Fearing the city will use eminent domain to acquire student rental properties needed to build a parking garage, an East Lansing resident plans to urge the city to adopt a resolution prohibiting the use of eminent domain.
East Lansing resident Phil Bellfy plans to ask the council to adopt his resolution, which he said “would put the city on record as opposing the use of eminent domain in all private development projects.”
The parking garage, which the city wants to build on Evergreen Avenue, is part of the City Center II project. The project involves the area bordered by Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road and is planned to feature office and retail space along with high-end townhouses and apartments.
“We want them to know the people of East Lansing are concerned about the use of eminent domain,” said Bellfy, an associate professor of writing, rhetoric and American culture at MSU. “If they can get away with this, they can get away with anything.”
East Lansing Mayor Vic Loomis said it isn’t normal practice for the council to accept resolutions from the public, but he has chosen to allow the resolution to be introduced.
Loomis said the city is working to negotiate the sale of the properties.
“I believe that every project of merit can be successfully negotiated,” Loomis said. “If people are unreasonable, then that poses a different question.”