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When placing a Simple Recycling bag at the curb, the clearance rule does not apply. The bags can be placed right next to your new recycling cart. Please refrain from placing the bags on top of the recycling cart.
*It should be noted that some condominium and neighborhood associations may have additional regulations.
The City is not able to accommodate the collection of overflow recyclables in the old recycling bins now that the cart system is in place. All recyclable items will need to be placed inside the cart for collection at the curb. In the event of overflow items, the City does offer a year-round drop-off recycling site at 1800 E. State Road.
The carts were initially provided at no cost to residents in fall 2015 and came with a 10-year warranty. After 10 years, if a replacement cart is needed due to wear and tear, it will cost $55 for a 96-gallon cart, $50 for a 64-gallon cart and $45 for a 32-gallon cart. The replacement carts will also come with a 10-year warranty. It's important to note that if a qualifying resident requested a smaller cart in fall 2015 and decide at a later date that the larger cart size is needed, the 96-gallon cart will cost the resident $50.
If you still have questions about the City's curbside recycling program, please contact the East Lansing Department of Public Works at (517) 337-9459.
The taxable value of a property is determined by the Assessor's Office. Under Proposal A, which was approved by voters in 1994, taxable value cannot increase faster than 5% per year or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, until the property transfers ownership. In the year following a transfer of ownership of property, the property's taxable value is half of the property's market value. Physical changes to a property (i.e., new construction) can also result in a property's taxable value increasing faster than the rate of inflation.
The City collects property taxes in the summer (July 1) and winter (December 1). The taxes are collected for the operation of the City itself, as well as East Lansing School District, Lansing School District, Haslett School District, Bath School District, Ingham Intermediate School District, Clinton County Regional Education Service Agency, Lansing Community College, Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA), Capital Region Airport Authority, Ingham County, Clinton County and the State of Michigan (State Education Tax).
The City millage rate is established by City Council with limitations established by the City Charter. The boards of the other jurisdictions establish their own millage rate. Each year the millage rate changes depending on the taxing authority’s budget needs. See the current Tax Rates.
The worst case scenario would be that the taxable value was set at 50% of the market value, or $100,000 for a $200,000 home. Using the PRE (i.e., principal residence exemption or homestead) millage rate for the East Lansing school district for 2022, taxes would have been $5,553.04. The calculation formula is: Taxable Value x Millage Rate x 1.01 (1% administration fee) = TAXES or $100,000 x 0.0549806 x 1.01 = $5,553.04.
A Principal Residence Exemption allows for up to 18 mills of local school operating taxes to be exempted from taxation. Using the above example, in 2022 a non-homestead property would have been billed $7,298.06 in taxes without administration fee. The millage rate would have been 72.9806 mills (0.0729806).
It depends on what the question is. If the question is about how value is determined, principal residence exemptions or ownership, call the Assessor's Office at (517) 319-6880. If it is a question about the tax amount and if it has been paid, call the Treasurer's Office at (517) 319-6826.
Prior to any election in which the voter is eligible to vote, the East Lansing City Clerk’s Office will mail you an application for an absent voter ballot. The applications are available 75 days prior to each election. The application must be filled out and returned to the City Clerk’s Office before an absent voter ballot can be issued. The application cannot be processed without the voter’s signature.
The voter will be sent an application with either one or two upcoming election dates printed at the top of the application. Voters are asked to check the box(es) that apply to each election they would like to receive an absent voter ballot. Voters are also asked to complete the voter information section. If a voter needs their absent voter ballot sent to an address other than their current East Lansing residence, they are asked to make sure to provide that address on the application where requested. After signing and dating the completed application, it should be returned to the East Lansing City Clerk’s Office.
If a voter changes their voter registration to another jurisdiction within Michigan, the new clerk will be able to see their status through the Michigan Qualified Voter File. If that clerk does not maintain an automatic application list, they must notify the voter that this service is not offered in that jurisdiction and the voter will need to request an application prior to every election.
The absent voter ballot will be mailed to the voter within 24 hours, once the absent voter application has been received. This includes receipt of the voter's signature. The ballots are received in the City Clerk’s Office approximately 45 days prior to the election. Voters are then able to vote the ballot at their leisure. When completed, voters may mail or hand deliver the ballot to the East Lansing City Clerk’s Office. All ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Those who are on the automatic application list are still able to vote in person at the precincts. They can simply disregard the absentee ballot application and go to their precinct to vote on Election Day.
Voters can track the status of their absent voter ballot online by visiting Michigan.gov/vote.
Payments may be rejected by your financial institution due to insufficient funds, closed / unauthorized accounts or for other reasons. If this occurs, the City will apply a $35 fee to your tax bill. In addition, all applicable penalties and interest will be applied if your tax bill is not paid by the due date. In the event of a returned payment, electronic resubmission is not available.
Please notify the City of East Lansing’s Treasury Department of a change in banking information by resubmitting an enrollment form with your updated information, including the date the change is effective. Please allow 14 days for processing. If an automatic payment fails because the City was not informed of a bank account change, a $35 fee will be applied to your tax bill.
There are a number of bike parking option in the downtown.
Eligible citizens may become registered to vote in a variety of ways, at any time through Election Day. Individuals who register to vote within the 14-day period immediately preceding an election must appear in person at their city or township clerk’s office and provide proof of residency. To get started, fill out the Voter Registration Application (PDF).
Individuals who register to vote within the 14-day period immediately preceding an election must appear in person at their city or township clerk’s office and provide proof of residency.
Individuals using any other method must register to vote at least 15 days before Election Day and are not required to provide proof of residency. Other methods of registration include an application obtained at one of the following locations:
Yes. To register by mail, complete the Voter Registration Application (PDF) and mail it to your local clerk.
No. Registration in Michigan is permanent as long as you reside at the same address. However, whenever you move to a new city or township, you must re-register to vote.
You can check online or call the City Clerk’s office at (517) 319-6914.
Yes. If the residence address you provide on the Voter Registration Application differs from the address on your Michigan driver license or personal identification card, the Secretary of State will automatically change your driver license or personal identification card address to match the residence address entered on the Voter Registration Application.
If an address change is made, the Secretary of State will mail you an address update sticker for your driver license or personal identification card.
Yes. If you now reside in Michigan, you may register to vote within the jurisdiction where you currently live.
Yes. Every Michigan voter who offers to vote at the polls must show picture identification or sign an affidavit attesting that they are not in possession of picture identification. A ballot cannot be issued to a voter unless the voter displays picture identification or signs the affidavit.
