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NorthCoast

Incorporation of a City

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NorthCoast    0

I tried this topic on the Urban Planet segment of this forum but haven't gotten much from it yet. I figured since this forum is familiar with the area/state, this may be a more proper place for it. So here it is.

What the arguments for or against incorporation into a town or city?

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torgo    3

I tried this topic on the Urban Planet segment of this forum but haven't gotten much from it yet. I figured since this forum is familiar with the area/state, this may be a more proper place for it. So here it is.

What the arguments for or against incorporation into a town or city?

Your taxes will go up. But more services will likely be available, too

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allbusiness    0

Your taxes will go up. But more services will likely be available, too.

This is usually true. For instance, the taxpayers within a city pay full taxes for County Sheriff patrols which do not come into the city because they have their own police department. They also pay for road commission projects which do not occur within a city since most cities have their own local street departments. Same for planning, code enforecement, etc.

Basically, city taxpayers get double-dipped on a lot of taxation issues, while providing their own services.

On the other hand, "most" cities have better streets, sidewalks and bikepaths, full time police and fire departments, cultural opportunities, etc. This is hardly a blanket statement these days.

However, there isn't much difference between a city and a charter township since the laws changed a few decades ago. As they grow, these townships also tend to provide their own fire protection, pay for extra county sheriff patrols in their jurisdictions, having full-time planning and zoning staffs, etc., relying less and less on county services.

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rstravis    0

When I lived in Indy, the town I lived in incorporated as an official "town" (Indiana's version of a village). This was rare there, but it was basically because the area was booming and they needed more regulation.

When I lived in Milwaukee, there were always places incorporating. It got ridiculous at times. For instance, where there was once simply the Town (Wisconsinese for township) of Pewaukee, there are now two municipalities: the Village of Pewaukee and the City of Pewaukee. More common are instances like the Town of Germantown and the Village of Germantown (not much difference than, say, the City of Ionia and Ionia Township). But in Wisconsin, there are always places looking at incorporating to a)preserve identity and b) prevent annexation. I lived in the Town of Lisbon, which was trying to incorporate to avoid being annexed by the Village of Sussex. This didn't make much sense to me, because both had populations of 8 or 9 thousand -- hardly huge. However, the Town of Brookfield (a few thouseand people) wanted to incorporate to avoid being annexed by Waukesha (about 60 or 70 k) for financial/taxation reasons, and this made perfect sense (plus, property values would be affected).

Simply put, each state is different. No major initiatives have taken place that I know of around here, aside from annexation, since Wyoming incorporated in the late 50s. There is simply no need. Charter Townships give people what they want without double dipping and high taxes. Live in Georgetown Township / Jenison, and you have residential areas, shopping areas, sidewalks, parks, etc., and low taxes. Live in the City of Grandville, and you have residential areas, shopping areas, sidewalks, parks, etc., and high taxes. Hm, which would you choose?

Rob

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GRDadof3    1837

It's the same thing in the Rockford area. You can live right on the border of the city in one of a couple of townships and enjoy all the benefits, and pay about 30% less taxes. Same schools, same access to parks, same access to libraries, shopping, fire department, you name it. I don't know how places like the city of Grandville, Village of Caledonia, city of Rockford, etc. are going to make it charging so much more in taxes. People are going to continue to shun living in these places and choose to live in the townships.

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Lmichigan    9

If cities and villages have exceptional services and environments, they will have a pull over "cheaper" townships. But, this doesn't happen often. The setup actually encourages sprawl, now that cities have been disinvested in over the past 50 years or so. I know Meridian Township (suburban Lansing), both relatively wealthy and cheap, is actually stalled in population and development, not because they don't have great schools and a great standard of living, but because they've become vehemently anti-growth/anti-development.

It really does depend on the township and city.

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NorthCoast    0

If cities and villages have exceptional services and environments, they will have a pull over "cheaper" townships. But, this doesn't happen often. The setup actually encourages sprawl, now that cities have been disinvested in over the past 50 years or so. I know Meridian Township (suburban Lansing), both relatively wealthy and cheap, is actually stalled in population and development, not because they don't have great schools and a great standard of living, but because they've become vehemently anti-growth/anti-development.

