CHARTER AMENDMENT REQUIRING VOTER APPROVALOF THE SALE OF CITY-OWNED LAND ACQUIRED FOR OR USED AS PARKLAND
Shall Section 14.3(b) of the Ann Arbor City Charter be amended to require voter approval for the sale of any land within the City purchased, acquired or used for park land, while retaining the Section's current requirement for voter approval of the sale of any park land that is designated as park land in the City of Ann Arbor Master Plan at the time of the proposed sale?
There's a state law precluding sale of parkland without a voter
referendum, but apparently there have been communities where this has
been achieved in a two-step process: 1. first reclassify the land as
not parkland 2. sell the land.
So the ballot proposal amounts to some extra assurance that parkland
could not be sold without a voter referendum.
A similar proposal to put this on the ballot came before council
within the last year or so, and won little support from council. One
way to analyze the change of heart on the part of some councilmembers
-- which put it on the ballot this time around -- would be as an
attempt to do control long term public relations damage that resulted
from a millage renewal (and increase) for parks, that did not result
in the budgetary allocation to parks that some people expected. The
proposed budget didn't treat the spun-off Leslie Science Center as
part of the base on which the percentage increase was computed. After
passing the budget, with what some people considered to be an
allocation to parks incommensurate with the passage of the parks
millage, council did later pass an amendment putting parks budget
allocations basically at the level that would have resulted if the LSC
had been included in the calculation.
I see this as a measure with more political and less practical effect.
But its passage will likely ease somewhat the fears some people have
that parks will be sold.
Editor, The Ann Arbor Chronicle
This is the first explanation of the past controversy about park money
allocation that I could actually understand. Thank you very much.