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East Lansing City Council Meeting Recap 6/21/22

East Lansing City Council Meeting Recap 6/21/22


** 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 June 21 Meeting
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The East Lansing City Council met this past Tuesday, June 21 at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center for its regular meeting.

During communications at the start of the meeting, Councilmember Lisa Babcock highlighted two community events that took place last week. First, she highlighted the 2022 Crystal Awards community reception and congratulated the recipients of this year's Crystal Awards: Nichole Biber, Gary Buckberry and Kathleen Boyle. Community members can learn more about this year's recipients here. (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/2305/2022-Recipient-Bios)

Councilmember Babcock then highlighted the Family Fun Day at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, which featured a bounce house, lawn games and activities, music and more. Councilmember Babcock noted that she had the opportunity to be a judge during the event's bike, wagon and stroller decorating contest. "It was the most fun I've had in years," said Councilmember Babcock.

Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg took time during her comments to congratulate City staff on a successful Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, which took place last weekend in downtown East Lansing.

During the mayor's report, Mayor Ron Bacon took time to recognize the resolution acknowledging July as Parks, Recreation and Arts Month (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80024/) , which was placed on the consent agenda for Council's approval.

"It's such an incredible lift that you guys [East Lansing Department of Parks, Recreation and Arts staff] do and it doesn't go without notice," said Mayor Bacon. "It's highly appreciated and it's (ELPRA programming/services/amenities) frequented by people throughout the region and we just appreciate you and we look forward to acknowledging you with this resolution."

East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas also took time during his report to thank East Lansing Department of Parks, Recreation and Arts staff for their excellent work. "Thank you to the the staff who are here (at the meeting) and those who are not here for doing a great job year-round for the residents of East Lansing," said City Manager Lahanas.


** Special Presentations
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Council was given two special presentations during this past Tuesday's meeting. First, Capital Region International Airport President and CEO Nicole Noll-Williams gave an update on the airport's development projects. The projects include a cargo ramp expansion project, site readiness and utility infrastructure project and roadway improvements and airport access project. Community members can watch Noll-Williams' presentation here. (https://youtu.be/GZ0JGvNqfTc?t=1703)

Noll-Williams concluded her presentation by encouraging the City to review its travel policies and consider mandating its employees to fly Lansing because of the economic impact it will have on the region. Council then took time to thank Noll-Williams for her presentation and praise the Capital Region International Airport.

"We support this growth and we'll look to partner and have more conversations around travel and that kind of thing," said Mayor Bacon. "I'm not sure if we're a huge player in that, but we will do everything in our power to support local."

Next, Council was given a special presentation from Capital Area Michigan Works! (CAMW) CEO Carrie Rosingana regarding a proposed workforce development rule change that would end Michigan's long-standing service delivery model.

Rosingana began her presentation by providing an overview of the Wagner-Peyser Program, which is implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor and is controlled locally and regionally by CAMW. The Wagner-Peyser Program helps connect individuals seeking employment with employers seeking workers. The program also provides the necessary support for individuals to be successful in their careers.

Furthermore, she explained that the State of Michigan received approval from the federal government that allows Michigan the flexibility when creating its staffing structure for the Wagner-Peyser Program. This ensures that the staffing structure meets the needs of each region as well as local partners and organizations.

Rosingana continued her presentation by explaining that a new rule is being proposed that would take away Michigan's flexibility when creating its staffing structure for the program. Additionally, if the proposed rule was approved, the program's services would be implemented by state workers and 300 CAMW positions would be eliminated.

She concluded her presentation by reporting that CAMW is in the final stages of collecting comments that will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor to advocate for why Michigan wants to maintain its current staffing structure. The federal government will then review the comments and will make its final recommendation for the impact it may have on Michigan. Community members can watch Rosingana's presentation here. (https://youtu.be/GZ0JGvNqfTc?t=3531)


** Public Hearing
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Council held a public hearing to consider a Special Use Permit (SUP) and Site Plan application to renovate the building at 321 E. Grand River Ave. (formerly Collegeville Textbook Company) to establish a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages. The proposed restaurant is Coratti's Pizzeria (https://www.corattispizzeria.com/) , which has locations in both Howell, Mich. and Milford, Mich.

East Lansing Planning and Zoning Administrator Peter Menser explained that the applicant is proposing to renovate the existing building and add a second floor that can be accessed by a stairwell or elevator. The second floor would be approximately 4,000 square feet and would include a year-round outdoor patio facing Grand River Avenue. The applicant is also proposing to use the public right-of-way for an outdoor patio on the first level, which will require additional approval from Council at a later date.

Menser noted that, in addition to requesting a liquor license, the applicant is requesting an entertainment license to allow recorded and live music in the restaurant. He also noted that the East Lansing Planning Commission voted to recommend Council approve the proposal, subject to 27 conditions, which are outlined in the Commission's referral letter attached in the agenda item report. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80004/)

One of the conditions for approval requires the applicant to arrange a pre-construction meeting with residents of the adjacent condominium development as well as City staff to discuss construction staging and logistics.

During discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Gregg expressed her excitement for the proposed project. "I think it's a really exciting model," said Mayor Pro Tem Gregg. "I think it's an entertainment model that serves our college-aged community, but would also be very attractive to families."

Following discussion, Council unanimously approved the SUP and Site Plan application for 321 E. Grand River Ave.


** Discussion of Requests for Changes to the City Code
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During the business agenda, Council discussed a request to change the City Code to allow storage facilities in business districts within East Lansing.

Menser began his presentation by explaining that the only type of storage permitted in the City falls under the category of wholesaling or warehousing, which is allowed in the M-1 Manufacturing District. This type of storage is for bulk items for sale by commercial enterprises, such as building materials and retail items. The M-1 Manufacturing District also allows cold storage for commercial food businesses as well as long-term contractor material storage.

