Judge blocks proposed vote on annexation of Groesbeck neighborhood in Lansing Township
LANSING, Michigan – Residents of the Groesbeck neighborhood in Lansing Township applied to be annexed by the City of Lansing earlier this summer.
“We knew there was going to be a challenge, we knew it,” said Lansing Township resident John DeMarco.
This challenge started just two weeks ago when Lansing Township leaders filed a lawsuit against the Town of Lansing and Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum arguing that the township’s annexation proposal should not be on the ballot because it contained inappropriate language and violated Charter Act 359 Township. Then, on Tuesday, a judge ruled in favor of Lansing Township.
“So the judge temporarily ordered that annexation not appear on the ballot,” Byrum said.
The controversy began in July when around 120 residents of the Groesbeck neighborhood sent a letter to Lansing Mayor Andy Schor asking to be part of the town because they were unhappy the township had more than 30 million dollars of debt.
“As a township, we really had no idea how bad it was,” DeMarco said.
Lansing City Council voted unanimously to put the residents’ request on the November ballot.
Fast forward to a month later, while residents weren’t happy with the judge’s ruling, they hope it’s not too late for the annexation proposal to go ahead.
“If we can get that on the ballot so we can vote rather than want to stay in township or go to Lansing, that’s the main thing,” DeMarco said.
Lansing city officials said they would appeal the judge’s decision.
“We knew the lawsuit was likely to come, but I think we remained confident that we stayed within state law, and we believe we can move forward with this ballot proposal,” he said. said Lansing City Council President Adam Hussain.
The appeal hearing is scheduled for September 12, but Byrum wishes the timing had been better as she says it is hampering preparations for the general election.
“The ballots must be printed by September 12, which ideally means that we must know where things stand [Sept. 9]and his [Sept. 7] right now, so time is not on our side,” Byrum said.
We contacted Lansing town officials, but they did not respond.