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East Lansing City Council Meeting Recap 4/5/22

** Thanks for reading!
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Thanks for checking out the East Lansing City Council Recap. This publication is sent out after each regular, discussion-only and special City Council meeting. Plan for future meetings by viewing the 2022 meeting schedule here: https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/997/2022-Meeting-Dates. (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/997/2022-Meeting-Dates)

Readers are encouraged to contact the East Lansing City Manager's Office with questions: (517) 319-6920


** Highlights from the April 5 Meeting
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Prior to last night's East Lansing City Council meeting, City Council held its first budget work session at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center to discuss the Preliminary Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and Fee Schedule, focusing primarily on the general fund and income tax fund. Community members can listen to the work session at the following link: https://youtu.be/_hISTyuDnos?t=2. (https://youtu.be/_hISTyuDnos?t=2)

Following the work session, Council met for its Tuesday, April 5 regular meeting. During communications from Councilmembers, Councilmember Lisa Babcock reminded community members that the deadline for 2022 Crystal Awards nominations is this Thursday, April 7.

Community members are encouraged to help honor the City's unsung heroes by submitting a nomination for an individual, business or organization that has gone above and beyond to enhance the East Lansing community. An online nomination form is available at www.cityofeastlansing.com/crystalawards. (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/138/Crystal-Awards)

During the mayor's report, Mayor Ron Bacon shared that the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center is currently accepting applications for lifeguards, slide operators and customer service assistants for its 2022 summer season. Community members can learn more about these job opportunities and apply at www.cityofeastlansing.com/jobs (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/jobs.aspx) .

He also reminded community members that, over the next five weeks, Council will be holding budget work sessions to review the City's preliminary Fiscal Year 2023 budget. Community members can view the budget work session schedule here. (https://cityofeastlansing.com/2252/Fiscal-Year-2023-Budget)

Additionally, Mayor Bacon announced that the City recently updated its masking requirements and masks are no longer required at the City's public meetings. Community members can learn more about the City's updated masking requirements here. (https://cityofeastlansing.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1650)


** Public Hearings - Ordinance No. 1507 & Ordinance No. 1509
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During last night's meeting, Council held public hearings to consider two rezoning requests from 310, LLC.

First, Council held a public hearing to consider Ordinance No. 1507: a request to rezone 210 W. Lake Lansing Road from RA (Residential Agricultural) to B-4 (Restricted Office Business District).

Menser explained that the East Lansing Planning Commission voted to recommend Council approve the request, but instead of recommending the property be rezoned to B-4, the Commission recommended it be rezoned to B-5 (Community Retail Sales Business District).

The Planning Commission provided its reasoning for the recommendation, explaining that it considers B-5 to be more appropriate given the City's Master Plan future land use designation of C-1 (Commercial 1). Furthermore, B-5 allows for additional land uses, most notably restaurants and retail establishments, which would make the property more marketable for development and offer a wider variety of services to the surrounding neighborhood.

During discussion, Council was in agreement that they should move forward with the Planning Commission's recommendation and unanimously approved Ordinance No. 1507, a request to rezone 210 W. Lake Lansing Road from RA to B-5. View the agenda item report for the public hearing to consider Ordinance No. 1507. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75255/Consideration%20of%20Ordinance%20No.%201507,%20a%20request%20.pdf?handle=7CAD7FC85ED14B34BEB94408BF25732B)

Next, Council held a public hearing to consider Ordinance No. 1509: a request to rezone 218 and 224 W. Lake Lansing Road from B-4 (Restricted Office Business District) to B-5 (Community Retail Sales Business District).

Menser noted that the Planning Commission voted to recommend Council approve the rezoning request and provided its reasoning for the recommendation in the referral letter attached in the agenda item report.

Following discussion, Council unanimously approved Ordinance No. 1509, a request to rezone 218 and 224 W. Lake Lansing Road from B-4 to B-5. View the agenda item report for the public hearing to consider Ordinance No. 1509. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75253/Consideration%20of%20Ordinance%20No.%201509,%20a%20request%20.pdf?handle=98511331C1734AC58847CBAFA800A4FE)


** Ordinance No. 1510 and Policy Resolution 2021-18
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During the business agenda, Council considered Ordinance No. 1510 and Policy Resolution 2021-18 to establish new regulatory requirements and administrative procedures for operating mobile food vending units (food trucks) in the City as well as to expand the number of locations where authorized food trucks may operate.