Please note that the Lansing Board of Water & Light maintains streets lights throughout the City of East Lansing. To report any outages or problems, please call BWL at (877) 295-5001 or visit www.lbwl.com/streetlights.
The City works with local organizations to promote upcoming events by placing banners in one of two highly visible locations. A $50 fee will be applied for each banner installation. Banners can be displayed for a maximum of two weeks (consecutive or non-consecutive), space permitting. Any recognized charitable organization that has a current license from the Michigan Attorney General under Public Act No. 169 of 1975 and City-sponsored events will be exempt from the $50 charge. Learn more.
No, however, the incident must have occurred within the city’s boundaries in order to be brought to the Human Rights Commission.
Contact the Human Rights Commission. The city protects you from discrimination based on both your national origin and your religion.
No, as a land-grant institution, MSU has its own agencies to protect your rights. The Human Rights Commission will refer you to the appropriate service if you need their assistance.
Want to gain experience and/or school credit by serving the cause of civil and human rights in your community? The commission has nine members and all must reside within the city’s boundaries or on MSU’s campus. Commissioners are appointed by City Council for three-year terms.
Applications are available online or at East Lansing City Hall, 410 Abbot Road.
Federal, State, Local and tribal governmentsChurch and civil organizationsFarmers and custom harvestersApiarian IndustriesFor-hire and private companies
A service brake systemA parking brake systemAn emergency brake system
Interstate transportation: Surge brakes are allowed on any trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 12,000 lbs. or less, when its GVWR does not exceed 1.75 times the GVWR of the towing vehicle; or any trailer with a GVWR of more than 12,000 lbs. but less than 20,001 lbs. when its GVWR does not exceed 1.25 times the GVWR of the towing vehicle. See section 393.48 of the FMCSR.Intrastate transportation: Surge brakes are allowed on any trailer when the combination has a GVWR of not more than 26,000 lbs. AND the actual Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or GVWR of the trailer is 15,000 lbs. or less. Vehicles of any size that are transporting hazardous materials in an amount that requires placarding or vehicles that are designed to transport more than 8 passengers, including the driver, are prohibited from being equipped with surge brakes in intrastate commerce.
Over almost a decade, the City of East Lansing (City) has been engaging with residents, researching best practices, talking with other communities and partnering with experts in the field concerning deer management and deer populations in the City. In addition to holding Community Deer Management meetings for resident education and input, the City has surveyed residents, partnered with several agencies (MSU, MDNR and USDA Wildlife Services), tracked deer-vehicle accidents in the City, passed a deer feeding ban, tracked estimated population volumes, tracked incidents of disease (including Lyme disease and Chronic Wasting disease) and maintained a Deer Management webpage that provides residents with education, history and an opportunity to provide feedback.
After many years of consideration, the East Lansing City Councilmembers serving in early 2020 weighed public input and ultimately acted at their February 11, 2020 City Council meeting to reduce the deer population in the City by professional, lethal removal. This professional, safe and highly managed removal of a portion of the deer population is conducted in designated park areas to address deer overpopulation in the East Lansing community, which has resulted in vehicle/deer accidents, public health concerns, damage to landscaping and a disruption to the ecological balance of natural areas. While vehicle/deer accidents have trended down slightly over the past two years in East Lansing, Michigan is the second leading state for vehicle/deer accidents in the United States and statewide vehicle/deer accidents are trending up. In East Lansing, there have been an average of 24 vehicle/deer accidents per year over the past three years.
A first round of deer removal took place in East Lansing in winter 2021, with a second round of deer removal taking place in winter 2022 and a third round planned for winter 2023. For more detailed history, education and resident resources, visit https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/231/Deer-Management.
In the winter of 2021 and 2022, the City entered into a Cooperative Services Agreement with USDA Wildlife Services over to conduct professional deer removal operations in East Lansing's parks. USDA Wildlife Services biologists highly trained in the use of firearms removed a total of 144 deer over the two winters from a variety of City parks during intermittent weekday evening/night closures. Parks were closed during the operations and the firearms used had noise suppression, but residents near parks were advised that they may still hear shots.
All venison from the removal operations is donated to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. With an average of 30 pounds of venison recovered per deer removed, this venison donation is of great use to community members served by the food bank. The City is pleased to be able to offer this relief to local families. The processing of the venison has been generously donated by nonprofit Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger (MSAH): https://www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org/. Community members can learn more about MSAH here.
Signs are pre-posted at all affected parks notifying the community of the closures and, during the work, barricades and large closure signs were in place at all known entrances to the parks, including main entries, footpaths, parking lots, trailheads and cut throughs. Letters are also sent out to residents with properties that border affected parks notifying them of the work. This MDNR-permitted activity is conducted in a controlled environment via professionals using professional tools. There is simply nothing more important than safety and there is no pressure on these professionals to try to remove more deer than can be safely removed. The biologists have spent significant time in East Lansing’s parks, noting the patterns of usage and determining the safest areas for removal. It is important to note that, if people are in the park, USDA staff would not proceed with any removal if safety has been compromised. USDA Wildlife Services – Michigan has conducted these removal operations in several communities and have never had a safety incident during deer removal operations, meaning no people or pets have been harmed during a deer removal.
The Michigan law pertains to hunting; however, the USDA Wildlife Services biologists performing this deer removal are not hunting. The City has made a purposeful decision in hiring professionals instead of hunters to remove deer, and that decision was made to ensure safety and to ensure that the removal could be conducted in as few evenings as possible, with as little disruption to the community as possible. This was also the method of removal cited by residents in surveys as preferable.
Yes. Meridian Township, East Lansing’s neighboring community, runs a managed hunt to reduce their deer population. Other communities, such as Ann Arbor, Tecumseh, Mt. Pleasant, Jackson, Big Rapids and Freemont, have taken the approach of professional removal via firearms, similar to East Lansing.
Just as the decision to remove deer in winter 2021 and 2022 took many years of community input, research and thoughtful consideration, post-removal input has been and will continue to be collected and considered. The City intends to measure the outcomes of this removal by continuing to survey residents and continuing to monitor deer herds and deer-vehicle accidents so that future decisions can be made. It would not be unusual, based on the experience of other communities, for the City to need to continue to address deer overpopulation in future years.
An income tax is a tax levied by a government directly on a percentage of income; it’s typically an annual tax on personal and business income. For a city income tax, the percentage is established at 1% for residents and .5% for non-residents. See Question #5 under the FAQs for Individuals for income that is exempt from the tax.
