Governor Granholm and Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan Land Use Council

Contact: Elizabeth Boyd 517-335-6397

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, along with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders, today announced the formation of a bipartisan Michigan Land Use Leadership Council. The council will be co-chaired by former Governor William Milliken and former Attorney General Frank J. Kelley.

“Land use is a critical environmental and economic issue,” Granholm said. “I am very pleased that two respected Michigan leaders – one a Republican and one a Democrat – have agreed to step forward and take on an issue that is important to our entire state and the way of life our families enjoy.”

“I am very pleased with those who will be serving on the land use council,” Milliken said. “And I am confident that we will be able to work closely and effectively together.”

“It is an honor to be co-chairing this distinguished panel, and I anticipate many productive sessions,” Kelley said. “It is a subject I have always been interested in, and I look forward to working in this area to forge some bipartisan accomplishments.”

Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R-Wyoming), House Speaker Rick Johnson (R-LeRoy), Senate Democratic Leader Bob Emerson (D-Flint), and House Democratic Leader Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga) all have endorsed the council.

“Projections are that if Michigan's population increases by just 5 percent in the next several years, corresponding land use will increase by almost 20 percent, so there is a real need to address land use concerns now,” Sikkema said. “This bipartisan council brings all interested parties to the table, and it ensures that all concerns are given equal voice and due consideration.”

“Agriculture, forestry, mining, and tourism are all threatened by urban sprawl, and I am forming this council to study the issue and make recommendations to the Legislature and me by August 15,” Granholm added.

“Improving Michigan's land use practices and preserving farmland and open spaces have been goals of mine for years, both as a farmer and legislator,” said Johnson. “I am very pleased with the progress we've made in the area of land use in recent years, and I look forward to working with the Governor and this task force to build on that success.”

“Our caucus looks forward to working with Mr. Milliken and Mr. Kelley,” Emerson said. “Both men have demonstrated a true commitment to protecting our natural resources. By implementing sound Smart Growth policies now, we can ensure that future generations will always be able to enjoy all the beauty Michigan has to offer.”

“The people of Michigan are demanding their leaders find solutions to reign in sprawl, to protect farmland and water, and stop out-of-state and Canadian garbage,” Byrum said. “This council is a good step toward taking a comprehensive look at these important issues.”

The council will be comprised of 26 members mutually agreed upon by the Governor with the Democratic Leadership and the Republican Leadership. The directors of the Departments of Agriculture, Consumer and Industry Services, Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Transportation will serve as non-voting members.

Granholm has charged the council with studying and identifying trends, causes, and consequences of urban sprawl. It will provide recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature designed to minimize the impact of current land use trends on Michigan’s environment and economy. The council will seek public participation in the process by turning to stakeholders such as developers, builders, contractors, environmentalists, historic preservationists, citizen groups, and local government agencies.


The members of the council include:
William Milliken Former Governor of Michigan (Co-Chair)
Frank Kelley Former Attorney General of Michigan (Co-Chair)
Patty Birkholz State Senator
Liz Brater State Senator
Ruth Johnson State Representative
Chris Kolb State Representative
Jim Barrett Michigan Chamber of Commerce, President
Jim Brooks Retired Businessman
Keith Charters New Designs for Growth
Dan Gilmartin Michigan Municipal League, Deputy Executive Director
Gordon Guyer Former DNR & Agriculture Dept. Director
Colin Hubbell The Hubbell Group, Founding Partner
Robert R. Jones Builder, Former President Michigan Home Builders Assoc.
Dan Kildee Genesee County Treasurer
Mick McGraw Home Builder/Developer
Chris MacInnes Crystal Mountain Resort, Senior VP
Larry Merrill Michigan Township Association, Executive Director
James Okrazewski MeadWestvaco Papers Group, Fiber Supply Manager
Lana Pollack Michigan Environmental Council, President
Helen Taylor Nature Conservancy, State Director
Rev. Kevin Turman M.O.S.E.S., President
Hans Voss Michigan Land Use Institute, Executive Director
Brian Warner Wolverine Power, Environmentalist
Hester Wheeler Detroit NAACP, Executive Director
Gil White Michigan Association of Realtors, Director
Wayne Wood Michigan Farm Bureau, President