Community and Economic Development Administrator Adam Cummins explained that, before bringing the proposed ordinance and policy resolution to Council, staff gathered feedback on the drafted ordinance and policy resolution from several stakeholders. This included the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority, East Lansing Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, East Lansing Responsible Hospitality Council and Ingham County Health Department. Additionally, staff gathered feedback from residents, business owners/managers and food truck operators through written communications and an online survey that was published on January 19, 2022. Community members can view the survey results in the agenda item report. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/74414/Consideration%20of%20Ordinance%20No.%201510%20and%20Policy%20.pdf?handle=178F315B59B84C2A9B64E0E1C9F41B1D)

Cummins explained that the new, draft regulatory requirements streamline the process for food truck operators to receive a license from the City of East Lansing, and he also went over changes to operating hours and associated fees. Additionally, Cummins outlined the newly expanded, draft locations for food trucks, which include the following zoning districts in East Lansing:
* B1- General Office Business
* B2- Retail Sales Business
* B3- City Center Commercial
* B4- Restricted Office Business
* B5- Community Retail Sales Business
* OIP - Office Industrial Park
* C- Community Facilities
* City-sponsored events (event specific)

Food trucks (two or fewer per block party) may also operate during block parties hosted by neighborhood associations that have received approval of a permit under Section 38-37 of the City Code.

Following some discussion and questions for Cummins, Council approved in a 4-1 vote (Councilmember George Brookover voting against) Ordinance No. 1510 and Policy Resolution 2021-18 to establish new regulatory requirements and administrative procedures for operating mobile food vending units in the City of East Lansing with the following amendments:

1.) The units shall be permitted on any other property owned by the City and used as a public park regardless of the zoning district and their hours of operation within those districts will be commensurate with the hours of operation of the parks.
2.) The hours of operation within the DDA district be extended to 12 p.m.
3.) Neighborhood block party permits be expanded to 12 per calendar year.


** Policy Resolution 2022-5
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Council unanimously approved Policy Resolution 2022-5, a resolution to allocate a portion of the City's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for multiple capital improvement-related projects.

With Council's approval, ARPA funding will be allocated towards the following projects:
* Improvements to retention ponds and drains
* Hazardous sidewalk program
* Installation of solar panels at the East Lansing Department of Public Works
* Improvements to the East Lansing Public Library and its services
* Renovations to the third floor of the East Lansing Hannah Community Center
* Renovations to Fire Station #1
* Repairs to parking facilities
* Parking technology integration project

View the agenda item report for Policy Resolution 2022-5, a resolution to provide ARPA funding for multiple capital improvement related projects. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/74323/Consideration%20of%20Policy%20Resolution%202022-5,%20a%20re.pdf?handle=185F58C45D5B4D9683025A664AE450C6)



** Reconsideration of SUP for 532 Ann Street
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Next, Council reconsidered a previously denied request from Delta Psi Alumni Housing Corporation for a site plan and Special Use Permit (SUP) approval to establish a fraternity at 532 Ann Street. Councilmember Brookover made a motion to reconsider the request after a failed 2-2 vote at the March 22 Council meeting, indicating that he wanted the full, five-member Council to be able to review and vote on the item (Mayor Bacon was not in attendance at the March 22 meeting). During discussion, Councilmember Brookover stated that he would still be voting against the item, citing many of the concerns he raised at the March 22 meeting, including the small size of the gathering spaces within the home and lack of parking to accommodate chapter events at the site. In a vote of 1-4, the motion to reconsider and approve the site plan and SUP failed. Councilmember Dana Watson voted in favor of the motion, while the remaining four Councilmembers voted against the motion.

During the discussion, several Councilmembers also voiced concerns about MSU’s second-year live-on policy, which includes an exception for fraternities, sororities and other types of group housing. Council plans to discuss a potential moratorium on these types of requests at its discussion-only meeting on April 12, citing concerns about a potential overpopulation of this type of housing in the community and public safety constraints.


