Above: Some of the vacant buildings downtown set to be demolished this year.
Every week, East Lansing Info (ELi) sends one or more reporters to City Council to bring you a complete "Council Capsule."
Permit parking debate reaches some resolution: Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was again dominated by the issue of residential parking permits (RPP), the only item on the Business Agenda. See our special separate report on that.
The City of East Lansing has been missing out on income that could have amounted to millions of dollars per year because—unlike every other municipality that has electric service provided to it by the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL)—East Lansing has been lacking a franchise agreement with BWL. While required by state law, that franchise agreement has been missing for East Lansing for over a hundred years.
Tuesday night’s regular East Lansing City Council meeting lasted nearly two hours, with much of the time devoted to ongoing concerns over residential permit parking (RPP) in Chesterfield Hills. For more information regarding that issue, see ELi's special report.
On Tuesday evening, at the East Lansing City Council’s first special meeting to consider the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, City Manager George Lahanas told the Council that the City staff spent the last four weeks developing the proposed budget for the year running from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. It is now up to the Council to spend the next four to five weeks in deliberations on the matter. The Council currently plans to adopt the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget on May 24, 2016.
Above: Artist’s rendering of the proposed project as seen looking east from Spartan Avenue
If two votes go as expected, tonight East Lansing’s City Council will set a pair of public hearings for April 12 to consider a site plan and tax increment financing (TIF) plan for a major new apartment complex near Hagadorn Road. If built as planned, the project, a six-story mixed-used development to be named White Oak Place, will sit on the corner of East Grand River and Spartan Avenues, just west of Brookfield Plaza.
Bicycle advocates in East Lansing are concerned that CATA’s plan for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) does not include more and better provisions for bicycle use in the downtown East Lansing/Grand River Avenue corridor. But City Planning staff told Council last week that CATA it is doing what it can while being hampered by space and funding limitations.
The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority has granted the City of East Lansing its request for $99,000 to demolish the vacant, blighted “little bank building” at the corner of Abbot Road and Albert Street, shown above.
Tomorrow at 4 p.m. marks the deadline for law firms to submit their proposals to become East Lansing’s latest legal representative. As ELi reported earlier, on February 2, absent public discussion of the matter, East Lansing’s City Council passed a resolution instructing the City Manager to issue a request for proposals.
In East Lansing, CATA’s planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) would reduce the number of stops along Grand River Avenue, provide raised platforms for faster and easier boarding, reduce the greenway median by one-quarter in acreage, and reduce the number of westbound car lanes downtown by one, according to the current plan. An update on the plan was presented to East Lansing’s City Council this week by City Planning staff Lori Mullins and CATA’s Assistant Executive Director Debbie Alexander.
Less than two weeks after the City Council created a Financial Health Team (FHT) and appointed its members, the 11-member group held its inaugural meeting yesterday, Monday, February 29. Ten members were present, with only vice-chair Jill Rhode being unable to attend. The team received presentations about the financial challenges faced by the City and made some decisions about how they will conduct their business.
Logistical update: All Council members were present at tonight’s meeting, including Mayor Mark Meadows, Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier, and members Erik Altmann, Shanna Draheim, and Susan Woods. Before the meeting’s official start, Meadows noted that Tuesday’s meeting was being recorded and broadcast via fixed-position cameras in accordance with Council’s new schedule and frequency of video recording meetings, as previously reported by ELi’s Coleen Moyerbrailean.