2018-01-18 / Local News

County OK’s survey for all Leelanau residents

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

LAUTNER LAUTNER Postcards will be mailed to every household in Leelanau County later this year, inviting residents to go online and take a survey that will help county planners update the county’s General Plan.

The County Board voted 6-1 at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening to spend up to $10,000 to conduct the survey, with District No. 7 Commissioner Melinda Lautner opposed.

During an executive meeting last week, when the County Board held a detailed discussion about authorizing the survey, Lautner said she thought that only property owners who pay property taxes should be take the survey.

Lautner said she thought the survey would “boil down to what the young people want to do; a millage to protect recreation; a millage for 9-1-1; a millage for fire; or a millage for this or that, and it sounds great to everyone, but the next thing you know, these vacant parcels are getting charged these millages on every single parcel because the survey said it was a great idea.”

Planning Commission member David McCulloch, speaking from the audience at last week’s meeting, noted that surveys in the past were typically geared toward older people in the community. He said the Planning Commission’s goal going forward was to include the younger generation – people who will still be alive when the county’s plans are implemented.

McCulloch said most younger “millennials” residing in Leelanau County are not able to own property here because the cost of housing is so high.

“I take exception to that,” Lautner said.

“As a landowner, if a person owns 12 homes, that one person should have 12 votes because it will boil down to money and taxes,” Lautner said.

The head of the county’s Planning and Community Development department, Trudy Galla, said planners recommended using the Traverse Citybased Land Information Access Association (LIAA) to conduct the survey. Bids went out to other organizations capable of conducting such a survey last year, but no responses were received.

LIAA subsequently offered to conduct an “online survey with mailed postcard prompt” for $8,488, depending on how many questions are contained in the survey and how many responses are received. The County Board last year authorized expenditure of up to $10,000 on the survey project and this week authorized awarding the contract to LIAA.

The General Plan is updated every five years by the county’s Planning Commission and contains detailed guidelines used by planners for “development and/or protection” of the Leelanau peninsula, according to county officials.

Planners have yet to determine exact questions to be asked in the online survey and language contained on a postcard “prompt” that will be mailed to every residential address in the county later this year.

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Lautner conveniently omits

Lautner conveniently omits from her logic that renters do in fact pay taxes, it’s just indirectly. It’s not like the property owner isn’t factoring in the taxes into what the rental cost is.