What Is Council Up to This Week?

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 7:30 am
Alice Dreger

Photo by Gary Caldwell for ELi.

Today is Election Day in East Lansing — East Lansing residents have the opportunity to vote on a land sale as well several local tax proposals — and that means City Council will meet on Wednesday this week instead of the usual Tuesday.

There are two items marked for discussion before votes this week.

One involves possibly adding vaping to the definition of smoking in East Lansing Ordinance 1484. That’s the law that makes it illegal to smoke in all East Lansing public places and office work places, city-operated facilities, parks, plazas, playgrounds, tennis courts, community centers, trails, and so on. If Council votes through this change, vaping will become illegal wherever smoking is prohibited.

The second is an application from Kath Edsall to split the lot at 920 Narcissus Drive, in the Flowerpot neighborhood, into two lots. Edsall is interested in building a new small house on the empty part of the lot that would be split.

Edsall has worked with City staff to redesign the plan in order to bring it as much as possible in conformity with existing zoning requirements. That said, according to the City staff report on the matter, “the proposed lot split does not meet the required lot depth of 120 feet” as required by the code, so if City Council wants to approve this, “it would be necessary to include a waiver to the minimum lot depth requirement” as part of Council’s approval.

Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of this plan, and you can see details about it here.

Council will also be voting on a number of items on the consent agenda:

  • an expenditure of $25,000 for repairs at the East Lansing Aquatic Center;
  • a contract agreement with the IAFF, the union representing East Lansing Fire Department officers and firefighter/paramedics, with an annual 3 percent wage increase recommended by City staff;
  • transfer of $130,000 for engineering work by Tetra Tech on the combined sewer system;
  • a rental license for 1204 Snyder for the half of the duplex that doesn’t already have a rental license, a plan supported by the Housing Commission;
  • a plan to revisit the question of how to sell a 27-acre plot of publicly owned land at the intersection of Coleman and West Roads after staff’s attempt to find a real estate professional to sell it led to only one proposal, which staff considered too expensive;
  • authorization to temporarily close lanes of Harrison Road and Bogue Street on April 18 for the Izzo 5K Run, Walk, and Roll Race.

The consent agenda also includes a proposal to form a committee to study the idea of renaming Bailey Park after Sally Silver. We have a special report on that from ELi’s Emily Joan Elliott.

Unless a Council member asks to pull an item off the consent agenda, all the items on it are voted through in a single block vote without discussion.

Council will also meet new firefighter/paramedics at Wednesday’s meeting and probably go into closed session to discuss the City Attorney’s quarterly litigation status report, although by law Council can opt to discuss in public the lawsuits in which the City is involved.

Want to weigh in on any of this or anything else? You can write to City Council by email and speak at the time set aside on the agenda for “communications from the audience” near the start of the meeting. It will start at 7 p.m. in the court room upstairs at City Hall on Wednesday, March 11. In general, writing and speaking is the most effective strategy politically.

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