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LANSING, MI-Governor John Engler has signed a land use bill that creates a local zoning option for land development, preserving open space while increasing capacity on less land. This bill package is an important first step in creating incentives to preserve open spaces, Engler says.

Specifically, under this package, a landowner could increase the density of allowable development on a parcel of land in exchange for preserving a portion in perpetuity.

House Bill 4995, sponsored by State Representative Ruth Johnson (R – Holly), and House Bill 5028, sponsored by State representative Randy Richardville (R – Monroe), creates an option for developers to increase density in exchange for preserving 50% of the land as open space.

“We are determined to protect private property rights and keep taxes down,” says Rep. Johnson. She chairs the House Land Use and Environment Committee.

House Bill 5029, sponsored by Chris Kolb (D – Ann Arbor), limits the development in cities and villages to not more than 80% of the property to receive the increased density allotment. This takes into consideration the limited space in more urban areas.

The bill package requires local units of government to enact ordinances within 12 months of the effective date of the act to allow this open space preservation.

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