By Kelly Cullen
Entirely East Lansing
East Lansing Zoning Board of Appeals met on April 1 for a public hearing to consider a variance request from David E. Pierson, McClelland & Anderson, LLP, for The Oaks Apartments at 136 Reniger Court.
“The Oaks” apartment building is in the B-2, Retail Sales Business District. Pierson requested permission for a new opening in an interior load-bearing wall and door for an interior entryway to the main office.
“According to the City Code a structure with a nonconforming use may not be structurally altered as defined by section 50-9,” according to Department of Planning Building & Development staff report. “This section defines structural alteration as ‘any change in the supporting members of a building, such as bearing walls, columns, beams, or girders, or any substantial changes in the roof or exterior walls.’”
Pierson said that the variance would allow for additional visibility, light, and air inside the building that will aid to the public.
MSU Senior Shannon Wen said it has been extremely convenient and comfortable living in The Oaks Apartments this past year.
“It seems appealing to me to update The Oaks,” said Wen. “This would make the apartments not only more visible to the public, but also an attractive addition.”
The Oaks were built in 1987 and provide housing and parking for 186 students. The building has been very well kept up over the past 30 years, said Darcy Schmitt, Zoning Board of Appeals liaison of the City’s Planning & Community Development Department said.
“It’s a beautiful building, it certainly doesn’t look like it was built 30 years ago, said Schmitt. “It’s kept up really well, and is beautifully landscaped.”
Out of the seven citizen-volunteers that are appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals by City Council, a majority but agree to grant the suggested variance.
The request made by the Board for the variance requesting a new opening in The Oaks Apartment was approved.
“I’m very pleased with the final decision,” said Pierson. “It was the exact outcome I was hoping for.”