelt Program provides funding to preserve and protect open space, natural habitats and farms in the Ann Arbor area by purchasing development rights. The city acquires these rights from willing sellers who apply to participate in the program. Ann Arbor voters approved a 0.5-mill millage over 30 years to establish the Greenbelt Program in 2003. Since then the program has acquired the rights to hundreds of acres or rural land.
Source: City of Ann Arbor
Writer: Jon Zemke