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City of Lansing

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-Mayor Virg Bernero

Mayor Virg Bernero
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FAQ Answers


I received a notice that says that I was violating the right of way ordinance. What does it mean?

It means that there has been an item or items left in the area from the sidewalk to the street in front of your home for more than 24 hours. These items (trash carts, misc. trash, brush piles, etc.) must be removed within a seven day time period. The violation notice is left at the home, as well as mailed to the property owner of record. If the item(s) are still within the right-of-way by the end of the 7 day period, the City will remove the item(s) from the street side and the property owner will receive a nuisance fee billing for the removal cost incurred by the City.

I need a building permit. Who do I call?

Please contact the Permits Clerk at Planning and Development at 517-483-7672.

How do I obtain an address for a vacant lot I just purchased?

An address will be assigned to your proposed building at the time you or your contractor requests a building permit and one is issued. Building permits are issued through Building Safety Office located at 316 N. Capitol Avenue. A permit clerk can be reached at 483-7672.

I want to display a banner on a skywalk or over a street. Do I need a permit?

Yes, a permit must be acquired prior to installing a banner or any sign within or over a public street right-of-way. The banner cannot interfere with overhead traffic control devices (10 feet minimum distance) and must not protrude lower than the bottom of the skywalk or must have an 18 feet minimum bottom height above the street. Also, the banner shall not promote merchandizing, resemble traffic control devices, nor include flashing lights that may distract motorists. The Public Service Department Permits Engineer may be contacted at 483-4455 for obtaining a permit and for obtaining information regarding additional requirements.

My neighbors have a lot of trash all over his yard and it makes the neighborhood look unsightly. What can you do about this?

The City is authorized to enforce the cleaning up of trash. If the trash is within your neighbor's private property (i.e. the front lawn), Code Compliance should be contacted at 517-483-4361. If the trash is within the street right-of-way between the curb and sidewalk, the Public Service Department should be contacted at 483-4400. The City's enforcement officer will address the situation.

Streets / Sidewalks

The sidewalk in front of my house is uneven. Will the City come fix it?

The adjacent property owner is generally responsible for the maintenance and repair of the sidewalk. You may report the uneven sidewalk to the Public Service Department at 483-4455. An inspector will be dispatched to see if an asphalt patch needs to be installed to temporarily smooth uneven sidewalk area to help prevent a trip hazard.

How do I know if the sidewalk in front of my house is scheduled for eventual replacement by the City?

The City has a sidewalk replacement program that spans over many years as funding becomes available. You can contact the Assistant City Engineer at 483-4455 to see if your sidewalk is scheduled for replacement. When the City replaces sidewalk, the adjacent property owner may be responsible for paying an assessment for the replacement. For additional information, contact the Public Service Department at 517-483-4455.

I would like to repair my sidewalk. Do I need a permit?

Yes. A sidewalk permit may be obtained from the Public Service Department on the 7th floor of City Hall or you may contact the Public Service Department at 517-483-4455 for additional information.

My neighbors haven't shoveled their sidewalk yet. Can you make them do it?

Citizens have 24 hours after snow stops falling to clear their sidewalks. If it has stopped snowing and you have a complaint, please call the Public Service Department at 483-4455 with the address where the snow covered sidewalk is located, the business name (if applicable), and any other useful information. Your neighbor will be given notice to clear the sidewalk within 24 hours. If the sidewalk has not been cleared within this time, a violation may be issued. Disabled/low income residents may qualify for snow removal assistance. Contact Christo Rey Community Center at 372-4700.

The snow hasn't been removed from the Downtown sidewalks. Who do I contact?

The downtown sidewalks are maintained by Downtown Lansing Inc. They can be reached at 487-3322. Call 483-4161 for sidewalks adjacent to city parks.

My street isn't plowed yet!

Public Service Department snow removal crews follow a priority for snow removal. The state highways and arterials, such as Cedar Street, Martin Luther King Blvd. Jr., Saginaw Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Aurelius Road are given first priority; major streets, such as Washington Avenue and Pleasant Grove are given second priority. Local streets are third priority and plowed if 4" or more of snow has accumulated. Generally, it takes City crews a day or two to clear snow off the arterial and major streets after which the locals are plowed. If you have concerns or emergency needs for snow removal, please call Public Service Department at 483-4161 or 483-4455.

There is a dead animal in middle of the road. Who do I call about this?

