Development and Planning

Objection Raised to Mayor’s Online Criticism of Planning Commission

Thursday, October 9, 2014

At the East Lansing Planning Commission last night (October 8), during the period reserved for commissioners’ reports, Commissioner Erik Altmann took issue with Mayor Nathan Triplett’s online criticisms of East Lansing’s Planning Commissioners. Altmann specifically objected to Triplett’s characterization of Planning Commissioners as being afraid of new technologies and as perhaps hiding political agendas.

Council Capsule: October 7, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Note: ELi is instituting new weekly features! Today we introduce our new Wednesday feature, “Council Capsule,” which gives you a run-down of what happened at City Council the night before. Capsules will include major votes including tallies and reporting (as well as non-reporting) of potential conflicts-of-interest. Video recordings of Council can be viewed at the City of East Lansing website.

In 3-2 Vote, Council Grants Developer TIF Boost

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Following a highly contentious discussion between Mayor Nathan Triplett and City Council member Ruth Beier, the City Council voted 3-2 to grant the Trowbridge Plaza developer his wish for as much as $1.2 million more in reimbursement from tax revenues over 16 years, funds that would otherwise have gone to public services. Triplett was joined by Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris and Council member Susan Woods in voting for changing the TIF plan from a 50/50 division to a 65/35 split in favor of the developer. Beier and Council member Kathy Boyle voted against.

City Council to Decide on Trowbridge Developer’s Request to Change Tax Plan

Monday, October 6, 2014

On Tuesday night (October 7), East Lansing City Council is expected to make the final ruling on a request from the redeveloper of Trowbridge Plaza, the former location of Goodrich Shoprite, to give the developer hundreds of thousands of dollars more than previously planned under Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

A Word from Our Publisher

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Photo credit: Jenny Stevenson Phtography (ELi) has been up and running for about a month and the response has been tremendous! People all over town are sharing our articles and are talking about how refreshing it is to have an independent, nonpartisan news source focused on our otherwise-overlooked small city. The excitement is palpable, and the level of participation is terrific!

City Has Leased Land to Developers; Could Do So Again if Ballot Measure Fails

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Advocates of a “yes” vote on the November ballot question—a question about whether the City Council should be authorized to sell three parking lots—say that this is necessary for development to proceed in the Park District (Valley Court) area. But it is possible the City Council could decide to long-term lease City-owned land, essentially bypassing direct-voter input on the question. A long-term land-lease was employed with the University Place (downtown Marriott) property almost 30 years ago.

Bailey Residents Concerned that Community Center on List for Sale

Thursday, October 2, 2014

In an effort to push development within city limits, City of East Lansing Planning staff have produced a recommended list of “redevelopment ready” properties. This is essentially a list meant to attract potential developers, and although Bailey neighborhood residents thought the Bailey Community Center had come off the redevelopment-ready list at their request, according to a recent disclosure by City Planning staff, the Bailey Community Center is back on the draft list.

Who Is Behind ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Vote Campaigns?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

As reported for ELi yesterday, dueling “yes” versus “no” campaigns have emerged over the November ballot question asking East Lansing citizens whether the City should be allowed to sell three parking lots in the Park District planning area. Today we report on what we have learned regarding who is behind the “yes” and “no” campaigns.

The “No” campaign:

Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Approves Trowbridge Developer’s Request

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) voted at its meeting on September 25 to favorably recommend to the City Council a second amendment to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan requested by River Caddis Development for the Trowbridge Road development that is underway.

Trowbridge Developer Threatens to Stop Project Unless Tax Incentives Increase

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In a dramatic plea to East Lansing’s City Council Tuesday night, River Caddis Development principal Kevin McGraw asked Council to increase the tax incentives for his project at Trowbridge Plaza. McGraw said that because of unexpected costs, a tax calculation error (for which he alternately blamed only himself and the city assessor as well), and his agreement with City Council to build to only four stories instead of five, his profit margin has dropped to single-digits.

City and Neighborhood Differ Strongly on Bailey Daycare

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The possible closing of the daycare program at Bailey Community Center will be discussed tonight at City Council's work session, and tensions are expected to be high. Many members of the Bailey neighborhood have been strongly opposed to the possible closing, partly out of fear that the move is a step towards the City closing and possibly selling off the Community Center building altogether.

Trowbridge Developer Seeking Additional Tax Incentive from City

Monday, September 22, 2014

The developer rehabbing the Trowbridge Plaza site, formerly the home of Goodrich Shop-Rite, is asking for a substantially larger tax assistance plan than the one to which East Lansing’s City Council previously agreed. His request will come before City Council at their work session tomorrow, Tuesday, September 23. The Red Cedar Community Association, the neighborhood in which the project resides, has "strongly urge[d] a rejection of this request" in a letter to Concil.

Planning Commission to Review 10-Story Proposal from Controversial Developer Wednesday

Sunday, September 21, 2014

When large development projects come before East Lansing's Planning Commission for possible approval, citizens are normally alerted by a public hearing notice. Because the proposed ten-story downtown building being reviewed this Wednesday at 7 pm at Planning Commission has been previously discussed, no such notice is required to be issued and many citizens appear unaware that a major decision may be made this Wednesday on this project. In public discussions around the plan, some citizens strongly favor any possible progress at the long-blighted site, at the corner of Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue. Others have serious reservations about the proposed plan, including in terms of: the size of the proposed building; the ability of the area to manage the associated increase of car traffic; and the developer, PDIG, a company with a principal owner who has caused concern for the failed last go-around at the site, as well as for problems with projects in other cities.

City Attorney: City Manager Can Use City Publications to Sway Voters

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In a memo to City Council today, City Attorney Thomas M. Yeadon has advised that the City Manager may use taxpayer-funded City publications to try to sway voters on ballot measures and even elections. According to Yeadon during a discussion at City Council this evening, the City Manager may even use his "Manager's Message" column in the City newsletter Dialog to endorse a candidate for governor if he so wishes.