In addition to East Lansing, 23 other Michigan communities have an income tax. The communities with a standard 1% income tax for residents include: Albion, Battle Creek, Big Rapids, Flint, Grayling, Hamtramck, Hudson, Ionia, Jackson, Lansing, Lapeer, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, Port Huron, Portland, Springfield, Walker and Benton Harbor. The communities that tax at a higher rate as permitted by statute include: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Highland Park and Saginaw. East Lansing's tax will never exceed 1%.
Yes. With the approval of the income tax proposal, the City Charter amendment approved by voters in November 2017 will go into effect, reducing the City's operating millage by 5 mills. Property owners will see this reduction on their July 2019 tax bills. This reduction in property taxes will lessen the impact of the income tax on property owners and, in some cases (i.e. retirees whose pension and social security income is exempt from the tax), the overall amount of taxes paid may actually decrease.
Property taxes will not increase without a vote of the people in years in which an income tax is imposed. The City Charter caps property taxes at 13 mills (20 mills prior to the income tax) in years in which an income tax is imposed. Any future increase above 13 mills in years in which an income tax is imposed would require another Charter Amendment, which would require another vote of the people.
If you are a resident of East Lansing who owns your own home, it will depend on your household income and the taxable value of your home. Your taxable income will be taxed at 1% and your total property taxes will decrease by about 10%. *Note that retirement income is not taxable locally, so seniors on fixed incomes who own their homes will, in many cases, see a reduction in their total taxes. Residents with specific questions about how the income tax and property tax reduction will impact them may want to consider consulting with a local tax office/professional. A Taxpayer Impact Calculator For Residents is also available (for estimation purposes only).
According to Plante Moran’s Income Tax Study, the income tax is expected to produce approximately $10 million, but with an estimated $5 million less in property taxes as a result of the property tax reduction, the total net revenue is estimated to be $5 million annually to be used for the dedicated purposes outlined in the ballot language. The income tax will help the City to maintain its core services, make supplemental pension payments (the City is legally obligated to make these payments for retired City employees) and reinvest in City infrastructure and public safety.
The income tax will be implemented on January 1, 2019 and the property tax reduction will be seen on July 2019 tax bills.
Income tax information is confidential except where a court orders the release of information. It will be no different than Federal or State tax information. All filings are confidential per MCL 141.674.
Councilmembers will not have access to this information. The City has hired a third party contractor to administer the tax. This contractor will receive the income tax information and complete the auditing of all returns. The City will have an income tax administrator on staff with access to the income tax software, but he/she will be held to the confidentiality rules noted above. No City employee or department will be provide the information for any purpose other than administration of the income tax.
425 agreements will not generally be impacted by the income tax. The agreements all contemplate the possibility of an income tax and designate the residents as City residents for such a purpose and designate the tax revenues as belonging to the City. The millage proposed to be assessed along with the income tax will still be above the various millage amounts required to be given back to the Townships under the revenue sharing provisions. The Townships will still get their share pursuant to the agreements regardless of an income tax.
If the employees work within the City of East Lansing, you are required to withhold from your employees whether they are an East Lansing resident or not. For residents, you are required to withhold 1% of their earnings and for non-residents working within East Lansing, you are required to withhold 0.5% of their earnings.If you have East Lansing residents as employees working outside the City of East Lansing, you are not required to withhold the East Lansing income tax, but the City does encourage courtesy withholding for your employee(s). If the income tax is not withheld from pay, a resident may be required to file quarterly estimated payments using form EL-1040-ES.
If the total amount withheld exceeds $100 per month, you are required to submit payment on a monthly basis using Forms EL-501 and EL-941. If the amount is less than $100 per month, you can submit payment on a quarterly basis only using Form EL-941.
You will need to begin withholding 0.5% for East Lansing and you will need to reduce the amount withheld for Lansing (or other city with an income tax) to 0.5%. This assumes the other city’s income tax rate is also 1%.
The employee can document the time worked outside of the City of East Lansing and will be refunded any excess tax withheld after they file their annual return. The employee will be required to submit documentation, certified by their employer, to substantiate the time worked outside of the City.
If a person is claimed as a dependent on another person’s return AND have adjusted gross income less than $5,000, they are exempt from the City of East Lansing income tax. This does not impact the amount you are required to withhold. You should withhold from these individuals in the same manner as other employees. These individuals will receive a refund for their excess withholding after filing their annual tax return.
Non-residents of the City of East Lansing are subject to withholding only if the City of East Lansing is their predominant place of employment. An employee can have only one predominant place of employment. The ordinance defines predominant place of employment as “that city imposing a tax under a uniform city income tax ordinance other than the city of residence, in which the employee estimates he will earn the greatest percentage of his/her compensation, which percentage is 25% or more.” Although these individuals are not subject to withholding, they are nevertheless required to file an annual return and report the applicable income earned in the City of East Lansing. The individual should be encouraged to pay estimated tax payments directly to the City to avoid penalty and interest.
You will be required to send copies of the employees’ W-2s and any issued 1099s to the City of East Lansing. In addition, you will need to prepare an annual EL-W-3, reconciling the amount withheld and the amount paid to the City.
An employer using a payroll processing service for reporting withholding is required to complete Form EL-8655, Reporting Agent Authorization. The form can be found here.
If an employer with employees working within the City of East Lansing refuses to withhold the required taxes from their employees, they may be held liable for payment of the tax.
All East Lansing residents (whether they work in the City or another community), non-residents who work in East Lansing and corporations/partnerships that have business activity in East Lansing.
Forms are available online here. Paper copies of the forms are also available at the East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road, and East Lansing City Hall, 410 Abbot Road.
Completed forms should be sent to the City of East Lansing Income Tax Processing Center, P.O. Box 526, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827. If money is owed, payments should be included with the form.
At this time, East Lansing income tax forms can be prepared through online software programs, but cannot be e-filed through online software programs.
Income tax returns are due on April 30.
If your tax liability is greater than $100, yes. The due date for the first quarterly payment is April 30.
Residents (working in East Lansing or another community) and non-residents working in East Lansing will pay the income tax. Community members can view the East Lansing Income Tax Boundary Map (GIS) to determine if they live or work in the area where the income tax will be assessed. The map is searchable by address, parcel number and MSU building name.Residents will pay a 1% income tax and non-residents will pay a 0.5% income tax. There will be $600 deductions for each personal and dependency exemption claimed and some income, such as retirement income, will not be taxed. If an individual lives in East Lansing and works in another community with an income tax or works in East Lansing and lives in another community with an income tax, they would pay 0.5% to East Lansing and 0.5% to the community in which they work or live.
