Council Capsule: January 5, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016, 10:19 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Each week, ELi brings you a “capsule” of what happened at the meeting.

All members present: Mayor Mark Meadows, Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier, Councilmembers Erik Altmann, Shanna Draheim, and Susan Woods.

Vacancies on boards and commissions: Councilmember Draheim pointed out in her report that there are still a lot of vacancies on boards and commissions. She encouraged citizens to apply. To see the list of vacancies, click here.

Chesterfield Hills permit parking approved: Most of the meeting was taken up with debate over whether Council should approve a permit-only parking plan for several blocks in the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood just northwest of the intersection of Harrison Road and Michigan Avenue. Council voted 3-2 to approve it, with Mayor Meadows, Mayor Pro Tem Beier, and Councilmember Altmann in favor, and Councilmembers Draheim and Woods opposed. See our special report on this.

“Escape Room” gaming space approved: Council unanimously approved a Special Use Permit application from Matthew Ao “to allow for a game room referred to as an ‘escape room’ where participants work to solve puzzles as a group in order to win the game” for the basement of 301 M.A.C. Avenue, at the northwest corner of M.A.C. Avenue and Albert Street. The idea is that a group of people (either a group of strangers or a group of people who know each other) are in a room and have one hour to find and figure out clues to “escape” from the room. For safety reasons, the door they came in is always unlocked, and there are video cameras through which the gaming staff monitor activity for safety. There were no comments during the public hearing on this.

Rental Nonconforming Committee formed: Council passed an amended resolution to appoint a committee for purposes of making recommendations to the City Council regarding "regulations relating to nonconforming rental properties”.  Before the resolution was passed, the meeting date was changed to January 22, because the Committee is going to meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Read all about this issue here.

Falcon Pointe application deferred: Council held a public hearing on “an application from FP Investors, LLC for a Cluster Plan Development for the Falcon Pointe property north of the Hawk Nest Subdivision, west of Thoroughbred Lane and south of State Road; to convert an existing manufactured housing community into a single-family residential development with 102 three-bedroom units.” The plan calls for building 102 single-family houses that will be within a condominium association, so the houses will be subject to the bylaws of the condo association.

There was a lot of confusion about this application among the public and also for Council because the plans as submitted did not have full documentation and because the project area has been through a significant amount of turmoil. (See earlier report on Falcoln Pointe.) Several members of the area came to listen and speak, including Tracy Nichols, Kathy Bratschi, Anne Hill, Norma Crowley, and Mark Neisler. Ian Hoopingarner also asked questions. The developer responded to questions from the public and from Council. Concerns included the houses becoming student rentals, excessive traffic, and road maintenance.

Council voted 5-0 to revisit the application on January 19, when they have more information.

Communications from the public: Mayor Meadows acknowledged each written communication received by Council. We are reporting oral comments in our reports on the specific topics to which the comments related.

Consent agenda: The following items were passed on a consent agenda, meaning they passed without further discussion:

  • Approval of a resolution to pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideals of freedom, justice and peace.
  • Approval of a Housing Commission recommendation for the approval of a conditional Class III rental license for 926 Trafalger Street. See the associated memo; staff recommendation; application.
  • Approval of the "Partial Release of Easement" for the original water main easement for the Caddis Development project at the southwest corner of Lake Lansing Road and Coolidge Road; see staff memo and easement.
  • Approval of the appointment of Jim Lavendee to the Senior Commission for a term ending 12/31/18. (This was added tonight, and was not on the published agenda.)

 

Reminder: You can comment at any City Council meeting and can write to Council at council@cityofeastlansing.com.