Menser then presented Council with some policy considerations related to storage facilities if the City were to allow this land use. He explained that Council needs to determine what type of storage facilities the City wants to allow, such as rented self-storage units with exterior access or storage units that are inside a climate-controlled building.

Additionally, Council needs to consider where the storage facilities would be located within the City. Menser noted that, when deciding on a location, it's important to consider the availability and size of land needed. Council also needs to determine if allowing storage facilities fits into the City's land use goals of the community. Menser also noted that self-storage facilities are not listed as a desired use in the City's Master Plan.

Lastly, Menser explained that Council should consider the potential impacts and challenges allowing storage facilities would present to the City, such as traffic impacts and inactive use of the property. If the City were to allow storage facilities, Menser recommended that the City require interested developers to go through the Special Use Permit (SUP) process. The SUP process allows residents to provide feedback at multiple public hearings and provides the City the ability to add conditions to approvals.

During discussion, Council indicated they were not interested in allowing storage facilities in the City.

"Inviting a use that is essentially an empty building with three employees that doesn't have economic driving benefit, beyond being well maintained and attractive, is not something that I see in the future land use in East Lansing," said Mayor Pro Tem Gregg.


** Consideration of Ballot Language for the Proposed Library Millage
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Next, City Council considered the ballot language for the proposed East Lansing Public Library millage renewal for the November 8, 2022 General Election ballot.

East Lansing City Attorney Tony Chubb explained that, under Michigan’s City, Village and Township Libraries Act, the City of East Lansing has the authority to raise one mill through the budgeting process and an additional one mill through a public vote for the purposes of running the public library. Chubb explained that 10 years ago, a one-mill, 10-year millage was approved by voters and it expires this year. To continue having that funding for the library, it was requested that Chubb prepare language to go on the November ballot, which, if approved by voters, would renew the one-mill library millage for another 10 years. Chubb explained that because of the Headlee Amendment, the proposed millage renewal did have to be reduced to .997 mills to be considered a renewal and not an increase. If approved, it will raise just over $1.3 million a year for the library’s operations.

After some discussion, Council approved the ballot language. The approved ballot language can be viewed in the agenda item report for the consideration of ballot language for the proposed library millage for the November 8, 2022 General Election ballot (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/79937/Consideration%20of%20ballot%20language%20for%20the%20propos.pdf?handle=AF077E005FCD4C8E8AE3DE8AB1CEF940) .


** Consideration of a Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget
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Council unanimously approved an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget for various funds in the combined amount of $6,440,670.

East Lansing Budget and Accounting Administrator Audrey Kincade explained that staff went through their traditional review process, comparing the FY 2022 budget to year-end financial estimates, and determined amendments to the General Fund and several other funds were necessary to ensure all expenditures have been budgeted, in compliance with the Uniform Budgeting Act, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.

Kincade explained that, of the total budget amendment, $805,000 relates to American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and approximately $4.5 million relates to transfers. Transfers between funds inflate the total budget amendment amount, as both the transfer in and transfer out increase the budget of the corresponding funds. She noted that the two largest transfers are from the General Fund ($807,000) and Garage Fund ($998,000) to the Capital Improvement Fund.

Kincade also reported that the Income Tax Fund is expected to out-perform what was initially budgeted and there is an amendment to the Income Tax Fund totaling approximately $672,000. These funds are being allocated out for infrastructure improvements, public safety and supplemental pension payments.

Community members can find a brief description of each budget amendment by viewing the FY 2022 budget amendments agenda item report. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/79949/Consideration%20of%20a%20budget%20amendment%20to%20FY2022%20f.pdf?handle=E8EBA20EF98145BBB822DDDED236C8E5)


**
Consideration of a Resolution Extending the Due Date for Restaurant and License Fees
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Council unanimously approved a resolution to extend the due date for restaurant and license fees from June 30, 2022 to December 1, 2022. Additionally, the resolution extends the length of time for a late fee to be charged from 15 days past the due date to 30 days.

Businesses are still required to file complete license applications and all required corresponding documents to the East Lansing City Clerk's office on or before June 30, 2022 to operate within the City from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. View the agenda item report for the resolution extending the due date for restaurant and license fees. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80044/Consideration%20of%20a%20resolution%20extending%20the%20due.pdf?handle=E969F79CEC404D6EB2EEB117AB130B62)


** Other Items
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* Council approved a resolution acknowledging July as Parks, Recreation and Arts month in the City of East Lansing. View the agenda item report for the resolution acknowledging July as Parks, Recreation and Arts month in the City. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80024/Approve%20a%20resolution%20acknowledging%20July%20as%20Park.pdf?handle=3FFA3A711B704DD7B5FDE2ED9F7601A9)
* Council set a public hearing for the City Council meeting on July 12, 2022 to consider a site plan and Special Use Permit (SUP) application to redevelop the property at 1601 W. Lake Lansing Road.View the agenda item report setting a public hearing to consider a site plan and SUP application to redevelop the property at 1601 W. Lake Lansing Road. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80009/Set%20a%20public%20hearing%20for%20July%2012,%202022%20to%20consi.pdf?handle=0E9A1AAC031A4CC09E84DD8882F6D947)
* Council set a public hearing for the City Council meeting on July 12, 2022 to consider a substantial amendment to East Lansing's Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) budgets.View the agenda item report setting a public hearing to consider a substantial amendment to the FY 2020 and FY 2021 CDBG budgets. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/80039/Set%20a%20public%20hearing%20for%20July%2012,%202022,%20to%20cons.pdf?handle=632CB30FBA574FBD8DACE058FE9B1F79)

To learn more about all items discussed during the meeting, view the Agenda Packet. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=742)
Next Meeting: Tuesday, July 12
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 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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