Public Works

COUNCIL CAPSULE: October 28, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ELi’s weekly Wednesday feature, “Council Capsule,” gives you a quick run-down of happenings of note at City Council the night before.

Last night's meeting was a work session. Next week’s meeting will be on Wednesday because Tuesday is Election Day.

Roll Call: All five Council members were present: Mayor Nathan Triplett , Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, Ruth Beier, Kathy Boyle, and Susan Woods.

Council Considers Record-Breaking 60-Year TIF to Avoid Sharing Revenues

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Council is hastening to vote to extend the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan on the Marriott University Place property as much as 30 more years at a 100% level of tax capture, bringing the TIF plan at this location to a record-setting 60 years. The current 30-year plan is not set to expire until December, 2016, but City staff fear that if Council waits to extend it, new rules at the State level will restrict what they can do in terms of TIF at this location.

Mercury Contamination Investigation at Hannah Community Center Leads to Selective Notification of Citizens

Friday, October 24, 2014

The City is selectively notifying some East Lansing residents of an investigation at Hannah Community Center related to a mishap involving a mercury spill. An email message has gone out from the City addressed to “East Lansing Hannah Community Center Visitors.” The letter advises recipients that a vacuum hose that had previously been wrongly used to clean up a mercury spill at the water treatment plant was then also wrongly used at Hannah Community Center.

City Allows BWL to Cut Trees without Required Permits; Tree Resolution to Be Considered Tonight

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ELi has learned that City of East Lansing staff has been allowing BWL to trim and cut down trees in East Lansing without the permits and oversight required by the City’s own municipal code.

This news comes as tonight City Council will consider a resolution in support of the trees, raising the question of whether such a resolution would, in practice, also be disregarded by City staff.

COUNCIL CAPSULE: October 14, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ELi’s weekly Wednesday feature, “Council Capsule,” gives you a quick run-down of what happened at City Council the night before. Capsules include major votes including tallies and reporting (and non-reporting) of potential conflicts-of-interest.

Note: This meeting was a “work session” so it was not recorded or broadcast. As a consequence, there is no video record available to the public.

Artistic Bike Racks Coming Downtown

Monday, October 13, 2014

Six new works of art that will double as bicycle racks are to be celebrated at an East Lansing ribbon-cutting event next week. Ami Van Antwerp, Communications Coordinator for the City, estimates that the $20,000 project will net “at least 10 new [bicycle] parking spaces” downtown. According to Van Antwerp, “There are a couple of situations where we are replacing deteriorating hoops with the new artistic bike racks.”

Ask ELi: How Much Money Goes from BWL to Lansing?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Note: This article begins a new weekly Friday feature of ELi called “Ask ELi to Investigate.” This feature takes questions from readers and assigns a citizen-reporter to investigate the answer. If you’d like to submit a question for “Ask ELi to investigate,” use our contact form.

A reader asks: How much money does the Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) give from its profits to the City of Lansing each year?

Ordinance 1339, Funding for Art, Passes 3-1 at Council

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On Tuesday, October 7, City Council passed Ordinance 1339 which provides for private and public funding of public art in East Lansing. The vote occurred after a debate between Mayor Nathan Triplett and Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris about the state of the city’s finances. The ordinance ultimately passed by a vote of 3-1, with Goddeeris voting against and Council member Susan Woods recusing herself.

BWL Asserts Legal Right to Trim

Monday, October 6, 2014

Does BWL have the right to come onto privately-owned property and trim or remove trees without the owner’s permission in the absence of a written legal easement? The BWL Director of Communications is suggesting the answer is “yes,” but an MSU property rights legal expert says the details would be complicated.

I asked Steve Serkiain, BWL’s Director of Communications, to answer three questions, on the record:

Bailey Residents Concerned that Community Center on List for Sale

Thursday, October 2, 2014

In an effort to push development within city limits, City of East Lansing Planning staff have produced a recommended list of “redevelopment ready” properties. This is essentially a list meant to attract potential developers, and although Bailey neighborhood residents thought the Bailey Community Center had come off the redevelopment-ready list at their request, according to a recent disclosure by City Planning staff, the Bailey Community Center is back on the draft list.

New Yard Sign Campaign Questions BWL’s Right to Cut

Friday, September 26, 2014

East Lansing residents are seeing fewer tree trimming crews out working for Lansing’s Board of Water and Light (BWL), the major provider of electricity to East Lansing. But tensions remain very high between BWL and homeowners. Some homeowners who have already experienced damage to their properties from trimmer crews are being offered compensation by BWL. Others, worried about future damage, have joined a new yard sign campaign.

BWL Changes Approach to East Lansing

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Apparently in response to numerous complaints by East Lansing homeowners, the Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) has decided to change its approach to tree-cutting along its wires in East Lansing's Glencairn, Chesterfield Hills, and Oakwood neighborhoods. BWL is the electric utility provider to these neighborhoods.

East Lansing Voters to Decide whether to Allow City to Sell Land for Park District Redevelopment

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Map highliting the parking lots on the ballot initiative

On August 6, the City Council voted to put a question on the November 4 ballot asking the electorate to authorize the City to sell three parking lots needed for redevelopment of the west end of downtown leading down to Valley Court Park, an area being called “the Park District.”

This authorization will only pass if 60% of the voters vote for it; the City Charter requires that a super-majority of voters approve sale of public properties of this value. 



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The "Committee of the Whole" of the Board of Water and Light (BWL) met tonight and decided against conducting any discussion with old-growth East Lansing neighborhood associations about their concerns regarding the extent and type of cutting being done by Wright Tree Service, the contractor for BWL. As a consequence, trimming and removal of trees will resume first thing tomorrow morning.