FarmHouse fraternity addition vote on hold

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By Nick VanderWall
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

EAST LANSING — The City Council on Jan. 15 voted to table the FarmHouse fraternity addition for 90 days.

Ike Sheppard, chairman of the construction committee and alum of FarmHouse at 151 Bogue Street, said the fraternity would like to add approximately 6,000 square feet, making the house U shaped.

The addition would include three levels. The lower level would meet up with the existing lower level and dining room. The lower level would also include president’s and vice-president’s office, a secretary’s office and a board committee meeting room. Also, the first two levels have a wheelchair-accessible entry, so the fraternity can have disabled brothers, he said.

The second level of the addition would meet up with the living room. Also, the second and third floors would have additional study rooms.

The addition isn’t currently in compliance with the East Village zoning district. The lower level would have about 25 percent retail space just to try to meet the city’s requirements, he said.

“The main purpose for the retail space is trying to meet the city’s requirements as best we can. We’re not fighting with the city, but we’re trying to accommodate the city requirements and yet build an addition that we can call a fraternity house, not a condominium high-rise,” Sheppard said.

Darcy Schmitt, the planning and zoning administrator for East Lansing, said, that FarmHouse would have to meet code to be able to add an addition to the existing property.

“They submitted a development plan that worked hard at meeting as many of the East village code requirements as possible, but still meet there need as a fraternity,” she said.

The city is currently amending the East Village code, so that it would be easier for FarmHouse to amend its, Schmitt said.

FarmHouse has made improvements to try to bring the property up to code. It has replacing the roof, which included repairs to the heavy timber decking; a new boiler along with circulating pump; waterproofing the dining room and bathrooms, and replacing all the vinyl tile throughout the house, he said.

The amendment will go before the planning commission on Feb. 22. It will decide whether “to amend the current code that regulates that property,” she said.

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