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Michigan Governor Signs First Executive Directive to Implement Land Use Policy Changes

LANSING–Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed Executive Directive 2003-22, which implements the first of the 150 recommendations put forth by the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council following its slate of hearings around the state.

The executive directive directs state departments to locate new state facilities and buildings in urban areas when at all possible. Granholm was joined by former Attorney General Frank J. Kelley who co-chaired the bipartisan council with former Governor William Milliken. Milliken signed a similar executive order during his tenure as Governor, but the state had discontinued its practice over the years.

“Locating state facilities in communities where infrastructure already exists is a win-win situation,” Granholm said. “If we reuse or rehab an existing building, we will save the taxpayers millions of dollars. It is a win for the community because it gives new purpose to an old building or former brownfield site, and it brings workers into the community on a daily basis.”

“Within its boundaries, our state of Michigan was blessed by nature with truly rich and beautiful peninsulas. Ten thousand lakes, once great forests of timber, huge mineral deposits, and 37 million acres of land which has been a source of great agricultural wealth,” said Kelley. “The continuing challenge that Governor Granholm and our governmental leaders, including every citizen, must face is to protect and preserve all that nature has surrounded us with.”

“I am delighted that this executive directive will help us reinvigorate our downtowns and keep sprawl out of our green pastures,” said Milliken. “This effort is entirely consistent with a unanimous recommendation of the land use council and with my own personal philosophy.”

The executive directive is the first of several administrative acts the Governor intends on implementing that reflect the recommendations of the Land Use Leadership Council report. The others include:

  • directing the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to look for “context-sensitive” solutions to all aspects of transportation design and implementation to ensure that roads, bridges, and other transportation entities fit well within their surroundings;

  • recognizing and expanding “live-where-you-work” programs;

  • directing the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to begin an internal review process to evaluate programs it conducts for potential impacts on sprawl, and directing MDOT to continue its “preserve first” transportation strategy;

  • streamlining and simplifying the process for both state and local governments by transferring the authority for handling tax-reverted properties from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to the Department of Treasury; and

  • directing the DEQ to design a web-based one-stop information shop for grant and loan programs targeted at preservation efforts.

  • “The Land Use Leadership Council put forth several recommendations that I plan to pursue with our legislative partners as well,” Granholm added. “Land use has been a divisive issue in our state, but good land use decisions are also often good economic decisions for communities and businesses. In order to make Michigan a magnet state for new business development and jobs, we must make a conscious effort to invest in our already existing infrastructure. The Land Use Leadership Council gave us the blueprint to build a better Michigan, and today we are starting to put down the foundation through this executive directive.”

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