It really does depend on the township and city.

So I guess the best way to make changes concerning growth is with the township's already existing governing body. Promote stricter zoning codes, gather community support, and present some fresh ideas.

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Lmichigan    9

Yeah, but that isn't going to happen. For instance, in Meridian Township here in suburban Lansing there are actually ordinances that prevent any kind of density. For instance, the charter of the township prohibits residential units above storefronts practically forcing the township to sprawl.

And people that live in townships live there because they like that type of ideology.

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rstravis    0

There are exceptions. Allendale Charter Township, where I live, while it is a bit far out and certainly not perfect, is working on improving. They are doing everything they can to encourage New Urbanism. They are also zoning such that anything beyond 72nd Ave will be tough to develop, where development will be encouraged closer to the center of the township and Grand Valley. There is a large area in which they are trying to attract developers to build to a certain concept (gridded streets, sidewalks, front porches, back alleys to garages, etc.) with a central area with individual businesses that have residential on the 2nd and 3rd floors (a downtown "main street" concept). While the latter is not yet in progress, there are two subdivisions that I know of going up right now with the "new urbanism" concept elsewhere in the area, as well as a revamping that was originally finished at the old strip mall. That revamping is quite nice. They built several apartment buildings with retail at ground level. They tore up the parking lot and added green spaces within it, so it is more of a street with several small parking areas, rather than a big sea of blacktop, as it was before.

The intention of Allendale encouraging this is to curb sprawl. Granted, some would say that the influx of people to Allendale is sprawl in and of itself, but at least we are seeing new subs with smaller lots, and the area where development is encouraged is confined so as to leave the more rural parts of the township alone. Not perfect, but not as bad as a lot of the others around.

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torgo    3

For instance, in Meridian Township here in suburban Lansing there are actually ordinances that prevent any kind of density. For instance, the charter of the township prohibits residential units above storefronts practically forcing the township to sprawl.

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Almost every rural municipality in the area has these kind of rules. In many areas, mixed uses are totally forbidden. If they are allowed, then there has to be a zillion parking spaces. Actual mixed uses, like a Main Street, is usually not even an option, unless a developer could do it in a PUD. Its quite depressing.

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rstravis    0

Almost every rural municipality in the area has these kind of rules. In many areas, mixed uses are totally forbidden. If they are allowed, then there has to be a zillion parking spaces. Actual mixed uses, like a Main Street, is usually not even an option, unless a developer could do it in a PUD. Its quite depressing.

Actually, that is exactly the opposite of what is happening in allendale. The township is TRYING to attract this type of business. The proposed town center will have mixed use areas, with individual buildings having retail, office, and residential space, and with buildings being closest to thru streets, rather than having parking lots between them. Visit www.allendale-twp.org and you can read the master plan. It is definitely the right idea.

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snoogit    0

Almost every rural municipality in the area has these kind of rules. In many areas, mixed uses are totally forbidden. If they are allowed, then there has to be a zillion parking spaces. Actual mixed uses, like a Main Street, is usually not even an option, unless a developer could do it in a PUD. Its quite depressing.

Dont even get me started on the township I grew up in, you had to have a 2.5 acre plot of land just to build a house on.

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Lmichigan    9

Allendale is an exception, not the rule. It is not false to say that most rural/suburban townships have strict rules against developing an urban feel. In fact, charter townships were set up due to the flight from the cities.

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Lmichigan    9

The beginning of white flight was long before the 60's. This decade was just the tipping point. Either way, they were created either anticipation of an influx of new residents, or because of new residents, otherwise, they would have been unneeded. It is not a coincidence that charter townships just became an important issue around the same time that cities were busting at the seams and starting their declines. It is no mistake.

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Lmichigan    9

Yes, because the influx of people fleeing from them wanted to rule their own space. Trust me, the whole idea of home rule and charter townships weren't supported by city dwellers. lol This was a power grab by a suburban movement to preserve their new way of life.

