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TROY, MI-The city council considered ways Monday night to preserve wetlands inthis city of 80,000 people, and also discussed ways of swapping property with developers to save the 356 parcels of open space. The council discussed variations of the proposed Natural Features and Wetlands Ordinances.

Talks included the introduction of a .5-millage increase, to be approved by a public vote in April, that would raise about $2.4 million each year for 10 years to buy about 20% of the parcels.

City staff estimates the entire 356 parcels would cost about $55 million to buy today, and almost twice that amount in 10 years. If the vote went through, it will be a tough task to keep owners of those parcels from inflating their prices, council members agreed.

Mayor Matt Pryor suggested going forward with such a vote, and also workingon a deal with developers to trade wetlands for other property. For example, if a residential developer has wetlands on a property to be developed, the owner could trade the property for other available propertyin the city.

A few council members wondered why a residential developer would want totrade for land that would likely have commercial zoning. The council will hold public hearings and discuss the matter more in detailin meetings through December.

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