Employers within the City of East Lansing are required to withhold and remit the tax on behalf of its employees. East Lansing residents working in other communities should work with their respective employer to see if the tax can be withheld. Form EL-W-4 will need to be filed with his or her employer stating the number of exemptions claimed, the city of residence, and the predominant place of employment.If the income tax is not withheld from pay or other taxable income sources and the adjusted gross income results in a tax liability of $100 or more, a resident is required to file quarterly estimated tax payments using form EL-1040-ES. Failure to file form EL-1040-ES and make the required payments will result in the assessment of penalty and interest for the late payment of the tax.To avoid penalty and interest charges, you must pay during the course of the year at least 70% of your current year or prior year liability, whichever is less. Payments can be made through employer withholdings or quarterly estimated payments.
Community members can view the East Lansing Income Tax Boundary Map (GIS) to determine if they live or work in the area where the income tax will be administered. The map is searchable by address, parcel number and MSU building name.Other ways to tell if you live in the City of East Lansing are your voter registration card and/or your property tax bill. If these are issued by the City of East Lansing, you are an East Lansing resident.
Your employer may elect to voluntarily withhold for the City of East Lansing at a rate of 0.5% as well as withhold for the community in which you work at a rate of 0.5%. Your total tax rate will not exceed 1.0%.
Residents of East Lansing will pay a 1% income tax if working in a different community without a local income tax. A non-East Lansing employer is not required to withhold; however, an employer may elect to courtesy withhold for the City of East Lansing.
Income exempt from the income tax includes retirement income, unemployment income, military pay, tax refunds (city, state and federal) and more. For a more exhaustive list of income exempt from the City income tax, click here.Additionally, individuals who make less than $5,000 annually and do not have a personal exemption because they are claimed on someone else’s taxes would be exempt from the income tax. This could apply to students who are still claimed on their parent or guardian's taxes.
Yes, the employer should withhold at the applicable tax rate. You must file the individual income tax return form EL-1040, due April 30 of the subsequent year, to receive a refund of the amount withheld.
Your income tax may be pro-rated by your employer based on the amount of time you worked in the East Lansing community. The tax will only apply to the income earned while working in East Lansing. If your employer is unable to prorate and withholds too much, you will receive a refund when you file your EL-1040 form. You will be required to furnish support of the time worked outside of the City and this must be certified by your employer.
No, there has not been any environmental testing on the soil or existing buildings.
As outlined in the RFQ/P, the DDA is seeking proposals to spur a redevelopment that best balances the desires of the community and the community objective.
The East Lansing City Council will be considering a contract for the design of Evergreen Avenue infrastructure improvements with Kebs, Inc. at their December 17, 2019 meeting. This would include the design for road alignment, sewer and water infrastructure. Click here for a utilities map (PDF).
On March 10, 2020, the voters will consider a sale of the City-owned land at the northwest corner of Albert Ave and Abbot Road (City Lot #4). MSUFCU is proposing to construct a 5-8 story office building on Albert Avenue Lot #4, adjacent to this site. Plans for the development proposal are expected to be finalized in the coming months. If the voters approve the sale and MSUFCU submits development plans, they will be subject to the normal process and approvals for the site. It at the developer's discretion whether they choose to include, or not include, the MSUFCU proposed project in their proposal. Note that the re-alignment of Albert Avenue is expected to occur regardless, as the work is part of the Park District redevelopment project.
Although plans have not been submitted, MSUFCU has indicated a need for approximately 50 parking spaces.
A building would not be allowed to be constructed over underground infrastructure. The infrastructure would need to be rerouted.
Proposers should put forward their best option for the DDA and City to consider, which could include financing all or a portion of the necessary public infrastructure. The City Council will be approving a contract on 12/17/19 for the design of the infrastructure improvements as researched and desired by the City. A developer could potentially fund the infrastructure and be reimbursed through TIF or through a Brownfield plan. The City is also researching the potential to fund the improvements, which could possibly be reimbursed through a future Brownfield plan on the Evergreen properties through a look-back provision in Brownfield TIF.
The City Council has been reviewing the Oakwood Historic Boundary Study. At the December 10, 2019 City Council meeting, Council reviewed two options. The first option includes the Evergreen Properties remaining in the historic district. The second option includes the removal of the Evergreen Properties (314-344) and Valley Court Park. City Council has asked for a third option, which is the removal of the Evergreen Properties (314-344), Valley Court and the removal of some additional properties. City Council will make a decision on what option to approve at their January 21, 2020 meeting. If the properties remain in the historic district, they will need to be approved for demolition by the Historic District Commission to allow a redevelopment to take place.
The City will not be providing the form. The developer should submit their own Sworn Statement.
Other property owned by the City can be included in proposed projects. A vote of the residents is likely required to approve the sale of any City owned property, by a majority vote (Charter of the City of East Lansing Section 4.81 b).
Michigan law adds age, height, weight and marital status protections. Chapter 22 of the City Code further prohibits discrimination based on age, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identify or expression, student status, legal source of income or the use of adaptive devices or aids.
Discrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment which means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal of physical conduct or communication of sexual nature.
The term major life activity may include:
Season passes will be available for sale after May 15, 2023. Community members can learn more about ELFAC’s rates and passes here: https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/855/Rates-Passes.
The East Lansing Family Aquatic Center accepts cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Apple Pay. Checks are not accepted.
The City of East Lansing is rated 4 out of 10 as of October 2017. The Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating schedule is applied to fire departments approximately every 10 years. The ISO rating helps insurance companies establish appropriate fire insurance premiums for residential and commercial properties by reviewing features of public fire protection that have a significant effect on minimizing fire damage. The better the fire department the lower the rating number. In essence, the lower the rating, the lower the insurance rate, assuming the fire insurance company subscribes to the system.
Specific questions regarding the schedule of rating can be directed to your insurance agent or broker. If you have any questions, please call the East Lansing Fire Department at (517) 332-1956.
A copy of a fire or medical report can be obtained by submitting a FOIA request or by contacting East Lansing Fire Station #1 by phone at (517) 332-1956 or by email.
As of 2022 the medical transport ambulance fee for ALS Non-Emergent, ALS Emergent and ALS-2 runs are $750 plus mileage at $12 per loaded mile.
The City Council has budgeted up to $40,000 for the study.
The City has indicated that data collection is expected to be conducted prior to mid-April, to coincide with the end of the Michigan State University academic year. The report should be finalized by early summer 2020.
The RFQ/P does refer to submarkets, such as the Northern Tier, downtown and those neighborhoods proximate to Michigan State University.
