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Friday, November 28, 2014


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City Council denies proposed Gunson development




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The Garten Haus development sits on the corner of Gunson and Beech Street. The property could be rezoned by the city council. Julia Nagy/The State News



In a chamber packed with residents, the East Lansing City Council fielded a multitude of concerns regarding DTN’s request to allow rezoning for their Garten Haus property, located at the intersection of Gunson and Beech street , which was unanimously denied by council at Tuesday night’s lengthy council meeting.

In early August the East Lansing Planning Commission suggested that council think closely about the rezoning-which would allow for a higher density redevelopment in the heart of a residential neighborhood where small, cottage-style homes currently stand.

During the meeting, councilmembers discussed concerns about the neighborhood’s ability to handle the drastic size and density differences that could come with the new development with members of the community, as well as traffic concerns with additional parking that would have to be added.

“I applaud everyone involved for trying to be creative,” councilmember Kevin Beard said. “But given the surrounding uses, the development would be inappropriate.”

DTN representative Allen Russell suggested that council consider the change in zoning to allow for a more updated replacement for the now- several decades old structures.

“The barracks buildings really are bad structures,” Russell said.

Alhough councilmember Loomis expressed anxiety for the Garten Haus buildings’ success with possible large-scale redevelopments such as the massive Red Cedar Golf Course construction on the horizon, he still denied the application.

“In reality, properties like this one … are aged and dated and in dire need of investment,” Loomis said. “There are changing (student) preferences out there.”

Four hours into the meeting, Director of Planning and Community Development Tim Dempsey said St. Anne Lofts’ temporary certificate of occupancy has been extended for one more week.

All of the outstanding issues in the residential living spaces, including those with the elevator, were approved by the C2AE engineering group and deemed satisfactory by the city.

But because of necessary changes involving fire suppression in the basement of the building, which is not technically part of the residential portion of the building, but has a lounge area for residents, Dempsey said the certificate would be extended to Monday.

Council also decided there was no more need to receive weekly St. Anne Loft updates from Dempsey, and will ask for information about the project when they feel it is necessary.

Council also unanimously approved an ordinance to restrict the usage of fireworks to three days out of the year, and also approved 5 MSU students to the Community Relations Coalition, or CRC.

The CRC works with permanent residents of East Lansing and plans events such as community clean-ups and ice cream socials to build neighbor communication.


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