This has been problem in the Niowave situation since they failed to complete the agreed-upon work to mitigate the effects of having a manufacturing facility in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The city approved the tax abatement for Niowave with the understanding they would complete changes to their facade and landscaping as negotiated with the Walnut Neighborhood Organizations.
That bill has been assigned to the tax committee. The chair of that committee, Representative Farrington, will decide if the bill will move to the floor for a vote.
This is a communication (dated 5/13/2015) from Walnut Neighborhood resident, Mary Elaine Keiner, who has been actively working on this Niowave issue with other members of the Organization. She asked that this information be shared with other neighborhoods who have been concerned about this situation, its impact on their neighborhood, and potential impact on all of our neighborhoods.
I am writing in reference to House Bill 4580 that Andy Schor introduced this week to allow local governments the right to revoke PA 328 personal property tax exemptions and which was referred to your committee on May 12. I bring three related perspectives to this ever-broadening issue:
1) It's a personal issue. My stately century-old home--where I have lived for over 25 years--sits less than 100 feet from a 14,000 square foot, 3 story-high industrial "pole barn" that was constructed in 2012 (without any notice to its neighbors) in the midst of our downtown residential neighborhood. With the ongoing support of Lansing's City Council and economic development leaders (LEAP and LEDC), a written agreement was finally reached in September 2013 between the neighbors, the company and the city to "fix the facade" as part of the City's approval of the company's PA 328 tax exemption request. Unfortunately, the company in question did not choose to fully honor their commitment. Yet, the company still expects to receive its originally requested exemption.
2) It's a community-wide issue. As neighbors reached out to other neighborhoods throughout the city, we successfully gained the unprecedented support of over a dozen neighborhood organizations in our efforts to "fix the ordinance". As a result of the subsequent change to Lansing's Special Land Use ordinance, no other neighborhood will risk a similar experience in the future.
3) It's now become a statewide issue. Speaking as one business owner to another, like you, I support business development and entrepreneurship within a strong culture of job creation. Yet, business is but one "leg of a three-legged 'thriving-community' stool", and can only be as viable as its other two legs - municipal government and its citizens/neighbors. Just as a government and its citizens can be held accountable for their commitments and actions, so too must businesses.
Unfortunately, the ability of Lansing City Council (and all other municipalities throughout Michigan) to successfully revoke a company's exemption (when warranted) now appears to be in jeopardy because of the PA 328 law's apparent "silence on the issue of revocation". With the introduction of Representative Schor's bill, I now envision neighbors in one city reaching out to help protect neighbors in other cities - and so, am reaching out to you, requesting your assistance in helping us to "fix the statute". I therefore request that you encourage full consideration of this bill within the Tax Policy Committee and help support its full passage through the House. I look forward to working together on this issue--and will be intently following its progress. Please feel free to contact me by email (me@askmehouse), phone (517-484-3127) or text (517-204-8970). Thank you for your attention to this matter.
We will continue to share updates and work with Walnut Neighborhood, Representative Schor, and all the other concerned neighborhoods on this matter