Decaying Bailey Neighborhood: We Are Your Neighbors

Decay and Neglect: Burcham at Collingwood, East Lansing, Michigan

Real Hazards: Biker traveling to MSU Campus

Over the last three weeks we have written 3 letters to city council and have received zero replies. We did receive an automated response of receipt from Vic Loomis after each email letter but nothing from the others. No calls from Triplett, Beard, Goddeeris, or Boyle.

The essence of the letter is that we and others observe and understand that council and commissions are being overly influenced by a small number of vocal residents of the Bailey neighborhood who have chosen to blame and brand landlords in general for the very real problems involving student and other misbehavior.

These vocal residents are misrepresenting the issue by attacking the right of landlords to make profits and denigrating landlords as a class of people. They have publicly expressed their wish to allow student housing to decay in their attempt to destroy the economic viability of the student housing market in their neighborhood. This is fiscally dangerous and irresponsible. They seem to desire to destroy the student rental market in the legal non-conforming housing zone and replace it with community run rentals where student behavior can be controlled and enforced. Who is going to pay for this? How are they going to enforce good student behavior? Are they talking about exchanging good behavior for good grades at MSU?

There is also a strong anti-student overtone, and this coming from MSU faculty and in a community dependent on students. They are looking for easy ways of blaming stereotypical landlords and students instead of working to solve the actual problems.

There are irresponsible landlords who fail to maintain their properties and fail to enforce their leases to deter nuisance behavior. But don't blame responsible landlords. Deal with the irresponsible ones. And don't deny the majority of students, who are well-behaved, affordable housing, because of misbehavior of a minority, by driving them into high-cost, taxpayer subsidized, newer rentals in preferred locations.

The very real problem of public urination, and other drunkenness related problems, is mostly due to drunks going to and from parties or returning to residences, especially larger apartment complexes, from bars. We need to address that problem through better law enforcement, not by trying to drive responsible small landlords out of business.

In our last email letter to council we made 3 suggestions as solutions for council to take regarding these political issues within the decaying Bailey neighborhood:

1. When complaints are made at public city committee meetings about public urination in the Bailey Neighborhood (it is a real problem), do not tolerate blaming landlords when they are not the ones at fault. This issue should be referred to the police department to address. No landlord bashing, please!

2. Change the city code either in word and definition, or by interpretations, or by administrative actions to allow landlords to improve their properties on the inside of their buildings (new bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, updates with plumbing and electrical fixtures, etc) without increasing occupancy. This action would improve student living conditions and make some properties more marketable to student needs for useful, safe and modern living conditions.

3. By separating out the above two issues from committee discussions, the planning department would be able to distance itself from the aggressive voice of a few people who do not want to understand the real issues and who are anti-student, anti-business, and anti-community cohesion. Real planning could then begin.

Actions speak louder than words. At this point in the count only Vic Loomis is pro-student housing improvements; while Triplett, Beard, Goddeeris, and Boyle seem to be collectively against improvements for MSU student housing in the Bailey Neighborhood. Real improvement for MSU student housing in East Lansing suffers and continues to be less than what it could be. Very sad.

The following images are an example of the results of doing nothing: decay! Decay in the Bailey Neighborhood will result in higher crime rates, higher taxes or misallocated taxes, lower property values, and more dangerous roads to traverse (by biking, walking, or driving). Decay (the mindset resulting from doing nothing) is not what a university city should be known for.

James Cuddeback
Editor: Public Response
Bailey neighborhood resident family since 1978

Decay and Neglect: Burcham at Collingwood, East Lansing, Michigan

Real Hazards: Biker traveling to MSU Campus

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