EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — More than 20 East Lansing businesses, including the Peanut Barrel and Wild Goose Inn, and more than 200 people have signed a petition to stop a proposal that would turn the Bailey Street parking lot into a low-income workforce housing unit, a local coalition said in a statement this week.
Citizens to Protect East Lansing Access (CPELA) is urging residents to attend the Aug. 9 East Lansing Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m., at the Hannah Center at 819 Abbott Road., to discuss and debate the proposed project.
Several business owners and community members say the 530 Albert Avenue proposal would not add or replace parking space that is critical to the success of downtown East Lansing businesses.
“This project will dramatically impact their customers, who rely on the close parking this long-time lot provides. Access to parking is critical to the success of businesses in the 500 block of Grand River and nearby,” said Jeffrey Hank, legal counsel for CPELA.
The development is proposed on four parcels of land that the City of East Lansing currently leases and uses as part of the Bailey Parking Lot, according to the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority.
The coalition against the development is made of East Lansing businesses and residents who support full access for visitors to the downtown business district, as well as transparency in decisions made by the city, community input and robust discussion regarding downtown East Lansing’s future development.
“What we are looking for in a downtown development is something that will provide East Lansing residents and visitors more reasons to come downtown; another place to enjoy a meal, shop, or connect with friends,” said Al Bay of the Wild Goose Inn. “This proposal does just the opposite. It only makes it more difficult to visit and will result in a decrease in the number of visitors to our downtown.”
The coalition also argues that the Albert Avenue development, as proposed, would occupy the last available retail space downtown without adding new business and that it would create barriers to the handicapped and elderly.