The City is hoping to build on this study in the future to track trends and look for areas that suggest further study. The desired study will contain a framework which is replicable over time, allowing the City to track and benchmark certain data points in the future.
Data on all properties in East Lansing is available via this link: https://bsaonline.com/?uid=138. Our staff can provide information in regards to properties that have a rental license, with type, occupancy and other related information. Some additional information is available through our Assessor’s office, which can provide additional data to the selected respondent, as staff resources allow.
We don’t anticipate public input sessions leading up to the development of the study. However, we do anticipate a high level of public interest in the results of the study, as well as the anticipated next steps. If you’d like to propose additional outreach, we might suggest that you offer it as a phase 2 consideration.
For fairness and consistency within the community, it is important that all residents pay and file all required income tax returns with the City of East Lansing. In an attempt to ensure this is occurring, the City is performing a review to determine that all residents have filed tax returns for 2019. Since this is the first year conducting this review, there will be many taxpayers contacted. This may result in residents finding they have not filed income tax returns for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Any resident who filed a 2019 State of Michigan tax return using an address located within the City of East Lansing will be reviewed to determine if they have filed an East Lansing income tax return. If no return is found, the City of East Lansing’s Income Tax Office will be sending letters to these individuals asking for their tax return and noting an estimated tax due. The impacted residents will have 21 days to respond to the letter. These letters will be distributed from September to December of this year.
For those receiving a letter, please be aware of the following:
If the City does not receive a response within the 21 days, the impacted resident will be assessed based on the income information provided by the State of Michigan.
The mailing address for all tax returns and corresponding information is:
East Lansing Income Tax DepartmentP.O. Box 526Eaton Rapids, MI 48827
If needed, the City will work with taxpayers to establish a payment plan, if they owe for 2019 or any other year. If you need help with paying the balance due, please send an e-mail to email@example.com requesting that someone contact you about payment arrangements.
With the implementation of the East Lansing income tax occurring at the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been difficult to engage in any activity other than processing tax returns. For both 2019 and 2020, the due date for filing returns was extended. This materially delayed the time needed to finalize the processing of all returns. Since the deadline for 2021 returns was not extended, the City now has the time available to conduct this review.
For non-residents working within the City, their employers are required to withhold East Lansing income taxes from their wages. This means that they have paid their tax liability whether or not they actually file a return. For non-residents earning income other than wages, the City has already and will continue to perform compliance activities to find non-filers.
Moving forward, the City will be conducting a similar review each year, but the number of residents contacted should decrease from those contacted during this initial process.
Community members with questions or who need assistance can contact the East Lansing Income Tax Office at (517) 319-6862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Provisioning center facilities are allowed in four separate overlay districts chosen by City Council. They are located in the north, south, east, and west areas of the City and essentially do not abut residential neighborhoods. All provisioning center facilities must also meet the requirements of the underlying zoning of the property.
There is not a cap per se; however, the 1,000-foot buffer requirement between lot lines from other provisioning center facilities naturally limits the number that would be allowed.
You must have been issued a pre-qualification application number by the State of Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs prior to submitting an application for a Special Use Permit for any medical marihuana facility.
The City of East Lansing has not put a limit on the number of applications being accepted.
The process involves a special use permit that runs with the property, not the business or owner. The property owner must sign the land use development application which makes them aware of the applicant’s desire to obtain a special use permit for the property. The process takes a minimum of three months and two public hearings will be held; Planning Commission makes a recommendation to City Council and City Council makes the final decision.
The land use development application should be completed to the fullest extent possible. A site plan is required to be submitted with the application in addition to a $5,000.00 application fee; which is also to be paid annually.
A meeting is not required, but may be beneficial as a pre-review of your application to find out what items are missing or still needed.
No. Submitting an application does not secure an applicant’s place in line.
Additional information is available on the City of East Lansing's Medical Marihuana webpage and the State of Michigan's Licensing And Regulatory Affairs (LARA) webpage.
No Mow May is an international conservation initiative that encourages property owners to stop or reduce mowing in May to create habitat and provide resources for hungry, early-season pollinator populations, such as native bees. The initiative also brings awareness of the importance of pollinator species, raises interest in year-round pollinator-friendly landscaping and stimulates conversations about how the built environment can better interact with the natural world.
East Lansing, like most urban and suburban communities, has local code that regulates “nuisance lawns” and requires property owners to keep lawns mowed. Through the adoption of No Mow May and associated policy resolution, the East Lansing City Council has suspended enforcement of this ordinance for the month of May to facilitate community participation in the initiative.
Around 80% of the 1,400 food crops grown around the world require pollination by animals, which include insects like bees. Pollinators also support the ecosystems that clean our air, stabilize our soils and purify our waters, but pollinator populations are declining due to habitat loss, pesticide use and loss of food supply. No Mow May is a small step community members can take to help.
In early spring, pollinator food – nectar and pollen – can be in short supply within urban and suburban landscapes. By allowing lawns to grow longer, it gives a chance for the plants sometimes referred to as weeds (like dandelions and clover) to flower, creating habitat and forage for emerging pollinators and providing vital food sources at a time of year when these resources are scarce.
There are many ways to participate in No Mow May and residents are encouraged to participate in any way that matches their level of comfort and interest. Participation is voluntary and can be adapted to what works best for individual participants. Here are some examples of ways different residents may choose to participate in this community effort:
All of these approaches will reduce mowing and help local pollinator species. There is no wrong way to participate!
Registration is not required, but it is useful for tracking community participation. Submit the form here if participating and, by doing so, receive a free yard sign to show support for pollinators! Those who register, will receive an email when the yard signs are available to be picked up at the East Lansing Department of Public Works, 1800 E. State Road, or East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road.
The No Mow May initiative does not apply to violations of City ordinance that affect public safety. Grass and weeds must be maintained to ensure an unaccompanied minor, a person in a wheelchair or a person walking a bike are adequately visible to a driver. Grass and weeds must not intrude on the right-of-way in such a manner as to create a hazard for pedestrians using the sidewalk.
Researchers with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Northern Research Station have explored whether bee-friendly, lawn-mowing practices come with increased tick risk. The study (referenced here) found that lawn mowing frequency in suburban areas has no detectable effect on the presence of ticks.
If residents still have tick concerns, they are encouraged to consider the characteristics of their lawn that may play a role in being more inviting to ticks and strategically select mowing/no-mow areas accordingly, or mow common walking areas as paths to limit potential contact. Tick habitat is typically found in the interface between woods and field, or where areas are moist and shaded and contain leaf litter. If a lawn stays relatively dry and exposed to the sun, risk is lower than in shaded, moist areas.
