Niowave pole barn draws neighbors' ire, attention to city planning process

Feb 5, 2013

Many Walnut Neighborhood residents argue that Niowave's pole barn, which was completed in early 2012, has caused a drop in property values.
Credit File photo / WKARLansing Mayor Virg Bernero gave his annual State of the City address last night. We talk with Eric Lacy of the Lansing State Journal about the mayor’s remarks.

Niowave, the high-tech, particle acceleration company here in Lansing, has been growing. Its success has been a benefit in many ways to the community – more jobs, greater tax revenue, more clout in the tech world for the city.

But the company’s growth has also led to some friction.

Early last year, Niowave built a large pole barn at its headquarters, which is a former school in Lansing’s Walnut Neighborhood.

The pole barn’s industrial look and size has drawn the ire of many residents, who feel it’s a blot on the neighborhood.   Months of attempts to reach out to Niowave with requests for aesthetic improvements have been met mostly with silence. After nearly a year, neighbors continue to be frustrated with a lack of progress.

Meanwhile, it’s also unclear what city processes, if any, broke down so that such a structure was approved for building without public input.

Lansing City Council member Brian Jeffries is chair of the Committee on Development and Planning and is part of an effort to resolve the situation as well as prevent similar breakdowns in the future. Walnut neighborhood resident Mary Elaine Kiener has been active in seeking a resolution. They join us to discuss where the situation with Niowave stands.