Note: This is archived info from the original website for the Friends of Dicken Woods. 
It was written when the Friends were in the process of saving DW

In November 2002, the Dicken neighborhood of Ann Arbor awoke to the alarming news that a large Novi development corporation planned to install one of their standard townhouse developments in the midst of our neighborhood of single family homes. The developer, we learned, is homogenizing S.E. Michigan with major developments in over 16 area communities to-date, and more on the way. Their vision for our neighborhood called for 3+ story high, large mass buildings dropped within 25 feet of the existing houses, most of which are single story ranch homes. The new apartment style structures would tower over and dwarf the existing houses in the neighborhood. And worse, the privately-owned developer's profit margin was to be realized at the expense of a beautiful, wooded natural area, home of important natural features including wetlands, woodlands, significant slopes, and extensive wildlife. masterplan text The site, known as Dicken Woods, lies within both the headwaters area of Allen's Creek (note: Merriam-Webster defines 'headwaters' as the "source of a stream," though the City notes that Dicken Woods is not "the" headwaters), as well as the creekshed of Mallett's Creek, themselves important environmental entities in Ann Arbor, with major impacts on the quality of the Huron River.

(Before we go on, let us be clear: there is nothing inherently wrong with townhouses. Unquestionably they have their place in Ann Arbor. Dicken Woods, however, is not that place.)

But the story doesn't end there. According to the Ann Arbor Master Plan and it's 1995-enacted West Area Plan, if Dicken Woods is to be developed, it should be with single-family houses, to match the existing, surrounding neighborhood. However, to realize their standard profit margin, the developer required an override of the Master Plan, rezoning Dicken Woods for high density townhouses. The neighborhood felt under assault. And so we came together. Our goal is to save Dicken Woods, to establish it as a nature preserve within the Ann Arbor parks systems, for the benefit of all Ann Arbor citizens and especially of the school children of Dicken Elementary School, as well as for the health of Allen's Creek and the safety of those who live within it's creekshed, and for the wildlife that make Dicken Woods their home.

We're learning about the developer. According to their web site and it's section on 'Land Acquisition': "Quick response time to opportunities anywhere in the country has become a hallmark of [their] success." To the Friends of Dicken Woods, that means Crosswinds likes to move fast, before the neighbors know what's hit them. And they have the money and resources to do so. They also say they prefer developments where there are "no site specific proposals required ... and the political will exists to use condemnation, if required, to move the redevelopment forward ... [with a] Minimum of 100 residential units" per development. They like their developments big, presumably to maximize profit. But such a development isn't right for Dicken Woods, and our neighborhood won't stand for a generic strip-mall-type townhouse development on this important land. We may not have the resources (yet), but we do have the will, and we are on the way.
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Thomas Ivacko,
Aug 24, 2015, 6:36 PM