Wild animals, such as squirrels, raccoons, etc., that are in the right-of-way will be picked up by a Public Service Department representative by phoning 483-4161. Domestic animals, such as a cat or dog will be picked up by the Ingham County Animal Control by phoning 676-8370.

There is a fallen tree in the road or sidewalk. Who do I call?

Please contact the Public Service Department at 483-4161. Please provide the representative with your with your name, and the address.

There is a pothole in the road. Will the City fix that?

Call the Public Service Department’s pothole hotline at 483-4161. Our goal is to respond by one business day between November 15 and April 15. Please keep in mind that Inclement weather may prevent this goal from being achieved.

Yard Waste

My neighbor is blowing/raking the leaves from his yard into the road! What can you do about this?

Contact the Public Service Department at 483-4161. A representative will sent out to follow up on this concern. Raking or blowing leaves into the street is a violation of City Ordinance. Violators may be issued a citation. Caller's identity is kept confidential.

Will the City pick up leaves and other yard waste material?

The city provides weekly collection of leave, grass and other types of yard waste in paper yard waste bags as well as bunded brush. The season collection runs from April to November. Please follow the guidelines here: http://www.lansingmi.gov/yardwaste_curside_collection

Can I put leaves in plastic bags?

No. Unfortunately, plastic bags are not accepted. Plastic does not compost and may cause problems with the machinery and equipment used at the composting facility where the leaves and yard waste materials are delivered. Please use the brown paper bags.

Does the City pick up Christmas trees?

The City collects Christmas trees at the curbside for two weeks in January. Check lansingrecycles.com for updates.

Can I have a backyard compost pile in the City of Lansing?

Yes, you may have a compost pile or bin as long as it is properly maintained and does not attract pests or cause a nuisance to neighbors. Call 483-4400 or email recycle@lansingmi.gov for more information.

How can I learn more about composting?

Capital Area Recycling and Trash can provide information on backyard composting. Call 483-4400 or email recycle@lansingmi.gov and request an information packet.

Where can I get an affordable compost bin?

Contact CART at 483-4400 or recycle@lansingmi.gov for information about how to build your own using pallets. Bins can also be found at local lawn and garden centers.


Does the City of Lansing provide residential trash service?

Yes. Capital Area Recycling and Trash (CART) offers different choices to fit individual needs. City trash bags can be purchased at local grocery and convenience stores; OR residents can choose to sign up for a blue trash cart. 3 cart sizes are available. More information can be found here: http://www.lansingmi.gov/trash-services.

When is my pickup day?

The City of Lansing picks up trash, recycling and yard waste Monday-Thursday. Trash and yard waste are picked up weekly. Recycling is picked up every other week. To find out what your collection day is, click here: http://www.lansingmi.gov/CARTScheduleMap

How do I start new service?

Call 483-4400 to sign up.

I forgot to pay my trash bill and the City took my Blue Trash cart. How do I restart my service?

If you are delinquent paying your bill, and we have repossessed your trash container, you will need to call the CART Office at 483-4400. Staff will inform you what your late fee is and how much it will cost to re-start your service.

What happens if my trash is missed?

Please call Capital Area Recycling and Trash at 483-4400 within 24 hours and an effort will be made to have someone go back to pick it up as soon as possible. To ensure reliable service, please have trash at the curb by 7am on collection day and is visible from the street. Drivers cannot go back to pick up trash that was set out late (after 7am).


How do I get a recycling cart?

Contact CART at 483-4400 or email at recycle@lansingmi.gov.

What can I put in my recycling cart?

For a complete list of materials, click here: http://www.lansingmi.gov/recycle_greenbin

What if I have excess materials that won't fit in the cart?

Please put extra materials in a brown paper grocery bag or a cardboard box and leave it on the side of the cart.

Where can I take my plastic bags that I get from grocery stores?

Local retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Kroger accept plastic grocery bags.

I am moving. What do I do with my recycling cart?

Please leave it at your house. The recycling cart stays at the home for the next resident to use.

I change the oil in my personal vehicles. Where can I take my used oil for recycling?

Many oil change facilities and auto dealerships have oil tanks where the public can bring their oil for recycling. You can also contact the Ingham County Health Department, Environmental Health Division at 887-4312 to find if they are accepting oil for recycling and a schedule of drop-off dates and locations.

Sewage / Sewer Drains

I have a general question about my sewer. Who do I ask?