Mosquitoes love and need standing water. Their larvae and pupae live in water with little to no flow and reducing their access to it is the single most important way to reduce their ability to breed and thrive. Every week, empty and scrub, cover, turn over or throw out items that hold water like birdbaths, toys, small pools, buckets, tires or planters that they use to lay their eggs. Adult mosquitoes can use moist, tall grass as cover from the heat of the sun and protection from the wind; consider mowing spots that are most inviting to them. However, eliminating standing water will reduce the number of mosquitoes any time of the year.
As of June 1, enforcement of City Code that limits grass height to six inches will resume and not mowing can result in a violation. It’s important to have sharp mower blades, plan to use the mower’s highest setting and go slower than normal. If the lawn grew exceptionally high, residents may need to weed whack areas prior to utilizing the mower. Consider “mulch mowing” to provide nutrients back to the soil. The City will also be providing free yard waste collection at the beginning of June to collect bagged grass clippings.
Even though No Mow May will end in June, residents can keep the momentum going in other ways. Planting pollinator-friendly plants or converting parts or all of their lawn to year-round pollinator-friendly turf are some ways to help the local pollinator community the rest of the year. Visit the City’s Pollinator Friendly Community website for resources. Residents may also consider installing a native plant rain garden, which helps feed pollinators, captures and treats stormwater runoff and reduces yard flooding. Visit the City’s stormwater webpage to learn what the City is doing to improve stormwater management and encourage native plantings. Visit the City’s partner website for information on planting rain gardens and selecting native plants.
You may call the Parking Division, with your license number, at (517) 351-7022 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4:30 pm.
You may also pay online. You will need your license plate number.
The website does not reflect the discounted rate. You may: (1) put payment in one of the 24-hour drop boxes, (2) bring it in person to the 54B District Court, 101 Linden St., from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or (3) call the Parking Division at (517) 351-7022 to pay over the phone.
The Prime Time Seniors Program serves to enrich the lives of community members who are age 55+. Prime Time is committed to providing programs that engage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and vocational dimensions of wellness, as well as encourage involvement in the community.
Anyone can become a member of the Prime Time Senior Program. There are many member benefits, including a $10 discount on classes and activities. The cost for a membership for an East Lansing resident is $25 and the cost for a non-resident is $40. Learn more.
Along with offering more than 200 classes and activities, the Prime Time Seniors Program offers a number of services ranging from foot care and blood pressure checks, technology assistance, emergency call list, chore service referrals and more.
Seniors from around the East Lansing area use Prime Time Seniors Center.
Prime Time is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. When the East Lansing Public Schools are closed for inclement weather, the program closes. Please check news outlets for school closing announcements.
This program was developed to assist East Lansing property owners with the professional installation of a backflow prevention valve or equivalent private infrastructure to reduce the potential for sewer backups into basements utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
This program is open to all property owners with property within East Lansing’s city limits.
The City will reimburse 100 percent of the first $1,000 of the eligible cost and 75 percent of the eligible cost exceeding $1,000, up to a total reimbursement of $3,000. The property owner will be responsible for all remaining costs.
Prior to applying for a reimbursement, the property owner will need to hire a licensed plumber/contractor to perform the work and the plumber/contractor will need to obtain a plumbing permit from the City of East Lansing's Building Division. Once the installation is completed, it will also need to be inspected by the City's Building Division prior to submittal of the program application. Eligible property owners will need to include the following required attachments with their application: an itemized project invoice from the licensed contractor/plumber, proof of payment by the property owner, a copy of the plumbing permit issued by the City and proof of an approved final inspection by the City. This program is also being offered retroactively to property owners who have already hired a licensed plumber/contractor to have this work done, as long as the work was completed on or after March 3, 2021 and meets all eligibility and application requirements.
Depending on the property’s layout and issues, there are various different approaches that may be available to protect the basement. If the flooding issue is caused by water that seeps through the basement walls, windows or floors during heavy rains, installation of a backflow prevention valve will not help with that problem as it is not related to the City’s sanitary sewer system. Property owners are encouraged to talk with a licensed plumber to determine the best approach for their property.
A backflow prevention valve will prevent backups caused by defects of your private service pipe, but it only addresses the backup and not the actual problem. Therefore, it is not the best solution. For the best solution, it is important to discuss the issue with your licensed plumber since these problems tend to worsen over time.
While these improvements greatly reduce the chance of a backup in your basement, no solution is completely fail-safe. Mechanical equipment can fail, but ongoing maintenance will help prevent this.
Yes, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the device installed.
Yes. In addition to being available to East Lansing homeowners, the program is available to East Lansing property owners who own rental property or businesses. The actual property owner for the rental property or business must apply for the program, and the program is limited to one total payment of $3,000 per property owner and per property.
A fillable PDF application is available at www.cityofeastlansing.com/BackupProtectionProgram and printed copies of the application are available at East Lansing City Hall, 410 Abbot Road, and the East Lansing Department of Public Works, 1800 E. State Road. Instructions for how to submit the application and all required attachments can be found on the application.
Prospective applicants with questions about the City of East Lansing's application process for the Property Owner Assistance Program for Basement Backup Protection can contact the East Lansing Department of Public Works at (517) 337-9459 ext. 0. For questions related to plumbing permits/inspections, applicants can call the City of East Lansing's Building Division at (517) 319-6871 or (517) 319-6810.
Library cards are available free of charge to residents, MSU students, City employees, businesses/organizations and others. Apply for a library card here.
Patrons may use their library card, driver's license or State ID to check out materials. Only cardholders may check out materials without the library card in hand. Learn more.
The East Lansing Public Library accepts online payments for library fines. Learn more.
Increasing the quality of the curbside recycling stream saves money, time and ensures the maximum amount of material is processed and recycled, which is the goal of this project. Non-recyclable materials can damage sorting equipment (like plastic bags and film jamming conveyor belts and rollers) and contaminate entire batches of recycling, leaving sorters no choice but to send the entire load to the landfill. Though “wish-cycled” to avoid putting them in the trash, non-accepted items end up there anyways, often taking additional volume of correctly recycled materials with them. The Recycling Partnership’s traditional “Feet on the Street” program has been implemented in more than 70 communities around the nation, with some communities seeing as much as a 57% decrease of non-recyclable items in recycling and an average of a 27% increase in the overall capture of quality recyclables. By using cameras and computer technology to perform traditionally expensive and labor-intensive cart audits, feedback can be provided for more collection events, longer-term trends can be identified and weather is no limitation. The results of this pilot will be used to inform future cart tagging approaches here and throughout the nation.
