By Eric Pyne
MILLS COMMUNITY HOUSE, April 22, 2013—The “Framework for Our Future” Input Expo at the Mills Community House in Benzonia drew members of the public and some protesters. “The Grand Vision,” a project of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, held an open house from 4-7 pm Monday. Scott Gest, one of the presenters, is a regional planner for the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments and is also the founder of the Elberta Land Holding Company, which owns property on either side of Elberta’s Waterfront Park, including the old Koch Fuel property and the former Ann Arbor car ferry aprons. (ELHC is not a partner with NWMCoG in the Framework for Our Future.) Gest described the evening as a chance for the public to walk through and see what the organization was about. He said that the NMCoG was presenting a “toolbox” of guidelines to assist local units of government in planning and zoning. He stressed that adopting these guidelines is completely up to the local units.
The Alert spoke with two of the protesters after the presentation. Kevin McGinty said, “They are bringing in Agenda 21 from the United Nations. This will result in the dissolution of property rights as we have known them.”
Ed Bianco, another protester, told me, tapping my notebook, “Write down U.N. Now there’s ICLEI [the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives]. That’s who is doing this Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. They are the first regional affiliate pilot in the midwest.”
A release on the ICLEI’s blog, October 4, 2010, confirms that NWMCoG was ICLEI’s first regional affiliate pilot. According to the release: “ICLEI developed the program because of the growing emphasis on regional planning in many places around the country and the need for accessible, streamlined regional data for local governments to make timely, informed decisions about climate protection and sustainability. Pilots are also underway in New York and California. The official program will launch in early 2011.”
Kevin McGinty went on to say that ICLEI wants to move people off the land and into cities. “They use the Delphi technique, to make senior citizens feel happy. But who are they to go someplace else and make a final decision? We can handle it right here.”
Bianco said another NGO (not NWMCoG) had proposed a master plan and zoning for Springdale Township, where he lives. Some members of the community, including Bianco, felt the organization was promoting some of the tenets of the United Nations Agenda 21. “We voted them out,” he says.
See the schedule for the other expos here.