Development policies discussed at City Commission meetings

Mount Pleasant City Commissioner Lori Gillis thinks some developers are taking advantage of taxpayers. 

She spoke at a special session, prior to the Mount Pleasant City Commission's regular meeting, on Feb. 27 to discuss potential amendments to the city’s Brownfield development policies.

A brownfield is a property where development could be complicated by potentially harmful substances, such as pollutants or contaminants. The city provides special funding to developers that intend to develop these properties, due to the cost of removing hazardous material.

Originally, brownfield subsidies were provided only in cases involving environmental contamination. However, it has become common practice for subsidies to receive approval for blighted and outdated properties, Gillis said.

"Is that OK to take taxpayer money for projects that shouldn't even fit the definition of a brownfield?," she said. 

On Feb. 13, commissioners passed a moratorium on brownfield developments until April 1. The moratorium was sparked due to concerns about an approved development at 1040 E. Broomfield Street.

The commission came to a consensus that brownfield developments should be specified as only a project that involves environmental concerns. Commissioners were open to reimbursing demolition projects as long as new development raised an appropriate amount of revenue for the city.

“I think the brownfield should be just that — for the brownfield,” said Commissioner Jim Holton. “I would like to get to the core of what a brownfield does, which is to remove contamination such as lead and the sort.”

Other items on the agenda included:

  • Water Supervisor Malcolm Fox received the Raymond J. Faust award from the American Water Works Association, which recognizes Outstanding Personal Service in the Water Supply Field.
  • A 90-day temporary traffic control policy to place a “No Parking Here to Corner” sign on the east side of Lansing Street, 20’ north of the crosswalk at Michigan Street went into effect.
  • Commissioners approved an amendment to the Consumers Energy Standard Lighting contract to install LED lights at 8 city crosswalks. The improvements were requested by Sacred Heart Academy following an accident at the intersection of Lansing and Michigan streets. The commission allocated $18,862 for the project.
  • The commission approved bids and quotations on the following city project
    • A contract of $200,000 to Insituform Technologies USA, Inc. to complete necessary sewer relining.
    • A contract of $19,843 to Bay Landscaping to purchase 210 trees of various types. 
    • A contract of $40,275 to Wolverine Sealcoating and Asphalt for sealing cracks in city streets.
    • A contract of $17,750 to Fisher Transportation Company for street repairs.
  • The commission set a special meeting to occur on May 15 for a work session.
  • Commissioners went into a work session to discuss potential penalties for property owners who fail to obtain a rental license.
  • The commission went into closed session “for material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute."