East Lansing’s Housing Study to Be Tackled at Special Joint Session

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Alice Dreger for ELi

University Edge, a big new student-focused development in Lansing (just over East Lansing's border) is one of many big new developments impacting the area's housing market.

East Lansing’s special housing study and a related “strategic plan” prepared by City Staff will be the sole topics of an unusual joint meeting of the City’s Planning and Housing Commissions taking place at the Hannah Community Center on Wednesday, Sept. 22, starting at 6 p.m.

ELi reported in April that the external consultant hired to perform the Housing Study focused on real estate marketing and found that construction of student-focused housing is far outpacing the growth of the MSU student body. 

In May, ELi reported that the consultant was subsequently considering how East Lansing could promote redevelopment that would attract more residential diversity in terms of income levels, household type, age, race, and ethnicity.

According to a memo included with this Wednesday’s agenda item attachment, City Staff is seeking the Planning and Housing Commissions’ input regarding a prepared summary of the housing study data and a “Near Term Housing Action Plan.” 

The memo states that the action plan is “a distillation of the Strategic Plan intended to direct focus on tasks that the Planning Commission and Housing Commission can begin to work on in the short-term. Staff seeks input to ensure the plan aligns with the priorities of both commissions.”

Whatever plan emerges will ultimately be taken to City Council for consideration, the memo notes, prior to staff bringing it back before the Planning and Housing Commissions, respectively. 

Additionally, following Council review, staff will begin to consider long-term plans to address other parts of the strategic plan. 

In attendance at the joint meeting will be Sharon Woods, the consultant from LandUseUSA who prepared the housing study, as well as a consultant from CIB Planning, which helped prepare the draft strategic plan.

Wednesday’s joint meeting is not the first time the housing study has come before these two commissions. In May, Woods met with the Planning and Housing Commissions as individual public bodies and shared her findings. Prior to those meetings, Woods had presented her findings to City Council during two meetings, one on April 23 and another a week later on April 30.There will be a period for public comment at Wednesday’s meeting. According to the posted agenda, written comments can also be submitted in advance by email to Planning and Zoning Administrator Peter Menser. (In general, if written comments are not received by several hours before the meeting, they will not be included in the final agenda packet.)

Correction: A previous version of this article had erroneously stated the date of the meeting. The actual date of the event is Wednesday, Sept. 22, not Wednesday, Sept. 20.

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