Eastwood Development Stalled by City of Lansing

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

The plans are two years in the making--expansion of Sam's Way west from Eastwood Towne Center to open up the area west of the busy mall to new stores, homes, and perhaps offices too.

"In order to get that kind of development, we need to have the infrastructure in place," Lansing Township planning director Steve Hayward says.

The $7 million road project hinged on approval from the city of Lansing, which controls the wastewater plants in the area.

"The only thing we need from them is to honor the sanitary sewer agreement," Hayward explained.

The letter received Monday from the city of Lansing says the city's sewer system is too strained to allow it.

"When we discuss this with the engineers, they believe there is capacity. When we hear from the politicians, we hear a different message," Hayward says.

As proof, Hayward points to several emails including one from Lansing's city engineer, indicating "my recollection is that capacity is not an issue."

Lansing's mayor Virg Bernero backs the newer findings of the city engineer, but says that's not the issue.

"There are legitimate issues related to the particulars, but the much bigger issue that I'm concerned about as mayor is regional planning and regional cooperation," Bernero says.

Lansing Township says he's not supporting regional cooperation with this sewer decision, but he accuses the township of hurting regionalization with plans for expansion of Eastwood.

"What Lansing Township does effects us, and what we do effects Lansing Township and we need to have a dialogue," he says. He admits certain kinds of development at Eastwood would threaten development at downtown. He says it should only happen in cooperation with the city.

Hayward disagrees, "A rising tide lifts all ships," he says of development plans.

He says there will be major announcements about expansion at Eastwood within the next six months. He says they could ask East Lansing for sewer service if necessary.

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