Free ride to GR City Commission Meeting

January 9, 2018 | LINC Up Gallery: 341 Hall St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
5pm | Dinner Served
6:30pm | Departure
7pm | City Commission Meeting Begins
RSVP on Facebook

Tuesday Jan. 9, LINC Up is partnering with Grand Rapids Homes for All to host a free dinner and discussion around the affordable housing policies that will be voted on during the City Commission meeting. After dinner, free transportation will be provdied to the City Commission meeting.


Housing Now! Public Hearing

Reposted from Fran Dalton, Garfiled Park Neighborhood Assocation


7 p.m. Jan 9 ,City Commission Chambers, 9th Fl. Cit y Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW.

During 2017, the City Commission held work sessions to consider ordinance, policy, and program changes to remove housing development barriers, incentivize the creation and preservation of affordable housing, and increase housing choice. A Public Hearing has been scheduled on January 9, 2018, to receive input on the following four recommendations provided by the Housing Advisory Committee.

Recommendation #1 – amending Title I Administration, Chapter 9 Property Tax Levy and Collection, Article 5 Taxation of Assisted Lower-Income Housing Ordinance (also known as Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT)

Recommendation #4 – modification to City Commission Policy 900-45, Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Recommendation

#5 – new City Commission Policy entitled Voluntary Equitable Development Agreements (VEDA) Recommendation

#7 – new City Commission Policy entitled Property Acquisition and Management

The Public Hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers located on the 9th Floor of City Hall at 300 Monroe Avenue, NW. Visit this link for more information about these items, the remaining Housing Advisory Committee recommendations, and accomplishments to date.

Free Neighborhood Organizing Seminar


  • GR Neighborhood Seminars FlyerWEBWhen: 10 am and 7 pm Thursday, December 28
  • Where: LINC UP – The Gallery (341 Hall SE)
  • The event promotes a kid friendly environment. Hosts will serve light snacks and refreshments.

The “Starting a Neighborhood Association 101” 90-minute seminar (held at 10 a.m. and again at 7 p.m.) will define a neighborhood association and its core functions. It will help residents determine if a neighborhood association already exists in their area. It will also provide an outline of recommended steps to forming an association or group, as well as estimated cost if the association seeks formal non-profit IRS designation.

The City of Grand Rapids is taking steps to drive greater interest in neighborhood engagement. It is now inviting residents to attend a series of Grand Rapids Neighborhood Seminars on Thursday, Dec. 28 to learn about the benefits and ways to organize at the block and neighborhood level. Residents can now register for the free sessions by clicking here. LINC UP – The Gallery (341 Hall Street SE, Grand Rapids) will host the morning and afternoon sessions.

According to Jordoun Eatman, lead neighborhood connector, the Neighborhood Seminars are a result of a collaborative partnership among the City, Seeds of Promise and LINC UP. The groups’ goal is to increase voice and opportunities within Grand Rapids neighborhoods.

“Participants will learn about the importance of having neighborhood associations in their community. We will also teach strategies to form, lead and sustain block clubs,” he said.

The “Block Clubs 101” hour-long seminar (held at 9 a.m. and again at 6 p.m.) will focus on the benefits of having an active block club. It will detail recommended steps to start and maintain one. It will also identify optional tools, templates and forms necessary to begin the process.

Happy Holidays!

coexistOKT wishes you and yours a happy holiday and a New Year that brings us all closer to a just and sustainable world! #Peace #Love #Justice


SB 653 creates appeals process enabling industry to overturn DEQ decisions


Take action!

SB 653, introduced by Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart), establishes a permit appeals panel with the authority to unilaterally overturn, amend, or approve any permitting decisions made by DEQ.
● Creates a permit appeals panel within the DEQ and smaller committees of the panel
known as appeals boards.
● The appeals panel is made up of 15 members appointed by the Governor. All members
must either: hold a current professional license in engineering, geology, hydrology, or
hydrogeology and have 6 years of professional experience in that field, or have a
master’s degree in engineering or a science related to air and water and 8 years of
professional experience.
● A permit applicant who is aggrieved by a decision by the DEQ regarding the approval ordenial of a permit can appeal that decision to an appeals board by submitting a petition to the director of the DEQ–appeals are only available for permit applicant and do not include other affected groups, community members, etc.
● The Director can try to resolve the dispute without convening an appeals board meeting.
● If the Director is unable to resolve the dispute, then he/she must convene a meeting of
an appeals board.
● An appeals board is made up of 5 members of the appeals panel selected by the
Director for their relevant expertise in the permit subject area.
● The panel holds a hearing on the permit petition and makes a decision regarding the
● Whether the DEQ Director approves of the decision or not, the appeals board has final
decision making authority on all permits brought before it.
● The Director then must issue a final decision that incorporates the appeal board decision into the terms of the permit; if the director fails to do so, it becomes final in 60 days anyway.

