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Posted on Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 6:03 a.m.

Legacy Land Conservancy protects 4 new Washtenaw County properties from development

By Erica Hobbs

Four new properties in Washtenaw County are now under protection from future development.

Legacy Land Conservancy, an organization that protects natural areas and farmland in Washtenaw and Jackson counties, signed the nearly 200 acres into permanent protection within the past two weeks. A fifth property located in Ingham County was also signed in for protection.

Under the agreement, restrictions such as prohibiting the property to be split, developed or cleared are permanently placed on the land.

“We really feel like protecting nature and farmland is important to the future of our communities,” said Suzie Heiney, the Conservancy’s development and communications director. “We’re always going to need places that contribute to clean air and clean water and that can provide local food and that are, frankly, beautiful.”

The properties include Renner Farm and Daubner Farm in Manchester and Hathaway Woods in Scio Township. The owners of the fourth property are keeping its location confidential.

“I just wanted to preserve a little bit of my world for the future,” Daubner Farm owner Liz Daubner said. “I certainly wouldn’t want condominiums and factories here.”

The 70-acre Daubner Farm is located along the Raisin River and includes farmland, woods, trails and wildlife.

“I think it’s a lovely place," Daubner said. "I just love it.”

For Mary Hathaway, the choice to protect Hathaway Woods was a way to ensure the beauty of her 4.7-acre land for future generations.

Hathaway’s land borders the already-protected 20-acre Botsford Recreational Preserve, which inspired her to the same for her own land.

“If we didn’t buy it, someone could buy it and destroy it,” she said in a statement. “I knew I had to do whatever I could to keep it that way.”

Reach Erica Hobbs at



Wed, Dec 30, 2009 : 12:32 p.m.

Hi! Not to worry, there's lots of room for growth in the county -- over 50% of the land (some 250,000 acres) is still undeveloped (and not protected). These conservation agreements were all donated, so they did not cost Washtenaw County anything to acquire. Many thanks to the landowners who made these generous gifts to the future of the community!


Mon, Dec 28, 2009 : 7 p.m.

Well said J. Lloyd. Environment is everything, without it... where are you going to live? Save the trees and beautiful places we still have, as there IS PLENTY of space to be developed - or re-developed. Love OUR earth. * and Way to Go LLC!

John Lloyd

Mon, Dec 28, 2009 : 10:26 a.m.

I am fully supportive of this. Development is going to occur, but there's no reason not to do so intelligently, protecting particularly beautiful or environmentally significant properties. Given that Washtenaw County includes 454,400 acres, protecting 200 acres is not going to get in the way of development or price out anyone. With regard to the trees versus people comment, I'd like to point out that all people are dependent on the ecosystem and if we kill enough trees we will eventually make the planet uninhabitable by people.


Sun, Dec 27, 2009 : 10:34 a.m.

How much money did this property cost Washtenaw Co? Not making any judgements just woundering.Maybe can find out


Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 11:12 p.m.

Can't say I agree with this kind of thing. All this does is reduce the supply of available real estate making the rest of it more expensive. Of course at the moment that isn't much of a concern given that so many people can't qualify for loans anyway at the moment demand isn't all that strong, but when the economy does recover in (hopefully) a few years demand will pick right back up and the same people complaining about the plight of the poor will turn a blind eye to the fact that they are championing moves like this which price property out of the means of the poor and even many in the middle class. Trees before people... poor people at least.


Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 9:07 a.m.

Good for them! These areas that they are talking about have some beautiful qualities about them that really should stay untouched. We have plenty of unused buildings and property that should be developed first. Just look around Ann Arbor.


Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 8:50 a.m.

Boy, I sure hope we have some land left to develope.