Ashes to ashes

I’m taarrrred tonight. I’m almost too taaarrrred to get all hopped up about the latest real estate development fiasco here on our loverly green planet. I hate real estate developers. Now, I know that *somewhere* out there, there is a responsible, ethical real estate developer. And I bet there are a lot of real estate developers that I’ve met and liked somewhere or other. The checkout line at the Westgate Kroger. Or Barry Bagels. Or the farmer’s market. Or the ski ranch. I know that real estate developers are people and they come in all different stripes. But when I see these guys in their hunting mode (and I know there are probably female real estate developers too), I just want to SHAKE THEM!

This saga has been going on for years here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I am not going to try to explain the whole thing. I don’t understand it! The short story is that seven very old houses on a near-downtown street are going to be torn down to make way for two big blocky, ugly student apartment buildings. Over the years, our wondrous dysfunctional city council has been going back and forth (and back and forth (and back and forth)) with a developer about his plan for this site. A horrible plan to preserve the old houses and build apartments behind them was scuttled. There were failed attempts to create a historic district in the area or re-zone or whatever. Like I said, it’s a long story and I don’t really understand it. Now a new developer has bought the property and after more bungling by our wondrous dysfunctional city council, he is moving ahead to demolish the houses and build yet another ugly monstrosity. I think it was the fact that he cut down trees today that got to me the most.

I am not totally anti-development. I think there are times when tearing down old buildings is okay (we did that with the Houghton Lake Group Home a few years ago) or even (gulp) trees. Yes, I have a hard time with trees. Even “volunteer” trees. With two foot trunks? I bet those trees are were older than yer fav-o-rite blahgger… Anyway, what upsets me is how easy it is for any old crappy real estate developer to walk into your average (and I do mean average or less than average) city council meeting and present any old crappy old plan and get it passed, even after a couple of years of bullshit discussions. Who is in who’s pocket here? I can’t even begin to untangle it.

It is clear that our wondrous city council is totally dysfunctional. Maybe it is truly a *good* thing to tear down seven old houses and replace them with big ugly blocky student apartment buildings. But I don’t think that this whole situation was properly analyzed and thought through. And by that, I do NOT mean that the city should’ve hired an expensive consultant from Timbuktu. This wondrous dysfunctional city council seems to screw up at every turn and there is an election coming up and I hope people get out and vote. I wish I could vote against the mayor but he’s not up this time.

One Response to “Ashes to ashes”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I live in a development, but there are way too many of them and the houses all look the same. (mine doesn’t now, it’s customized–but still…) They built this development where a quarry was, so you can imagine trying to dig the fence posts. OMG!! Had to rent an augur. (sp?) Is anyone living in the houses they’re tearing down? If so that’s criminal. I dislike developers; they tend to be fat cats who don’t care about anything except $$$$.