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East Lansing City Council Meeting Recap 11/23/21

** 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 2021 meeting schedule here: https://cityofeastlansing.com/997/2021-Meeting-Dates (https://cityofeastlansing.com/997/2020-Meeting-Dates) .

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


** Highlights from the November 23 Meeting
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The East Lansing City Council met in person yesterday at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center for its Tuesday, Nov. 23 regular meeting.

During communications at the start of the meeting, a few Councilmembers inquired about how to assist neighbors in Chesterfield Hills, who recently reached out to Council and staff with concerns about sewer odors. City Manager George Lahanas reported that the City is preparing an engineering estimate for repairing and retrofitting approximately 14 sewer catch basins to address the reported issue. He noted that he will keep Council updated on the engineering cost estimate and hopes to begin the project either this fall or in spring 2022.

During the mayor's report, Mayor Ron Bacon wished the community a happy Thanksgiving and safe holidays. He also encouraged everyone to stay safe and limit the spread of COVID-19 this Thanksgiving. "Do your best to take care of each other," said Mayor Bacon.

Additionally, Mayor Bacon reminded community members that the City's popular, annual Winter Glow event will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 2-5 p.m. in downtown East Lansing's Ann Street Plaza (corner of Albert and M.A.C. avenues). He also encouraged community members to support local businesses and shop downtown during the City's Green Friday (& Saturday too!) event on Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4. Community members can learn more about Winter Glow and Green Friday at www.cityofeastlansing.com/winterglow (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/464/Winter-Glow) .

Mayor Bacon continued his report by announcing that he will be hosting a coffee hour on Friday, Dec. 10 from 4-5 p.m. at the East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road. Lastly, Mayor Bacon took time during his report to encourage residents to apply to serve on the City's board and commissions (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/Portal/BoardApplication) .

"You don't have to be an expert on the subject matter," said Mayor Bacon. "Some of the board and commissions are more technical and may require more expertise, but for the most part, your participation and your expertise will be utilized on the boards and commissions of your choice."


** 2040 Merritt Road
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Council considered two items for the property located at 2040 Merritt Road.

First, Council considered a letter agreement for the Site Plan and Special Use Permit (SUP) for 2040 Merritt Road. East Lansing Planning and Zoning Administrator Peter Menser provided some background on the project, explaining that the Site Plan and SUP for 2040 Merritt Road was originally approved by a previous City Council in August 2019.

The approved site plan and SUP consisted of plans to construct three new buildings at 2040 Merritt Road, including a medical marihuana provisioning center, hotel and retail center. The SUP and site plan approval was valid for one year, until August 13, 2020. The East Lansing Planning Commission also approved two, six-month extensions, which extended the approval to August 13, 2021.

Menser explained that the applicant and City staff disagreed as to whether the applicant satisfied all 27 conditions stemming from the approved site plan and SUP prior to its August 13, 2021 expiration. In an effort to allow the project to move forward, clarify the project phasing timeline and settle the disagreement, the city attorney drafted a letter agreement.

The letter agreement includes a phasing plan and related submittal deadlines for each phase of the project, with phase one being the construction of the provisioning center, the multiple-tenant shopping center as phase two and the hotel as phase three. The letter agreement also allows the developer to move ahead with the construction of the provisioning center.

Following Council asking several questions, Council unanimously approved the letter agreement for 2040 Merritt Road. View the agenda item report for the letter agreement for the site plan and SUP for 2040 Merritt Road (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/66405/Approve%20a%20Letter%20Agreement%20for%202040%20Merritt%20Roa.pdf?handle=57546649D7154F12B8A976559DB1032E) .

Next, Council considered a land division application to divide 2040 Merritt Road into three new parcels for the construction of the medical marihuana provisioning center, hotel and retail center.

Menser explained that 2040 Merritt Road is approximately 6.42 acres, and the applicant is proposing to divide the parcel into one 0.78-acre parcel and two 2.97-acre parcels. He also noted that the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the request, subject to four conditions listed in the referral letter and a fifth condition proposed by staff.

Following discussion, Council unanimously approved the land division application, subject to the Planning Commission's four conditions and staff's fifth condition. View the agenda item report for the land division application from Merritt Road 4, LLC. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/64808/Consideration%20of%20an%20application%20from%20Merritt%20Ro.pdf?handle=1C2526D951AC4A6D9BCADC336BDEB73C)


** Other Items
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* East Lansing City Councilmember George Brookover made a motion to move a change order for site improvements at the East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) from the consent agenda to the business agenda in order to discuss it further. Following Council discussion, it was approved by Council with a vote of 4-1. View the agenda item report for the change order for site improvements at the ELPL (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/66389/Approve%20change%20order%20_4%20in%20the%20amount%20of%20$196,6.pdf?handle=0A73C419641249749D2969386C9EE6B4) .
* Council approved the closure of Albert Avenue, from the entrance of the Albert Avenue Garage to M.A.C. Avenue, for the City's Winter Glow event on Saturday, Dec. 4.View the agenda item report for the street closure for the Winter Glow event (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/66486/Approve%20the%20closure%20of%20Albert%20Street%20from%20the%20e.pdf?handle=F87AB56E363047549E8C0D3CFE0E65A6) .
* Council approved a consultant services contract with Mayotte Group Architects for architectural design and construction administration services for the renovation of East Lansing Fire Station #1. View the agenda item report for the contract with Mayotte Group Architects (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/65852/Approve%20a%20consultant%20services%20contract%20with%20May.pdf?handle=BC66CB23498741FEA35B8218E0906705) .
* Council approved a contract with Sinclair Recreation, LLC for the supply and installation of outdoor fitness equipment in Bailey Park. View the agenda item report for the contract with Sinclair Recreation, LLC (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/65538/Approve%20a%20contract%20to%20Sinclair%20Recreation,%20LLC,.pdf?handle=A4AF2DE79B5D4DE6AA2D9D780B4AD38F) .
* Council introduced and referred Ordinance No. 1509 to the East Lansing Planning Commission:
Ordinance No. 1509 - a request to rezone 218 and 224 W. Lake Lansing Road from RA, Residential Agricultural District, to B-5, Community Retail Sales Business District. View the agenda item report introducing and referring Ordinance No. 1509 to the Planning Commission (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/document/66408/Introduce%20and%20refer%20to%20Planning%20Commission%20Ordi.pdf?handle=99AABF8EC63E47DBB7AB224AC1881696) .

To learn more about all items discussed during the meeting, view the Agenda Packet. (https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=505)
Next Meeting: Tuesday, Dec. 7


** PLEASE NOTE:
In-Person Public Meetings Resumed in August 2021
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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. Masks are required at the in-person meetings. Please note that all regularly scheduled Council meetings take place at 7 p.m. A remote option for public comment is continuing to be offered for City Council and Planning Commission meetings. Learn more (https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1520) .

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