What’s on the Agenda In East Lansing Next Week?

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Alice Dreger for ELi

An historic City of East Lansing plaque near downtown.

Another busy slate of meetings awaits East Lansing next week.

The Commission on the Environment meets on Monday, Oct. 19, starting at 6:30 p.m. and will be hearing a presentation from Christe Alwin, who works for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), on coal tar sealants.

The Commission could potentially recommend to City Council that the City of East Lansing ban the use of coal tar sealants. Coal tar sealant is the black tar-like liquid used to cover parking lots or driveways. It contains human carcinogens and can damage groundwater. 

Meridian Township banned the use of coal tar sealants at the end of September. Included in the agenda packet is a draft resolution banning their use in East Lansing. (See the full agenda here.)

City Council will meet at their usual time, 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and handle a couple of important items regarding downtown.

Item 4.1 on the business agenda authorizes the sale of City Parking Lot #4 to MSUFCU and the Mayor or City Manager to sign closing documents that have been reviewed by the City Attorney. Voters approved the land sale back in March, and this final step in the process clears the way for MSUFCU to begin construction of a 7-story downtown office building.

Also on the business agenda is the potential approval of a $1.6-million contract with Sandborn Construction, Inc. to do “critical sewer improvements” along Evergreen Avenue — a matter complicated by ongoing development. Last December, East Lansing Director of Public Works Scott House recommended this work be done now rather than waiting further for redevelopment plans in the area to be finalized.

There is plenty more on the Council agenda, like the Human Relations Commission finally being renamed the Human Rights Commission. We’ll bring you a report of the meeting this coming week.

Then on Wednesday, Oct. 21, the Shaping the Avenue committee meets at 9 a.m. to continue working on a form-based (architectural) code for a large east-west swath of the City. One specific agenda item included an attachment outlining different building use and design standards. 

Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission is holding a meeting where they will discuss an unaudited end-of-year report on Fiscal Year 2020 that shows the Parks & Rec fund to be $53,398 in the black. 

And finally the Downtown Development Authority meets at noon on Thursday, Oct. 21, and appears poised to grant a 91-day extension on the Memorandum of Understanding that gives River Caddis Development “a period of exclusivity to perform due diligence” regarding the DDA’s Evergreen Properties. Council indicated on Tuesday they were generally OK with an extension.

The agenda shows that the new City Attorney is being asked to look over the proposed Purchase and Sale Agreement for the properties. We reported back in July that that proposed agreement contains some sweet components for the developers, including: 450 more days of exclusivity with a right for the developer to back out anytime for any reason; enough tax give-backs to basically give the land to the developers for free; and having the City, not the developers, now take on the cost and risk of a new parking garage.

ELi will be following all of these meetings, and more, throughout the week. Stay tuned!

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