South Lansing battles against a planned self-storage unit

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By Emma-Jean Bedford
Listen Up Lansing

LANSING — I oppose, I oppose, I oppose. These were the words that were firmly stated by many passionate south Lansing citizens at the Lansing City Council meeting on April 13.

But, why?

The vacant building at 930 W. Holmes Road is undergoing a rezoning debate within the community of south Lansing. Project developer Randy Yono is requesting to rezone this area in hopes of building an indoor self-storage unit.

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A vote is pending after the committee determines how much more information they need.

This area of south Lansing on Holmes is currently a commercial district, which means that the primary land use is for commercial activities, such as retail, restaurants, and offices.

However, Yono said he would like to implement a wholesale district instead, which would allow the use of warehouses and public garages.

“This individual is asking to bring in some heavier containers, obviously some trucks and traffic, to unload storage into this area, which is not what it was designed to do. There’s a reason for that because of its central location and what we were trying to create at that corner when the commercial properties came in,” Lansing City Council member A’Lynne Boles said.

“It’s not my first time going into areas where there is a business that has been sitting for years in a community. I don’t see why these people would not want something in that community,” Yono said.

Yono said he believes that the community of south Lansing would greatly benefit from a new self-storage unit.

“It would bring more tax dollars into the community and it would give people in the community a chance by creating more jobs,” Yono said.

South Lansing community member Elaine Womboldt has created a new group called Rejuvenating Lansing.

These residents are passionate about their home and strive to make positive changes by bringing people together to share information, network, and work on problems and solutions together.

The group attended the Lansing City Council meeting in full force.

Womboldt firmly expressed her opinions with courage and determination at the city council meeting. She created a poster that captured the visual change the community would experience if an indoor self-storage unit were built.

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“I went there and this is the image of the new-age self-storage business we would have in south Lansing. Now look at downtown Lansing. Do you believe the residents of south Lansing should accept this image? We are not second class citizens that will accept anything because it’s better than nothing,” Womboldt said.

“At this time, I am asking people present who also oppose this rezoning to stand up,” Womboldt said.

With the Council Chambers approximately 100 seats half-full, three-fourths of those in attendance stood up.

“I don’t know if they are thinking. When people hear storage units, they think about outdoor units in the parking lot. But, that is not what we are doing. We have enough space to do strictly indoor storage,” Yono said.

Boles said she also believes the rezoning would be an “absolutely awful situation for residents.”

“Putting a storage unit on that property will bring in individuals that are looking to store their items because they are between homes, because they are leaving the area, or because it’s summer for students… that kind of traffic is not the type of traffic you want to create,” Boles said.

Yono said he struggles struggled to understand what the community truly wants to see on the corner of Holmes Road and South Washington Avenue.

“They didn’t really give any direction to what they did want there. What do you want? An entertainment facility or a theatre won’t work there. It’s just going to get boarded up with all the other businesses in the area,” Yono said.

Claude Beavers said he has lived in Lansing for 46 years and that the implantation of a storage unit on this vacant lot “simply does not reflect what we hope that part of the city to be.”

“The history of storage units is not real good. It creates a lot of traffic that is questionable in terms of legal activity,” Beavers said.

Even after listening to the members of Rejuvenating Lansing in the city council meeting, Yono said he still believes that an indoor self-storage unit is the best solution.

“We want to make it a viable corner to bring business to the area,” Yono said.

Yono said he will be meeting with the members of Rejuvenating Lansing in efforts to help them understand what his true intentions are.

“We are going to let them know what our real plans are. Let them know why, whether it’s some sort of entertainment facility or theatre, won’t work there. At the end of the day, you want something that will go in there and stay there. Not something that will go in today and be gone tomorrow,” Yono said.

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