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Monday, March 18,2013

Council Night

‘Natural’ land for the city; public hearings on tax sharing agreements

by Andy Balaskovitz
Friday, Oct. 14 — The city is line to acquire nearly 30 acres of land for recreational and open space use in west Lansing.

The Lansing City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution to acquire the land at Monday night’s meeting. According to the resolution, the “plan is to preserve the river frontage in its natural state, and to devote the upland areas either to nature interpretation, park or open space uses.”

The property on Hunter Ridge Drive near the Waverly and Holmes roads intersection — commonly known as “Hunters Ridge” — is 28.47 acres across the Grand River from Woldumar Nature Center. The new Design Lansing master plan designates the parcel as “Open Space/Potential Natural Area.” It’s currently zoned residential.

Also, the city may be in line to get the property for free, though it would have to pay for easements and utilities for the property. The property is worth $270,000, but the city has secured a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant, which means the state will reimburse the city 75 percent of the costs. Also, Capitol National Bank Corp. — which owns the property — has agreed to donate the rest of the matching funds “in lieu of payment, so that the City will not have to pay the match,” the resolution says.

The Planning Board recommended to acquire the property at its Aug. 2 meeting. If the city approves the resolution Monday, the 28.47 acres will become dedicated parkland. Lansing voters will vote Nov. 8 on whether to allow the city to sell off nearly 13 acres of parkland for redevelopment on the east side of town at the former Red Cedar Golf Course.

In other business, two public hearings are scheduled for Monday night on proposed 425 tax sharing agreements between the city and DeWitt Township. The two proposed resolutions seek to create an “aerotroplis” — subject to state approval — meant to attract business development around the Lansing airport. The “conditional transfer of property,” according to the resolutions, covers nearly 1,800 acres.

Following the Council’s meeting, the Committee of the Whole (a committee made up of all eight Council members) is scheduled to discuss fiscal year 2013 budget priorities and a resolution “in consideration of millage support.” The City Charter requires the Council to draft budget priorities by Oct. 1 each year. The document is meant to express Council’s expectations in a new budget, while the mayor drafts a finalized budget.
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