Image: Rep. Lee Chatfield, left, and Mayor Mark Meadows
Representative Lee Chatfield, Chair of the Michigan House Local Government Committee, announced at yesterday’s meeting of that committee that, following a conversation with East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows, he had decided to defer action on HB 5041. If passed into law, the bill would allow East Lansing landlords to make certain kinds of improvements to nonconforming rental properties that are not allowed by current East Lansing ordinances.
East Lansing’s City Council heard from City staff last night about various options for dealing with the City-owned parking garage and land under the Marriott Hotel downtown. Investors have expressed some interest in purchasing the garage and/or the land under the whole “University Place” complex, a parking garage and land which the City currently owns.
Image: The six candidates: top row, Erik Altmann, Shanna Draheim, Mark Meadows; bottom row, Steve Ross, Jermaine Ruffin, Nathan Triplett.
More than $112,000 was spent in total by the candidates in the very costly November election for East Lansing City Council, according to post-election financial statements filed last week. And this amount does not include the cost of unprecedented involvement in an East Lansing election by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.
At this Tuesday’s work session of Council, the City’s Finance Director Mary Haskell will present the Fiscal Year 2015 audit, and according to a memo from Haskell attached to Tuesday’s agenda, our pension debt combined with new accounting standards are going to “change the [City’s] financial position presented on the Government-Wide, full accrual, statements dramatically.” Says Haskell in h
Above: Screenshot of the presumably satirical "Steve Meadows" Facebook page.
This coming Tuesday evening, I will be representing ELi at the Ingham County Board of Commissioners’ meeting. We are appealing the County’s response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the “Steve Meadows” mystery.
Above: The old white oak tree on Spartan Avenue, on the site of the proposed “White Oak Place” development.
The third and by far longest of three public hearings at this week’s City Council meeting centered on Ordinance No. 1363, the so-called tree protection ordinance. If it were to pass as proposed, it would protect certain trees within the City of East Lansing by requiring permits before anyone trims or cuts a tree that has been designated “protected.”
Mayor Mark Meadows’ handling of an appointment to Planning Commission this week is receiving sharp criticism because Meadows failed to interview all three candidates or to do so cooperatively with the Chair of the Planning Commission, as is standard practice.
Above: Pat Wolff of the Tamarisk Neighborhood testifying during the public hearing last night.
Last night, East Lansing’s City Council unanimously approved a change to a portion of the City’s Code pertaining to Ethics. The change aims to make more transparent when someone with active financial business before Council has made a relatively recent campaign contribution of more than $100 to a seated Councilmember deliberating on the matter.
Image: Back of vacant, blighted building at Grand River and Evergreen Avenues, just east of the Peoples Church memorial garden.
Last night, East Lansing’s City Council voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 1360, which makes it easier for the City to decide to tear down a dangerous building when “the cost of the repairs would exceed 100 percent of the true cash value of the structure as reflected on the city assessment tax rolls.” The ordinance’s passage could ultimately lead to the City moving to demolish dangerous vacant buildings.
A recent presentation to East Lansing’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) unveiled the Brownfield tax increment financing (TIF) plan for the proposed mixed-use redevelopment where Spartan Avenue meets Grand River Avenue. If all goes as presented to the DDA, the developer will be asking East Lansing’s City Council to approve $9.5 million in TIF reimbursements for expenses related to the redevelopment.