SB 654 – Introduced by Senator David Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) delegates authority to the Governor to create an environmental science advisory board (no binding decisionmaking), although the Governor already has the authority to create such a board if he/she desires. While this is not objectionable in and of itself,
because this piece of legislation is tie-barred to SB 652 & 653, the Michigan League of COnservation Voters opposes it. The bill would:.

● Creates an environmental science advisory board within the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget
● The advisory board is made up of 9 members appointed by the Governor who have
expertise in one or more of the following areas: engineering, environmental science,
economics, chemistry, geology, physics, biology, human medicine, statistics, and risk
● The board can advise the Governor on issues affecting the protection of the environment
or the management of the natural resources of the state. The advice the board can
provide is limited to the specific advice requested by the Governor.
● The board cannot review or advise on any application, recommendation, or decision
regarding a permit, license, or environmental impact statement.

Bill 652 creates Environmental Rules Committee stacked to support polluting industries


Take action!

Senate Bill 652, introduced by Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) creates an environmental rules review committee–stacked with representatives from polluting industries. This committee will oversee DEQ rulemaking, amend DEQ draft rules, and offer final approval or denial of all environmental rules proposed by the DEQ. This committee will include :

  1. A representative of the solid waste management industry,
  2. A representative of a statewide manufacturing organization,
  3. A representative of a statewide organization that represents small businesses,
  4. A representative of a public utility,
  5. A representative of a statewide environmental organization,
  6. A representative of the oil and gas industry,
  7. A representative of a statewide agriculture organization,
  8. A representative of local government,
  9. A representative of a statewide land conservancy,
  10. One member of the general public, and
  11. One member who is a medical professional.
  • Individuals who are employed by the state or who worked for the DEQ within the proceeding 3 years are not allowed to serve on the environmental rules review committee.
  • Multi-client registered lobbyists are not able to serve on the rules review committee, but registered lobbyists who only represent 1 client can.
  • The Governor makes appointments to the environmental rules review committee and the Michigan Senate has advise and consent authority over those appointments.
  • The director of the DEQ can appoint a science advisor to help advise the rules review committee
  • The environmental rule review committee will oversee all rule-making of the DEQ.
  • A majority of members of the environmental rules review committee can vote to prevent a rule-making from going forward
  • The environmental rules review committee can also vote to make changes to a rules package.
  • The environmental rules review committee has final approval over draft rules

Three new Michigan bills threaten our health and environmental well-being

Take action!

Three bills that are anti-DEQ (department of environmental quality), Senate Bills 652, 653, and 654. would create an environmental rules committee and appeal board stacked with industry representatives that would be empowered with DEQ oversight including veto and appeal power on the same rules regulating their own industries.

We know that regulated industries don’t always have public health, natural resource protection, and environmental safety at the top of their priorities compared to financial gains. While relevant stakeholders should have a space in the decision-making process, it is dangerous to hand off all decision-making ability.

Having regulated industries set Michigan’s environmental rules is like trusting the fox to guard the henhouse–it is fundamentally reckless to ask regulated industries to set their own rules when it comes to protecting the health of Michigan families and our natural resources from environmental harm and pollution.

The industry representatives and industry interest groups in these positions benefit directly from lax enforcement of environmental laws, and yet these bills would hand over authority for protecting our state’s environment to these unelected individuals who are on the payroll of polluting industries.

As communities across Michigan that face the very real dangers of polluted air and water can attest, the stakes for bad environmental decision making are incredibly high.

With the Trump Administration dead set on greatly weakening the US Environmental Protection Agency, by further undermining the MDEQ this plan would leave Michigan doubly vulnerable. 5. Without federal, and now, state environmental cops on the beat–who is going to hold polluters accountable when they poison our families or devastate our natural areas? The answer: no one.

“Decades of hard-learned lessons taught Michiganders that we cannot trust polluting industries to put public health and the protection of our air and water quality ahead of their own financial interests. The last thing we should be doing is handing over authority for Michigan’s environmental protections to unelected, unaccountable individuals who have a financial stake in the very industries they would be charged with regulating.” – Lisa Wozniak of Michigan LCV, MIRS News 12/7/17

Tomorrow and Friday, OKT will post more information about each of these three bills.