Is It Too Early To Talk About Moratorium? | Lansing
Lansing City Council held a special session on March 3 to discuss the feasibility and legality of implementing a moratorium on development in the city after the public recently raised concerns about the proposals made by Mirabito, Dandy and Dollar General Had submitted to the planning authority.
Prosecutor Guy Krogh was both present last Wednesday and gave his opinion on the possibility of a moratorium. Krogh said that municipalities in general tend to impose a one-year moratorium, although that depends on the breadth of the moratorium theme, and even then, there is a chance it will either end a year ago or be long gone.
To prevent legal action, Krogh said it was important for the city to thoroughly record its actions to justify the need for the moratorium.
“There is this balancing test and unfortunately it is not possible to predict how it would develop in the event of a dispute, as property rights win if there is any doubt,” said Krogh. “What the city should do is articulate very clearly what it is doing, why it is doing it, and documenting how it is making consistent and steady progress.”
For example, the city could commemorate certain historical events, such as the update of the comprehensive plan and a record of the new regulations that have been passed. It would also be beneficial for the city to have no time gaps and undue delays.
Krogh said it was also important that a moratorium not “affect” the acquisition of property rights, as this would lead to a possible violation of the fifth amendment to the US Constitution. Examples of this would be “reverse conviction,” where a government takes over private property and does not pay the compensation required under the fifth amendment. Another example would be unconstitutional “demands” that are conditions for the development of a particular property and that oblige developers to prevent potential damage to the development.
The discussion eventually shifted to how council members should handle speaking to community members about certain developments. The council received numerous emails from local residents expressing concern about the recent development proposals, prompting the council to hold the special session
City Overseer Edward LaVignead has asked the rest of the council not to respond to such reactions and to avoid occasional discussions with constituents outside of city assemblies.
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“In general, when people come to you with concerns and try to stand up for you, I think the answer should be, ‘I don’t want to talk about it now. You have to take it to the city council so we can all look at this objectively, and leave it at that, ”LaVigne said. “I don’t know if people pulled someone aside and pounded on them or whatever, but we are gathering information here … but a pattern develops here – if we get enough dollars and if we send enough letters before it comes to them Look at this objectively and have these discussions in front of us with all the information first so that we may have already made our decisions. “
Councilor Joseph Wetmore disagreed with the proposal.
“I think part of our job as elected officials is to listen to your voters, and I think if a voter comes up to me and wants to talk about something that is perfectly valid for me to listen to,” Wetmore said. “I also think part of my job is to explain to citizens how things work – what is in a comprehensive plan, how a comprehensive plan works, and how to move forward. If someone comes up to me and says, “Is this a permitted use in this zone?”, I think it makes sense to look up the zone map and the ZBA and say, “I can see that.” This is what it looks like to me as opposed to having CJ or someone doing it instead because I can go through a lot of the simple things. There are certainly points where it is a matter of judgment. I think it is my responsibility as a representative to answer questions and help people with the process. “
LaVigne countered that the nature of the action was fine, but council members should also encourage these individuals to appear before the board so the other council members can hear what they have to say.
Councilor Bronwyn Losey said she proposed holding this meeting so that the city council can share the process of setting up a moratorium and the city council’s powers and restrictions with the public.
LaVigne said that while this is certainly a good reason to hold a meeting, he questioned whether a meeting should have been held at all on the matter, as the council has not yet seen what was proposed by Mirabito, Dandy and Dollar General.
“My group … [was] Does this have to be a special meeting or could this wait two weeks? “, he said. “The perception is… looks like this is reactionary. Once again, these people who sent the letters, it would have been nice if they had come to the planning board or another board, because now we have concerns about moratorium. “