COUNCIL CAPSULE: November 18, 2014

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 12:04 am
Alice Dreger

Each week, ELi provides a "capsule" of what happened at City Council.

Present: Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, Ruth Beier, Kathy Boyle, and Susan Woods.

Absent: Mayor Nathan Triplett.

Mayor in South Africa on sponsored trip: Goddeeris noted that Triplett was absent today because he is in South Africa with the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL). According to the group’s website, “ACYPL is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization internationally recognized as the pre-eminent catalyst for introducing rising political and policy professionals to international affairs and to each other.” ACYPL’s Board of Trustees includes many representatives from major national and international corporations, including Comcast, Quiznos, Toyota Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Union Pacific Railroad, Boeing, BP America, and Wal-Mart, along with representatives from the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.

ELPD promotion: East Lansing Police Chief Juli Liebler presented to Council Scot Sexton who has been with ELPD since 1999 and was recently promoted to lieutenant. He is in charge of the midnight shift (Liebler and Sexton are shown below).

ELFD new hires: East Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro presented three new hires (as shown above) to help make up for the department being “short-staffed for a while.” Kevin Floyd, a firefighter paramedic, previously worked in the Owosso Fire Department, and before that worked in the IT Department of MSU. After 2001 Floyd decided to change careers and go into emergency service. Firefighter paramedics Ben Phinney and Tom Roush have also joined ELFD. Phinney’s father is a captain in the Meridian Fire Department, and Roush’s late father was in the Lansing Fire Department. Goddeeris thanked the families of the ELPD and ELFD officers, saying, “We really appreciate your commitment and support of your spouse or your family member that is here.”

30-year extension on University Place TIF likely to be decided December 2: As ELi previously reported, City staff is recommending Council extend the University Place (downtown Marriott) 30-year TIF another 30 years in order to avoid revenue-sharing with other municipalities and to fix the underground parking at the site. Council voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on the matter at the December 2, 2014, City Council meeting, and at that point they are likely to vote on the matter. Council will also discuss the matter at its next work session on November 25. Beier continues to press for “other options” to be considered for the problem of the underground parking needing major repairs, including potentially “sell[ing] the property or fill[ing] in the property.” She said, “If we can get the liability to go away, we don’t have to act on it.” She has asked the City Manager to present solutions other than the 30-year TIF extension.

City Manager’s report: City Manager George Lahanas reminded residents about the snow removal ordinance that requires keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice.

City Attorney report: City Attorney Tom Yeadon had nothing to report. (There was no mention at the meeting of the complaint filed against the City Manager under the Campaign Finance Act, as reported in ELi.)

Council reports: Beier and Woods had nothing to report.

In her report, Boyle had two items: (1) The two focus group meetings of the landlord and homeowner groups from Bailey, Southeast Marble, Red Cedar, and Oakwood have finished and a report has now been issued by the City Planning staff. The issue discussed has been nonconforming rental houses, as previously reported by ELi. Members of the focus group will have until December 2 to make comments on the report after which the report will be presented to Council. (2) Boyle highly recommended to all the Broad Museum exhibit, East Lansing 2030: Collegeville Re-Envisioned. Boyle said, “I don’t anticipate any of these visions will actually occur but I think many of these ideas from these architects will eventually make their way into our city planning.”

Goddeeris also had two items: (1) She reminded Council of staff’s holiday reception on December 10, and (2) she asked the City Manager to follow up on a discussion “about the post office” and a related resolution.

Construction at Harrison Village approved: Council approved an application from Harrison Village Houses, LLC, for Site Plan and Special Use Permit approval for the property at 117 Center Street to construct a 487 square foot, single-story addition to the existing office space at the site. There were nine conditions attached. David Krause, one of the owners, said that since he and his partner Douglas Cronin had built The Residence downtown, their company needs more space for management offices, hence the application to expand the space.

Construction at Harrison Village vote
Ruth Beier yes
Kathy Boyle yes
Diane Goddeeris yes
Nathan Triplett absent
Susan Woods yes
result approved

Communications from the public: There were no in-person communications and while the three written communications received were listed, they were not available to the public as they are supposed to be in the published agenda. Goddeeris asked staff to fix this problem.

Multiple items approved without discussion: The following items were approved as a “consent agenda” which means they were approved in a single block without further discussion. All Councilmembers present voted in favor.

  • Appointment of Andy Draheim to the Transportation Commission for a partial term ending December 31, 2016.
  • Appointment of Scott House to the East Lansing-Meridian Water/Sewer Authority for a full term ending June 30, 2017.
  • Appointment of Scott House to the Capital Area Regional Transportation Study (CARTS) Technical Committee.
  • Resolution accepting the Competitive Grant Assistance Program (CGAP) Grant from the State of Michigan Department of Treasury for Active Violence Incidents/Active Shooting Incidents (AVI/ASI). 
  • Resolution authorizing the acceptance of Competitive Grant Assistance Award (CGAP) from the State of Michigan Department of Treasury for the training and formation of the Lansing Metro Command Team (Blue Card).
  • Request from Michigan State University Ice Hockey Team and Student-Athlete Support Services to hold food drive in East Lansing to benefit Greater Lansing Food Bank on Sunday, December 7, 2014, including passing out flyers on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.
  • Approve the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Assurances form and authorize the City Manager to sign (All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre). 
  • Request to close streets, use of amplified sound, and regulation of vendors at Annual Winter Glow event: close M.A.C. Avenue from Albert Street to the southern entrance of the Marriott Hotel on Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm; utilize Ann Street Plaza, Fountain Square and East Plaza at University Place on Saturday, December 6, 2014 from noon to 8:00 pm; use of amplified sound; permission to regulate the existence of any and all vendors within the festival site.

Council adjourned at about 7:30 pm. You can watch an archived video of the meeting at the City website.

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