Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How A Colorado County Does Road Planning

Routt County, Colorado, where Steamboat Springs (an amenity town like Traverse City) is located, is planning for future road projects and is taking the right approach.

See the SteamboatPilot: Commissioners signaling new road policies
Commission Chairman Doug Monger said before an audience of more than 50 people Monday night. “From now on, whenever we fix a road, we need to fix it to certain standards so that it will include the things all of us need on those roads.”

Monday night’s meeting was billed as an open discussion on the shared uses of county roads, one that would take into account the needs of pedestrians, people who move livestock on county roads, bicyclists, and to a limited degree, snowmobiles.

Not everyone in the audience was a cyclist, but virtually everyone who stood up to address the commissioners closely identified with a perceived need to make Routt County’s roads more bicycle friendly.

Contrast this with what Grand Traverse County Commissioners are best known for - asinine statements. See: Commissioners slam global warming

Thursday, June 25, 2009

If Traverse City Is To Be An Economic Innovator It Needs More Population Density

Keep the wilderness wild and build up the cities.

Humans have evolved to be innovative. And we are innovative when surrounded by a lot of other people. You can't argue against human nature...

See PhysOrg: High population density triggers cultural explosions
Increasing population density, rather than boosts in human brain power, appears to have catalysed the emergence of modern human behaviour, according to a new study by UCL (University College London) scientists published in the journal Science. High population density leads to greater exchange of ideas and skills and prevents the loss of new innovations. It is this skill maintenance, combined with a greater probability of useful innovations, that led to modern human behaviour appearing at different times in different parts of the world.

The Lure Of Michigan's Trails

Michigan's developing trail network is a great asset for the state, and it is surprising that there are people who still oppose them despite the great economic advantage they bring to the cities served.

MLive has a recent article on the topic: Michigan's trails a great draw for communities

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boulder's Chicken Group


Boulder is a nice city, this makes it even more so.

Another Reason Chickens Are Good For The Gardener

Via Homegrown Evolution: Chickens and Compost; A Match Made in Heaven

Friday, June 19, 2009

How Lazy?

Via Leelanau.com: National Park Proposes Tunnel to the Lake Michigan Overlook

A tunnel through the sand dune so people can drive to the view on the other side? Unbelievable. I was recently in Boulder, CO and hiked a trail that was crowded with kids, dogs, and senior citizens; and it was a strenuous hike. No one there was asking for a tunnel through the mountain for a better view.

The document and commenting options are here: Lake Michigan Overlooks Environmental Assessment

I'm surprised to read that the NPS favors Option D, the tunnel, and rejected the idea to close the Outlooks completely.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chickens And The Michigan Right To Farm Act

Just like Ann Arbor, it looks like Traverse City will have to allow chickens.

See R-E: Chickens coming home to roost in TC?
City Attorney Karrie Zeits researched and discovered the Michigan Right to Farm Act prohibits cities from banning commercial farming, including raising chickens, she said.

The Michigan Right To Farm Act, passed in 1981, is the savior here. And it has been cited before by Michiganders who defended their right to live a simpler, traditional life.

-Ann Arbor City Chickens and the Michigan Right to Farm Act
-Michigan Right to Farm Law, what does it mean?
-Kurt Schindler answers 'Is Agriculture Subject to Zoning'
Our best understanding at this time:
To fall under the RTFA [Right To Farm Act] the operation must be (1) an agricultural use (read "agricultural use" in the broadest possible context, e.g., a corn maze, renting horses, are agricultural uses) (2) commercial, even to the smallest extent, as in "sell one egg", and (3) involves "harvesting" (but read "harvesting" in the broadest possible context, e.g., a hunting preserve, where animals are shot for sport, is "harvesting").
If it is agriculture that falls under RTFA, then zoning can not restrict the activity, can not say it is not allowed in a particular zoning district. That means agriculture is allowed in a residential district