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2006-03-08
Canton, MI. Residents Rally Against “Lifestyle” Center

Over the past several years, developers have been trying to mask the huge scale of their retail projects by calling them "lifestyle" centers. Words like "mall" of "plaza" or even "power center" are too retro, so they are now promoting "lifestyle" centers. They are called that because they enhance the lifestyle of the developer -- certainly not the community. This week, Sprawl-Busters received the following front lines report from citizens in Canton, Michigan who have no interest in improving the lifestyle of some developer at the expense of their own lifestyle: "Over 100 Canton residents met on the morning of Saturday, February 25th to meet with Canton Township Trustee Todd Caccamo. Caccamo, a longtime supporter of residents and their issues, sided with residents against the township's considered sale of Fellows Creek Golf Course in order to build a "lifestyle center" (shopping center) by Lormax Stern, developers, on Lotz Road. Residents organized recently to devise a plan to show their solidarity against
the proposed sale. While Township Trustees stated their minds "were not made up", many residents at the Board meeting on February 22, 2006, in Canton City Hall felt otherwise. Organizing into media committees, petition groups, flyer groups and other areas, over 100 Canton residents are teaming up subdivision by subdivision to save their land. Citing issues as removal of green-space, increased I-275 and Michigan avenue traffic, flooding due to moving the floodplane, lower property values, loss of outdoor recreation, lessened quality of life and that "Canton can't afford another downtown", residents are determined to work in their communities to consolidate action. Many expressed sadness at the prospect of losing "the only affordable golf course in the area", in addition to it being home to numerous children sledding during the winter.
The planned petition drive and flyer campaign are scheduled for updates at the group's next meeting on March 11. The group intends to present its information at the Canton Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for March 14, 2006."

What you can do: According to the Detroit News, Lormax Stern has bid to buy 97 acres of land in order to build 600,000 s.f. of retail space with "high end" shops. That's the equivalent of roughly 12.5 football fields. "This is not a done deal," Canton's town clerk told the newspaper. Under the proposal, the east side of Lotz would stay in township hands, with an easement on about 50 acres where the developer would "clean" rainwater flowing into Fellows Creek and leave the site open for recreation. "I think this is the wrong place to put 600,000 square feet of retail," one neighbor explained. It's tough these days to improve a developer's lifestyle, when so many others' lifestyles get in the way.










 
 
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