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East Lansing City Council Meeting Recap 7/12/22

East Lansing City Council Meeting Recap 7/12/22


** 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 July 12 Meeting
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The East Lansing City Council met this past Tuesday, July 12 at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center for its regular meeting.

The meeting began with a vote by Council to excuse Mayor Ron Bacon and Councilmember Lisa Babcock, who could not attend the meeting. This vote was followed by approval of the agenda, approval of the minutes from the June 21 meeting and communications from the audience. Next, during communications from the Council, East Lansing City Councilmember Dana Watson shared that the East Lansing Human Rights Commission will be continuing with its Coffee & Conversation Series, with the next event expected to take place on Aug. 14. The Coffee & Conversation Series serves as a forum for community discussions on topics of diversity and inclusion. Councilmember Watson encouraged community members to keep an eye out for additional information about that event as the date draws closer. Event details will be posted on the City's website calendar (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/calendar.aspx) and social media (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/1897/Stay-Connected) .

Councilmember Watson also shared that the City of East Lansing recently received the Housing Partner of the Year Award for 2022 from Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) - a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to develop strong, diverse neighborhoods with a focus on affordable housing, homeownership and financial security in mid Michigan. Councilmember Watson then invited Housing and University Relations Administrator Annette Irwin up to talk a little bit about CAHP and its history in East Lansing. Irwin explained that CAHP began in East Lansing as East Lansing Housing & Neighborhood Services and, since that time, has had many moves and significant growth. Irwin noted that CAHP is now based out of the Neighborhood Empowerment Center in Lansing and serves not only the City of East Lansing, but the region broadly. Irwin then went over the significant number of people/households in East Lansing that have been assisted by CAHP over the years through its various
programs. Community members can learn more about CAHP here (https://www.capitalareahousing.org/) .

East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg closed out the communications from Council by sharing some advice with community members seeking to become more involved in their community. She encouraged them to start by showing up and engaging at public meetings and noted that all of the City's public meetings are open to the public and are posted on the City's website calendar (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/calendar.aspx) .


** Public Hearings
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Two public hearings were held during the July 12 meeting, the first being a public hearing to consider a special use permit and site plan application to construct two commercial buildings, one with a drive-through window, at 1601 W. Lake Lansing Road. East Lansing Planning and Zoning Administrator Peter Menser explained that the applicant is proposing to demolish the Spartan Hall of Fame Café restaurant that's currently on the site and, in its place, construct two commercial buildings, including a 2,432-square-foot restaurant with a drive-through window and a 4,272-square-foot medical office. Menser noted that one revision was made to the site plan ahead of the July 12 meeting to provide additional drive-aisle maneuvering space for the medical office building located directly south of the proposed new development. Menser went on to share that the East Lansing Planning Commission recommended approval of the special use permit and site plan application, subject to 16 conditions, at its
meeting on June 8, 2022. Following some discussion, City Council voted unanimously (3-0) to approve the special use permit and site plan application, subject to 15 conditions (condition #16 was addressed before the public hearing) recommended by the East Lansing Planning Commission. View the agenda item report (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80602/Consideration%20of%20a%20Special%20Use%20Permit_Site%20Plan.pdf?handle=39332415B8814EBFB41BD7A580C631F9) for additional information.

The second public hearing was held to consider substantial amendments to East Lansing's Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Budgets. East Lansing Community & Economic Development Specialist Matt Apostle explained that the substantial amendments proposed for the budgets included moving $23,030 from the Capital Area Housing Partnership's (CAHP) Homeownership Opportunity Assistance Program (FY20) to CAHP's Homeowner Rehabilitation Program and moving $83,820 from a line item for business support (FY21) to the Stoddard Park Improvement Project. Additional context on these substantial amendments can be found in the agenda item report (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80665/Consideration%20of%20a%20Substantial%20Amendment%20to%20Eas.pdf?handle=9375DBDB2B1A4F7A85BF6F70243534B6) . City Council voted unanimously (3-0) to approve the substantial amendments to East Lansing's FY20 and FY21 CDBG Budgets.


** Consideration of Proposed November 8, 2022 Ballot Language
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Next, Council considered a resolution to place proposed language on the November 8, 2022 ballot that, if approved by voters, would change the City Charter to allow alcohol at City-sponsored events. East Lansing Planning, Building & Development Director Tom Fehrenbach explained that the City Charter currently does not allow for alcohol to be served at City-sponsored events and that the proposed ballot language, if placed on the November ballot, would provide voters with the opportunity to vote on whether to potentially change that. Fehrenbach explained that, if approved by voters, staff would return to Council with a draft policy for Council's consideration, which would clarify the mechanics of how alcohol would be permitted moving forward at City-sponsored events. Mayor Pro Tem Gregg shared that she was in favor of placing the proposed language on the November 2022 ballot, citing the fact that there have been some instances in the past where event organizers were seeking to have alcohol
during a City event and were unable to do so due to the City Charter (i.e. a beer tent proposed for the East Lansing Art Festival a few years ago). Councilmember George Brookover asked several questions about the proposed ballot language and, ultimately, indicated he would not be voting in favor of the language. City Council did not take action on the item, which means the proposed language will not be placed on the November 2022 ballot; however, it was indicated during the meeting that the item will likely be brought back to Council at a later date when another opportunity arises to place it on an election ballot. Community members can watch Fehrenbach's presentation and Council's discussion on the item here (https://youtu.be/WF_hrJ9rVvo?t=2897) . For additional information, community members can view the agenda item report (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80566/Consideration%20of%20a%20resolution%20placing%20language%20.pdf?handle=BE8935CA10954A07984F530FC0E346AC) .


**
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To view consent agenda items approved during the meeting, view the Agenda Packet (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Id=743) .
Next Meeting: Tuesday, Aug. 16
Regular 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. Regular and discussion-only Council meetings take place at 7 p.m. A remote option for viewing the meetings and providing public comment continues 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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