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GRDadof3    1837

I think you're incorrect LMichigan. I believe the annexation issue was brought up by people who ALREADY lived in these rural areas who did not want to be swallowed up by the cities or nearby villages. Remember, not everyone lived in the city at one time or another. I would venture to guess that if you left Lansing to areas like Windsor Township, Delta Township, Dewitt Township, Delhi Township etc. and talked to residents there, many of those people NEVER lived in Lansing. Especially if you went back in time to the 50's, people in these areas were probably born and raised there. The same can be said about the townships around Grand Rapids. The suburban movement after WWII was mainly in close vicinity to the cities, which are actually part of the cities today (the far Southeast, Northeast, Northwest sides of Grand Rapids, for instance). Townships may have been set up for exactly the opposite reason: to protect country dwellers from SUBURBANITES. It allowed townships to set up their own zoning regulations to basically slow the flow of suburbanites to the areas, like the 2 - 3 acre minimums you see around here. I'm not saying it's right or justified. I understand that this is not supported by the cities, but I think you're putting the cart before the horse. I know it's a popular urban myth that is going around. I do agree that it makes it difficult for cities to annex townships.

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Lmichigan    9

I agree with about half of that, but how do you explain the timing of the setup of townships when most cities had already annexed to their hearts content? How is it that the movement to create townships had enough people (population) to pass this whether it was direct election or a legislative matter? If most of these suburban (rural at the time) townships were so rural, how did they manage to get the numbers either in the general populace or state legislature if these townships were so rural? I can't imagine those in power at the time supporting this (city dwellors/legislators). I only see two options, here. Either suburban townships, by the time this was passed, were now under the control of the new influx of residents they recieved (my theory), or city dwellers/legislators saw a need for townships, which I can't imagine why they'd vote to limit themselves. Michigan is one of the toughest "home rule" states in the country, and when you look at the segregation and sprawl of our cities I don't think this was, I don't think this is some coincidence or mistake. It is practically impossible now, for cities to annex any kind of land whether it be another city, village, or suburb.

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GRDadof3    1837

I don't know, but apparently the legislature passed it. According to the Wikepedia link I provided, they only needed 150 residents/sq mi. to become a charter township in 1947. That's pretty rural. think the legislature at the time was open to the idea of "protecting the litte guys", and pushing power out to the local smaller governments vs. centralized power. I don't know what the political makeup of the legislature was at the time.

The township I reside in now had few, if any, subdivisions in it in 1947, and I'm less than a mile from the current Grand Rapids city boundary. It was formed in the early 1800's, but became a charter in 1979. It was pretty much all farmland before then. The same can be said about Gaines, Allendale, Byron, and many others around the area.

I guess my point is that, although from what I gather you believe that townships were set up to accept as many whites as possible fleeing from the cities, and then slam the doors to anyone else, I think it is the opposite. Townships were set up to try and keep EVERYONE out. Even to this day, many township residents are enforcing or creating zoning ordinances or creating master plans that are set up to keep EVERYONE out. I don't think the Township Act is why we have sprawl problems.

But I think this is off the incorporation of cities topic :huh:

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allbusiness    0

That's not true. Townships were started in Michigan in 1947, long before white flight took hold in the 60's up until today. In those days, most township residents probably never lived in the cities to begin with.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_township

that's right. "Charter Townships" were started in 1947. Hovwever, "General Law" Townships have been Michigan since the state was divided into 6 sq. mi. sections in 1787 shortly after the Northwest Land Ordinance authored by Thomas Jefferson went into effect. The original idea was to keep government close to the citizens. Each township might have a church and a school once settlers moved to the area. Survey townships were 6 miles square (36 sections) placing local government in close proximity to its citizens. Look at a map and you'll see that most roads are still on these grid lines - one mile apart, etc.

Here's some info I found at a Michigan Township web site. I found it quite informative:

"Townships are a product of Michigan

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