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East Lansing is taking feedback to rework its comprehensive plan

A photo of Downtown East Lansing south of Grand River Avenue.
Arjun Thakkar

East Lansing is asking community members to share feedback on how they want the city to use and develop land.

State law requires municipalities to update their planning documents every five years.

East Lansing’s 2018 plan called for development projects that would support the city’s neighborhoods and reinforce businesses and residents in the city’s downtown.

But city planning officials say the plan needs a refresh.

“You look at changes to the housing market, to downtown East Lansing, you look at what's happened since the pandemic, a lot of things have changed and it's worth taking a good look again,” said city planner Landon Bartley.

Officials are holding monthly meetings to shape the city’s comprehensive plan. Based on some preliminary community engagement the city did last year, social equity was a top priority for most East Lansing residents.

“That essentially means making sure that we're trying to even the playing field where it's been uneven and if we can address or even right historical wrongs, particularly for groups that have been underrepresented or vulnerable in planning processes,” said Bartley.

The planning process will focus on housing, climate change, sustainability and public health. The state-mandated document is used to guide public land distribution and future real-estate projects, but is not binding.

“For example, if a zone change requests doesn’t meet the designation of the comprehensive plan for future land use in an area, then the request needs to provide a good reason as to why it's going against the recommendations of the plan,” said Bartley.

The community engagement sessions will run through the fall. The next one is scheduled for Thursday, May 9 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church.

Officials are expected to finalize their comprehensive land use plan early next year.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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