Grove and Burcham’s rezoning was denied. That may not be the end of this dispute

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East Lansing City Council denied Hagan Realty’s rezoning plan for properties on the 700 block of Grove Street in September 2023. The proposal would have changed the neighborhood structure since it would increase the density of the housing options. Hagan reality was “disappointed by the result,” but they aren’t giving up new projects for that area.

“Having a project that is actually on paper and not just a hypothetical will certainly go a long way, so they know what they would be approving if they decide to approve it,” said agent Matt Hagen, who represents the company. “We initially proposed a kind of blank slate rezoning. Hopefully, a more specific rezoning request with an actual project and a targeted proposal will make a difference in being approved next time.”

The proposed rezoning was intended to provide housing that attends to the needs of people who desire to live within walking distance of shopping, dining, and entertainment facilities near the city center. The living units would change from an R-2 zoning designation to RM-32. That means a change from “medium density single-family residences” to “city center multiple-family residences.”

What’s next?

Matt Hagan spoke to the Spartan Newsroom about the company’s plan in that area. “Well, our original request was for all the parcels on that side of the block,” said Hagen. “Now we are going to go back and look at the possibility of just getting our three parcels that were interested in redeveloping, rezoned.”

The City Council meeting

In September, residents who spoke in public comment opposed the idea of rezoning.

“It may not be the most earth-shattering problem to you; it might just be marking a color on the map or for one little block section, but not to the residents that live here,” said Tim Mrozowski, who lives in the neighborhood. “We think the rezoning will have a negative impact on our neighborhood and that RM-32 moving is very inappropriate.”

Residents believe this rezoning project would also affect their daily lives and surroundings.

“That walk to the library is critical, and meeting up with other children in your neighborhood is how you form your community. My house is everything, and I want our community to stay community-orientated”, said Lili Spirit, Ridge Street resident.

Audio: Hagen Reality wants to clarify things with the community after listening to the meeting and hearing their frustrations.

Source: East Lansing City Council agenda – This map attached shows the properties involved in the original rezoning process.

Council thoughts about the proposal:

“I’m feeling nostalgic about this plan, just because this is one of the reasons I ran for city council, which was to move our masterplan future use categories in the permanent zoning., said Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg, one of the members that voted “yes” for the proposal.  “I had the opportunity to walk that block this weekend. There are already some apartment complexes over there, and we do have to acknowledge that we live in a college town and accommodate the population that comes with it. Also, not only students live in apartment buildings. Apartment dwellers don’t mean bad neighbors.”

The information in the master plan states there are more single-family properties, and the master plan was created in 2020.[LR1] 

“This block is not realistically single family, and it hasn’t been for some years, said city council member George Brookover,” one of the opposition voters. “The presence of the fraternity and sorority houses on this street is practical evidence. One of the problems with this application is that it has not been perfected to this block. Consequently, the neighbors across Burchum, the planning commission, the applicant, and the council are doing mental gymnastics to fit the current zoning code.”

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