TROY, MI-Residents of this Detroit suburb met Tuesday night for a publichearing on two proposed ordinances that would set restrict development on land with wetlands or other bodies of water, such as streams. Developers and a few lawmakers have opposed the ordinances, and have either offered land swap deals or threatened lawsuits to avoid the proposed laws.

The city is the strongest office market in Southeast Michigan, and is hometo many Fortune 500 headquarters. The city hosts the Kmart headquarters and Delphi, a tier-one automotive supplier, as well as many financial companies.

City officials admit the many acres of developed over the last 50 years have paved over natural wetland and streams, creating flooding in the local natural rivers, which act as drains for the city. The water flows into the Clinton River and into Lake St. Clair, which has had many beach shut-downs over recent years because of E. coli concerns.

Cities such as Troy are being accused of flooding the sanitary sewers withrainwater run-off, and sending sewage into the rivers.

Residents, many who have moved into the city within the last 10 years, are complaining about new development plans in the city.

State Rep. Bob Gosselin (R-Troy), is warning the city the ordinanceswould hurt property owners, and chase out developers.

“This ordinance would require owners to negotiate a regulatory obstaclecourse before they could make any improvements to their property,” Gosselin says. “The city will likely incur tremendous legal fees defending the ordinance. Similar ordinances have been struck down as unconstitutionalgovernment takings without compensation.”

Troy Mayor Matt Pryor agrees.

“A healthy environment is clearly a goal sought by all of us,” says Pryor, abuilder by day. He suggests requiring developers to plant trees with projects, shift density from wet areas to dry lands, allowing the sale of development rights to be accompanied by deed restrictions and shifting of taxes and passage of a millage to purchase natural areas.

The city has already talked about 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 356 parcels in the city.

Certain large parcels, such as those owned by local developer Joel Garret, have been waiting for new projects while this debate goes on.

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