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Monday, March 18,2013

Council night

An Oliver Towers letter; snow and ice removal assessments; and three ordinances for passage on Monday’s City Council agenda

by Andy Balaskovitz

Friday, Sept. 23 – The proposed development agreement between the city and Davenport University to swap land involving Oliver Towers is now on file in the City Clerk’s Office, as is a letter from the chairman of Lansing Community College’s Board of Trustees.



Trustees’ Chairman Larry Meyer wrote a letter to the Council last Friday that says the LCC board approved a resolution at its Sept. 7 meeting saying the college is still interested in acquiring Oliver Towers and the adjacent parking lot, despite the proposed deal between the city and Davenport University. Upon receiving such letters, the Council formally places them “on file” in the City Clerk’s Office.



The letter reads, in part:
“Prior to the Board's action, during regularly scheduled meetings with top-level city administration officials, LCC executive staff were assured that the Oliver Tower block would be offered in a public RFP [Request for Proposals] process in which we were and continue to be prepared to participate.

“The Oliver Tower block is a strategic parcel at the southwest corner of our campus. The acquisition of this property is key to LCC's long-term planning. In fact, we have been leasing the 200-space parking lot from the city for $174,000 per year.

“Lansing Community College is a very strong anchor in this community and an integral part of downtown Lansing where we plan to stay and grow.

“We continue to pursue the purchase of the Oliver Tower block and will pay cash for the property.”

A second letter regarding the land, written by LCC Vice President Lisa Webb Sharpe, also is listed on the Council’s agenda, but it was not available Friday. Webb Sharpe has been critical of the Davenport proposal because she thought LCC would be considered for the property. See this week’s cover story (http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/lansing/article-6356-the-lcc-davenport-tug-of-war-over-oliver-towers.html) for more on the Oliver Towers controversy.

At least six Council members would have to vote yes to approve the development agreement with Davenport University, based on City Charter rules for disposing land. At-Large Councilman Brian Jeffires has said he supports opening a public request for proposals for the property, which could include multiple entities pitching ideas for the land, like LCC. The proposed agreement also needs support from Davenport’s Board of Trustees, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Lansing Housing Commission’s  board.

City Clerk Chris Swope said the soonest the Council could hold a public hearing on the proposal is Oct. 17 and that the soonest it could take a vote on it would be seven days after the hearing.

In other business, the Council is scheduled to vote on approving snow and ice assessments for the first season with the city’s new snow removal ordinance. Between Oct. 1, 2010, and April 1, 2011, it cost the city $20,872.06 to remove snow and ice from city residents’ sidewalks. The city will attempt to recoup those costs by charging those whose properties needed snow and ice removal services done.

Also, the Council will vote on adopting three new ordinances Monday. The first amends the ordinance for nonprofit organizations seeking recognition as a “service” group by including a waiver of the processing fee to do so if the nonprofit has less than $2,500 in assets. The second ordinance repeals the city’s Traffic Code and replaces it with the state’s Uniform Traffic Code, which applies to all state municipalities regulating the use of roads by vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. A third ordinance updates the city’s industrial waste and pretreatment ordinance to comply with federal standards.

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