** Other Items
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* Council approved a resolution recognizing Autism Awareness Month. View the agenda item report for the resolution recognizing Autism Awareness Month. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75473/Approve%20a%20resolution%20recognizing%20Autism%20Awarene.pdf?handle=0B054E49A71F417B87C3C486D93A2698)
* Council approved a resolution recognizing Fair Housing Month. View the agenda item report for the resolution recognizing Fair Housing Month. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75479/Approve%20a%20resolution%20recognizing%20Fair%20Housing%20M.pdf?handle=C96B5C454135446387EF56A3B6158323)
* Council approved a resolution establishing a public hearing on the preliminary Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and Property Tax Rate for May 10, 2022. View the agenda item report for the resolution establishing a public hearing on the preliminary FY23 Budget and Property Tax Rate. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75038/Approve%20a%20resolution%20establishing%20a%20public%20hear.pdf?handle=855C622B78994399B262E82F814B835F)
* Council approved street closure requests for the East Lansing Art Festival (ELAF), which will take place May 21-22 in downtown East Lansing. View the agenda item report for the street closure requests for the ELAF. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75079/Approve%20a%20street%20closure%20request%20for%20the%20East%20L.pdf?handle=9CDDD52DE2C04C269C302D03AE58746B)
* Council approved a contract with Ram Construction Services for the 2022 Parking Facility Repairs project. View the agenda item report for the contract with Ram Construction Services. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75238/Approve%20a%20contract%20with%20Ram%20Construction%20Servic.pdf?handle=7DD08348428E46DE93F41E08322C95AF)
* Council approved an Assignment and Assumption of Ground Lease Agreement and supporting documents with HB BM East Lansing, LCC and CASL Newman Lofts East Lansing Property Owner, LLC. View the agenda item report for the Assignment and Assumption of Ground Lease Agreement with HB BM East Lansing, LLC and CASL Newman Lofts East Lansing Property Owner, LLC. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/74856/Approve%20an%20Assignment%20and%20Assumption%20of%20Ground%20.pdf?handle=CFD222B874154F7C865133940B584C55)
* Council set a public hearing for the City Council meeting on April 19 to consider the FY23 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) budget. View the agenda item report setting a public hearing on April 19 for the FY23 CDBG budget. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75365/Set%20a%20public%20hearing%20for%20April%2019,%202022%20to%20cons.pdf?handle=92B499CF0703457789E85504D23C59DF)
* Council set a public hearing for the City Council meeting on May 10 to consider the FY23 CDBG budget. View the agenda item report setting a public hearing on May 10 for the FY23 CDBG budget. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75385/Set%20a%20second%20public%20hearing%20for%20May%2010,%202022%20to.pdf?handle=E15A372FE4DC4D9C8BC169D21A77DF14)
* Council tabled a request from Josie Lewis for a site plan and Special Use Permit (SUP) approval to establish a fraternity at 404 E. Michigan Ave. The applicant requested that the public hearing on the request be postponed to a later date. View the agenda item report for the request from Josie Lewis for site plan and SUP approval to establish a fraternity at 404 E. Michigan Ave. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75297/Consideration%20of%20a%20request%20from%20Josie%20Lewis%20for.pdf?handle=51F1EA404632406C87B8351B451DEAB3)
* In a vote of 4-1 (Councilmember Babcock voting against), Council approved an SUP request from FPAW Michigan, Inc. to establish a marihuana retailer at 1415 E. Michigan Ave. (the former Sawyers Pontiac dealership site). View the agenda item report for the SUP request from FPAW Michigan, Inc. to establish a marihuana retailer at 1415 E. Michigan Ave. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/75388/Consideration%20of%20a%20Special%20Use%20Permit%20request%20f.pdf?handle=D86C4E4F9CAB405D9A7206C47012FF90)

To learn more about all items discussed during the meeting, view the Agenda Packet. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=737)
Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 12

Budget Work Session & Discussion-Only Meeting


** Additional Information
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The City of East Lansing has transitioned back to in-person public meetings and East Lansing City Council meetings have been temporarily relocated to the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road. Budget work sessions take place at 5 p.m. and regular and discussion-only Council meetings take place at 7 p.m. A remote option for viewing the meetings and providing public comment is continuing to be offered for City Council and Planning Commission meetings via the City's public meeting portal (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/Portal/) . The number to call in for public comment is posted at the top of each meeting agenda.

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