By Tom Travis
City Council considered an ordinance at the Monday, Feb 22 council meeting that would waive an assessment fee for property owners with lots adjacent to a Land Bank brownfield property.
City of Flint Assessor, Stacey Kaake (pronounced cake) was on the line and explained that property owners can contact the Assessor’s office at 810-766-7255 to obtain the waiver form by May 1, 2021, once the council approves the resolution.
Genesee County Land Bank Executive Director Michael Freeman also calling in online, explained that a Land Bank property designated brownfield is “a property that becomes functionally obsolete through environmental conditions or other conditions that render Land Bank properties obsolete.”
The Genesee County Land Bank website further explains that the Land Bank and the Genesee County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (GCBRA), together ” have secured millions of dollars in Brownfield funds to eliminate blight and improve abandoned and tax foreclosed properties in Genesee County.
“Demolishing blighted structures and cleaning up Brownfield sites helps to restore value to urban land and speed up the process of returning tax foreclosed, contaminated and abandoned properties to productive use,” according to the website.
Public hearing set for James P. Cole brownfield – March 8, at 5:30 p.m.
The fee waiver discussion was followed by of two more brownfield-related issues on Monday’s agenda. The first was to set a public hearing concerning a brownfield property at a James P. Cole project and a second was a special order to discuss the issue of combining lots where a property owner may own a lot adjacent to a landbank designated brownfield property.
The public hearing on the James P. Cole project is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the March 8 council meeting. According to a project description document obtained by EVM that was prepared by Associated Environmental Services, LLC (Project No. 2019041501.01R) the James P. Cole project is described as
“A proposed Project comprised of a multi-tenant multi-building industrial park. The site includes approximately 110,578 square feet of existing building which will undergo renovations. A portion of the property will be demolished to make room for an additional 190,700 square feet of proposed new construction buildings. The proposed project sits on 17.99 acres of improved commercial and industrial land.
“The project is undergoing site plan and zoning review by the City of Flint Engineering Department and Planning & Development Departments, and is therefore subject to change as part of the approval processes.”
Combining lots with a brownfield
The second matter to be addressed by the council will be to consider the issue of combining lots that is a lot already owned by a property owner that is adjacent to a landbank brownfield designated property. If a property is sold within a brownfield plan the purchaser is notified and the limitations are provided to the purchaser. That practice began in 2005 moving forward, Freeman explained. There are no properties sold without the purchaser being made aware that the property is in a brownfield plan.
Council breaks down into a brouhaha again and removes President Kate Fields
In Monday’s council meeting there were periods, some beyond 30 and 45 minutes, of breakdown in decorum while heated discussions, arguments and interruptions ensued. During one back and forth the council voted to remove Council President Kate Fields (4th Ward) because some believed she ignored Eric Mays’ (1st Ward) point of order.
According to council rules the chair of a meeting can be removed from a meeting if the chair ignores a point of order from a council member. Mays accused Fields of ignoring his point of order in a discussion between Mays and Mayor Sheldon Neeley. Neeley had suddenly appeared on the call and voiced his presence.
Mays has called for the mayor to be present at numerous council meetings to question him on a number of topics. Mays seized the moment to question the mayor and that is when his point of order took place that he said he believes Fields ignored.
After Fields chose to remove herself from the meeting Mays attempted to have the council consider having Fields reenter the meeting. Mays put a motion forward for the council to have Fields allowed back into the meeting. However none of the remaining six council members seconded the motion to return Fields to the meeting so the motion died.
Fields remained out of the meeting for the rest of it. Councilperson Eva Worthing (9th Ward) was absent from the meeting.
Council takes a moment of silence for 500,000 Americans that had died from COVID-19
In a more somber and touching moment, Freeman explained he is recovering from COVID-19 and spoke of a meeting he had attended earlier in the evening which observed a moment of silence to honor the 500,000 deaths in the country from COVID-19 that had been announced that day. Mays suggested that the Council take a moment of silence to honor the 500,000 as well.
Managing Editor Tom Travis, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.