The pilot project is funded for six months. While originally planned for fall 2022 and winter 2023, the project timeline was shifted to account for fluctuations in population and recycling habits caused by the holiday season. In late 2022, equipment was calibrated, and baseline data was collected. The educational component, which includes postcard mailings, is slated to begin in January 2023 and conclude in late spring. The City and its partners spent the time leading up to the project spreading the word and sharing details of the project. A project informational mailer was sent to every address and information was included in the Curbside Journal. Staff also updated the Commission on the Environment on project progress, presented to Council and participated in a variety of media interviews on the project. This FAQ is a summary of the information previously distributed.
This pilot is educational, not punitive. When a contaminating material is identified in the truck hopper (which is emptied/compacted into the storage area between each cart collection), a postcard will be mailed to the parcel address with:
Note: Only contaminating material is identifiable. Recyclable/non-contaminating materials are obscured in the image. Cameras are low resolution, only capable of determining contamination, not reading documents, although residents are reminded to shred any sensitive documents and place them in a paper bag, per normal/existing precaution.
Consider what was called out as contamination and, in the future, make sure that item is not included in your recycling cart. Use it to compare your recycling habits to City guidelines. Recycling can be confusing and rules and acceptable materials vary across communities depending on their local processor’s rules. East Lansing’s curbside guidelines may differ from those in a community you’ve lived in before, and some items that are considered “contamination” in curbside collection are recyclable elsewhere, but need to be collected and delivered to a separate facility. For example, Styrofoam™ is a major contaminant in East Lansing curbside carts, but the City does accept it at the East Lansing Department of Public Works recycling drop-off facility, 1800 E. State Road, where it is sent to a separate processing facility than other materials. Plastic bags, Amazon-style bubble mailers and film cannot be recycled in curbside carts or at DPW, but many area retailers have collection bins for this material through nationwide recycling initiatives.
The City’s Curbside Guidelines are a great guide, but only so much information can fit on a one-page flyer. To fill the gaps, the City has launched the Recycle Coach app. Community members can access it in their web browser at www.cityofeastlansing.com/recycle and use the “What Goes Where?” tool to learn about proper disposal and recycling options for 15,000 material keywords. Recycle Coach is also available as a mobile phone application, available for free from the Apple or Google Play app stores. In addition to the material search function, residents can register an address for text/email/push-notification collection reminders, print a collection calendar and more.
If you believe you received a postcard erroneously, let us know! As a pilot project with an associated academic study, these are useful data points. But don’t worry, your recycling collection will not be impacted. The technology is tuned to high levels of confidence, meaning that it’s more likely for an address contributing contamination to not receive a postcard, than it is for a household that is correctly recycling to erroneously receive one. Cases of erroneous or misassigned mailings should be minimal, but a small number of errors can occur in any automated process.
Note: Contamination detection related to this pilot and associated postcard mailings is performed during the collection of the cart using cameras mounted inside of the hopper. It is completely automated and does not alert drivers of the contamination or reject a cart’s contents prior to collection. However, pre-collection visual inspection of carts contributing dangerous, damaging or grossly contaminated loads have always been tagged with a rejection notice by sanitation crews during their routes to protect their safety and the equipment and to notify residents of the reason it could not be collected. These collection rejection tags are part of longstanding practice and are unrelated to this pilot project.
If you have additional questions, contact the Housing & University Relations Administrator, Annette Irwin, at (517) 319-6801 or by email.
The Department of Planning, Building & Development will send out notifications to rental property owners/managers in the event of a code change.
The appraisal has been uploaded to the project page.
A general visual of the City utility locations can be viewed here. Please contact the East Lansing Department of Public Works' Engineering Division for more specific information at (517) 337-9459.
The CAD file can be obtained by calling KEBS, INC at (517) 339-1014 and asking for Erick F.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) plows eight miles of state highway, 26 miles of major streets and 63 miles of local or residential streets and three miles of alleys. DPW coordinates salting and snow control in conjunction with the East Lansing Police Department. Crews start by plowing state highways and major streets, then move to residential street stops, hills and corners. These first priority routes are maintained until conditions are under control, at which time, crews move to residential streets, alleys and cul-de-sacs. Typically, plowing only takes place in residential neighborhoods when snowfall accumulates to three inches or more. Please understand that every street cannot be cleared at the same time.
Salt is applied to ice as needed on state highways, major streets and in critical areas, such as stops, hills and corners. Depending on the severity of conditions, crews may also spot treat ice on local residential streets.
Some areas of the City have narrow public right-of-ways, which results in the sidewalk being very close to the street. When plowing, the snow may end up on the sidewalk that was just shoveled. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you.
It should also be noted that, if it is a significant snowfall, the snowplows may have to return. Streets are typically opened with one pass through, so that streets can be made passable for drivers as soon as possible. Snowplows may return to open the street curb-to-curb. This is done to clear areas for on-street parking, where it is permitted, and to allow melting snow to drain into catch basins. We regret that you may find some of this snow on your recently shoveled sidewalk and may have to shovel it again.
The City of East Lansing clears sidewalks in some higher-volume pedestrian traffic areas, including downtown East Lansing, along many major streets and areas near schools. Even if the City plows these areas, property owners are still responsible for making sure the sidewalk adjacent to their property is maintained and clear enough for everyone to use, including those in wheelchairs. If you have any questions, please call Parking & Code Enforcement at (517) 319-6894.
Currently, the 54B District Court assesses $110 in fines and costs. Please note, fines and costs are determined, in part, by legislative requirements. Contact the 54B District Court at (517) 351-4568 for updated information. Learn more.
The City collects property taxes in the summer (July 1) and winter (December 1). The taxes are collected for the operation of the city itself, as well as East Lansing School District, Lansing School District, Haslett School District, Bath School District, Ingham Intermediate School District, Clinton County Regional Education Service Agency, Lansing Community College, Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA), Ingham County, Clinton County and the State of Michigan Education Millage. View the City of East Lansing's Property Tax Handout (PDF) for a more specific breakdown of where property taxes go and to learn how the portion of taxes kept by the City is used.
The city millage rate is established by City Council with limitations established by the city charter. The boards of the other jurisdictions establish their own millage rate. Each year the millage rate changes depending on the taxing authority’s budget needs. View the tax rates online.
If you have any questions, please call the Treasury Department at (517) 319-6872.
