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Monday, March 18,2013

Council Night

Setting dates to discuss casino agreements and encouraging Meijer to keep free publications

by Andy Balaskovitz
Friday, Feb. 17 — The Lansing City Council is scheduled to set four public hearings on the administration's casino proposal at its meeting Monday night.

After being voted out of a Council committee earlier this week, MLive.com’s Angela Wittrock reported Thursday, the Council is scheduled to set public hearings on various aspects of the plan during Monday night’s meeting. All four hearings would be set for March 12.

Three of the hearings involve a 2,500-space parking ramp that the casino developers plan to build north of Cooley Law School Stadium to accommodate casino visitors.

The first involves a $20 million brownfield redevelopment plan for the “Ballpark North” property, just north of the stadium. MLive reported that several developers who own land bounded by Shiawassee, Larch and Cedar streets, including Pat Gillespie, would sell the parcels to Lansing Future LLC, the casino developers. Lansing Future wants to build a 2,500-space parking ramp on the property, yet Gillespie would own the first floor for commercial use, MLive reported.  

A second hearing is on rezoning the parking ramp property from light industrial to business to allow for the planned mixed use of the land for office, commercial and residential. A third public hearing will be on a special land use permit to actually build the ramp.

A fourth public hearing will be on the comprehensive development agreement between the city, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Lansing Future, which involves: selling a city-owned maintenance garage parcel at 312 Cedar St. to Lansing Future as part of its parking ramp plans; selling a parcel of property northeast of the Lansing center to the developer to build the permanent “showcase casino”; the city’s acquiring more than 10,000 square feet just north of the stadium to build a public right-of-way connecting Cedar and Larch streets; and developing a second, smaller parking ramp adjacent to the east side of the Lansing Center.

Scheduling the public hearings is typically a brief affair. More substantive discussions occur during the public hearings.

In other business, the Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution encouraging Meijer to keep free publications at its eight Lansing-area stores. The latest on Meijer’s plans, including how Meijer officials now cite its image for removing the newspaper racks, is available here.

“The Lansing City Council are staunch supporters of local businesses and work diligently to encourage citywide support from its residents neighbors,” the Council resolution says, adding that the store’s decision would affect City Pulse, The New Citizens Press, The Michigan Bulletin and Wheeler Deeler.

“The City of Lansing and the neighboring municipalities have used these publications to inform the community of important notices and issues. … This policy could have an adverse impact on thousands of residents who rely upon them for public notices from their local governing offices and surrounding municipalities.”

Other public officials and Lansing area residents are speaking up against Meijer’s decision. More on those here.


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