4 takeaways from E.L. City Council meeting: Park District, pot and more
Below are four takeaways from the East Lansing City Council meeting Tuesday night.
Park District Project
The Park District Project will make a comeback in about a month with new plans.
It should include the same features, such as the hotel and parking, but it will be simplified, Convexity lawyer David Pierson said.
"We expect to have something in the next month, at least as a conceptual plan to share with you to see what the response is based on what we're thinking at this time," Pierson said.
This is a step in the right direction for the city, Mayor Pro Tem Erik Altmann said.
"The sooner the better," Altmann said. "Clearing those buildings was a psychological boost, but people want to see something happen there. I was excited to hear that they're going to keep the same basic elements of the project. I think that's terrific."
The council did not make a decision about regulations for provisioning centers, commonly known as storefronts, for medical marijuana at the meeting Tuesday night.
"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when," councilmember Aaron Stephens said. "This is about making sure that we're doing this right. I want to encourage public input again."
The Planning Commission will take the ordinance up again and make more changes.
Councilmembers said they want to make sure everything is done right before the provisioning centers are allowed in the city.
"I don't want a saturation of any one type of business so this is not against the type of business, this is just a saturation issue," councilmember Shanna Draheim said.
The allowance of provisioning centers follows an ordinance that allows growers, processing, safety compliance and secure transfer facilities within city limits that was passed at a council meeting on Dec. 5, 2017.
Conflict of Interest Lawsuit
The city paid $20,000 to settle a conflict of interest lawsuit filed in 2016, in which federal grant money was used to build a sidewalk that benefited the law firm McGinty, Hitch, Person, Yeadon & Anderson, P.C., according to a Lansing State Journal article.
This is the firm the City of East Lansing uses.
In a closed meeting on Nov. 8, 2017, the city agreed to pay the settlement, but did not update the meeting minutes.
At Tuesday's meeting, the minutes were updated to reflect that the council voted unanimously to pay the settlement.
"I have to take personal fault with regard to this, because I could have held those minutes up until we received some notice from the federal government that we were able to publicly discuss this matter," Mayor Mark Meadows said. "I just didn't think of it at the time that the minutes came up and they were approved without any reference."
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The council also passed a resolution recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
A luncheon is planned for Jan. 15 to honor the day with keynote speaker Diane Nash. The event is sold out, MLK Holiday Commission Chairperson Elaine Hardy said.
"She's 79 years old and she said she is still ready to march," Hardy said. "We're excited to (bring) her to the community."