Each governing body that levies property taxes sets its own millage rate annually. Usually, a city charter or a vote of the electorate has determined the maximum number of mills each governing body can levy. A mill represents $1 per $1000 of taxable value. If you have any questions, please call the Treasury Department at (517) 319-6872.
It depends on what the question is. If the question is about how value is determined, principal residence exemptions or ownership call the Assessor's Office at (517) 319-6880. If it is a question about the tax amount and if it has been paid, call the Treasurer's Office at (517) 319-6826.
It depends on the zoning and site characteristics. Broadly, if it is a private tree (i.e., in your front or back yard and not a City right-of-way tree) at a single- or two-family home, a permit is likely not needed. If it's a private tree at a commercial property, apartment complex, etc., a permit is likely needed. Specifics are in Chapter 48, Article II, Division 2, Section 48-94 of City Code and the City's Tree Manual. You may call the Department of Public Works at 517-337-9459 to be sure.
The permit process allows the City to confirm that any tree removal or major vegetation alteration is consistent with the landscaping plans and site plans that were originally agreed upon. For example, if the Planning Commission and City Council approved trees to be used as site screening at a commercial property, removal of those trees violates the conditions of the site plan. It is unlawful to remove them without a permit from the City, who will confirm a replanting plan is consistent with existing agreements or determine if a review of new plans is needed. The Tree Removal and Land Clearing application is the applicable permit for this scenario and the ordinance and exemptions can be found here.
Additionally, tree work requiring occupancy of the City right-of-way requires a permit. This includes road and street closures, equipment staging in the road or parkway or any other use or occupancy of the public right-of-way. Permit applications for both Utility and Non-utility right-of-way usage can be found here.
All work on public trees must be done or approved by the City. To prune, plant, remove, treat, root-grind, etc. a tree on public property (such as the right-of-way and parkway), the property owner must obtain a permit (See Section 7 of the City Tree Manual and the permit application here).
Some trees are considered shared ownership trees (typically located on the edge of the public right-of-way). The City maintains these trees and all the rules and regulations pertaining to public trees still apply. However, the City may be more inclined to allow for removal of shared ownership trees in certain situations.
With approval, yes. The City of East Lansing encourages homeowners to plant approved street trees in the parkway. A site visit will be conducted to ensure that the appropriate variety of tree is chosen, adequate space is available and no utility or infrastructure conflicts are present. Residents will be contacted, and if approved, a planting permit will be issued. There are two approaches for this work:
DIY Planting: Property owners interested in planting a tree in the city parkway themselves must first submit a Street Tree Work application. The City will issue a permit following approval of the site and species selection, confirmation that the tree will not interfere with utilities and verification that it follows Right Tree, Right Place principles. Homeowners are not required to submit a separate Non-Utility Right-Of-Way Occupancy permit application if they are performing the work themselves with typical garden equipment (i.e. a shovel), but must have an approved Street Tree Work permit in hand prior to performing any planting, otherwise they are at risk of penalties and fines. If a property owner will be using machinery, augers or equipment other than shovels, a Right-of-Way Occupancy permit will also be required, though fees will be waived. Right-of-Way permits can be found here.
Contractor Planting: Property owners who wish to plant a tree in the public right-of-way using a landscape company, contractor, or other entity, must also apply for and receive a Street Tree Work permit as well as a Non-Utility Right-of-Way Occupancy permit. Fees for the Right-of-Way permit will be waived for approved street tree plantings, but it must be on file as the City will need the firm's proof of insurance on record. These permits also help our emergency responders know where roads may be closed or narrowed due to the presence of machinery.
In both cases, the property owner agrees to water the trees during their establishment period at a rate of 1 inch per week per caliper of the tree for the growing season. Additional details are located in the City Tree Manual. It is also important to understand that any tree planted in the public right-of-way becomes the property of the City, which has full authority on maintenance and removal decisions.
When funding is available, DPW replaces/plants trees in the spring and/or fall according to the "Right Tree, Right Place" concept. Therefore, all aspects of the tree and the planting location are considered from the ultimate height of the tree, root zone, overhead utilities, sidewalks, etc. This concept minimizes damage to sidewalks and curbs, reduces conflicts with utilities and provides the best opportunity for a tree to grow to maturity. Based on this concept, the City has developed a list of approved street trees which are suitable for planting along City streets.
While the City focuses on native tree species that provide food for wildlife, biodiversity, habitat and more (around 80% of recent plantings were native), the City also recognizes that our urban/suburban environment presents non-native conditions compared to a native, undeveloped landscape. Street trees must be resistant to unnatural stressors like air pollution, heat island effects, pests, road-salt, compacted soils and small spaces for roots. In some cases, non-native species are better suited for these conditions, more resistant to stressors/drought and are more likely to reach maturity and survive long term. To ensure a healthy, mature urban forest, the "Right Tree, Right Place" principles must be considered and the City's approved species list (which includes non-native species) reflects that need. However, it is important to note that "non-native" and "exotic" species differ from "invasive" species. Invasive trees can cause damage to the environment, other trees, insects, humans and wildlife. Non-native trees are simply those that did not historically exist in the area, but do not pose a threat to the native environment.
If you would like the parkway near your home to be considered for a potential tree planting, fill out this form. Note: this does not guarantee a tree will be planted this year or in any year. Several factors are considered when selecting areas to be planted, but this lets the City know you are willing to help care for a future tree near your home should your area be targeted for plantings. If the space is viable, funding is available and your turn is up, you will receive a letter ahead of the planting indicating that it is forthcoming and plantings only occur in spring and fall.
You may notice that the Restricted Species list includes maple trees. This is at the recommendation of experts following the completion of an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment that found roughly 44% of City trees are maples - the result of overplanting over the decades. This lack of biodiversity and over-population of one species leave the urban canopy vulnerable to catastrophic tree loss and the City is limiting maple plantings to diversify the genus, family and species make-up to ensure a resilient urban forest.
To illustrate this vulnerability, think of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle that targets Ash trees which was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. Since then it has caused the death of 40 million Ash trees in the State, including over 10% of all City trees. Should a future pest, disease or blight impact maple trees, the City would be at risk of a catastrophic loss of nearly half of its canopy.
Many residents report that they desire maples because of their brilliant fall colors (particularly the red maple). The City often recommends they consider alternatives that have similar characteristics, such as the Sweetgum (which can be easily mistaken for a maple) or the Frontier Elm, a Dutch Elm Disease resistant varietal that is one of the few with red-purple fall colors. There are other species with these characteristics that can help the community make the shift to a more sustainable and resilient forest canopy.
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