Please contact the Public Service Department at 483-4455.

What are the rates for connecting to the City of Lansing sewer system?

The current connection permit fee rate is $100 and the sewer tap fee is $225. Should the connection require excavating into the street, there will also be a road cut fee. During 2004 these fees are $9.30 per square foot of cut on local streets and $18.95 per square foot of cut on major streets. For rate information and obtaining the permits please call the Public Service Department at 483-4455.

I have a business and use water in production. I discharge this water to the sanitary sewer. Do I need a discharge permit for this?

You might. Many types of industrial and commercial business activities discharge process wastewaters to the Lansing sanitary sewer. These require Industrial User wastewater discharge permits. Please contact the Industrial Pretreatment Program Supervisor at 483-4407 to discuss this matter.

I smell a sewage odor outside my home. My neighbors smell it too. I haven't noticed this before. Is this normal?

Please contact 483-4161 to discuss this matter and we will investigate.

I noticed a sharp increase in my sewer bill this month over previous months with similar water usage. 1) Why is this so much? 2) What is the rate? 3) Why wasn't I notified?

Rate change notices go out to Lansing sewer use customers in August or September for changes taking effect on October 1. It's possible you did not receive the rate change letter. We apologize if you did not receive this letter. Please provide us with your name (correct spelling) and address, and we will mail you a copy of the letter immediately. The sewage bill pays for operation, maintenance, and equipment replacement of the City's sanitary sewer collection system, Pump Stations, and Wastewater Treatment Plant. This sewage bill also pays for the majority of the cost to continue the 30 year Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) separation project. The rate increase in 2003 was 4%. Contact 483-4404 to discuss this matter.

There is water/sewage flowing out the top of a manhole cover in the street. It's flowing over the street to the curb and into another drain. It smells bad.

Please contact the Public Service Department at 483-4161 to discuss this matter and we will investigate.

I noticed a discharge of water from a home to the curb. This water was clear and flowed to the curb drain. 1) Is this an acceptable discharge and discharge location? 2) Shouldn't this go directly to the sewer?

This type of discharge is usually from a basement sump pump that is removing water from the foundation drain. It is acceptable to discharge to the lawn provided that the water rapidly infiltrates into the lawn and does not pond. It is not acceptable to let the water run to the curb. If a better spot in the yard cannot be located to discharge the water, then the water should be pumped to a gravity lead that is connected to a combined sewer or storm sewer. The lead cannot be connected to a sanitary sewer. If you have a concern, please call the Public Service Department at 483-4455.

I have a separate meter for watering my lawn and garden. 1) Why am I being charged sewer I&I for this water? I thought this was going to be a reduced charge because it doesn't discharge to the sewer. 2) What is I&I?

I&I refers to Inflow and Infiltration. Water used for lawns and gardens seeps into the ground. This water becomes groundwater which infiltrates into failed sewers. This water also acts like rainwater which inflows into failed sewers similar to a rain event. A reduced charge is associated with transporting and processing of infiltration and inflow water received at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The City continues to investigate sewer systems to determine sewer infrastructure failures and take corrective actions. All customers with meters for lawn watering pay a fee to finance treatment and sewer repair. Please contact us at 483-4404 to discuss this.

I live near the Wastewater Plant. Lately I have noticed a foul odor coming from the plant. Isn't there something that can be done to control the odors from the plant? I shouldn't have to keep my windows closed and stay inside all day. I don't have air conditioning and my health is not good. I need a good flow of fresh air through my home. This odor is making me sick. What can be done?

We are very sensitive to odor issues at the Lansing Wastewater Treatment Plant. It is important that our neighbors find comfort and enjoy their surroundings at home or work. The Lansing Wastewater Division will make every effort to find and correct odor sources. Please be prepared to provide the following information. Your name, address and phone number.

What time of the day do you detect the odor?

Is there a specific day the odor is detected?

Please describe the odor, i.e., musty, earthy, rotten eggs, bleach, decomposing matter, etc

Please contact us at 483-4404 and we will investigate.

Can I dump my Recreation Vehicle (RV) sanitary waste at the Wastewater Treatment Plant?

No. This wastewater is considered septage. Lansing currently does not accept septage or hauled waste at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

What is all the noise coming from the Wastewater Treatment Plant?

The Wastewater Treatment facility is usually very quiet. Please contact the Wastewater Treatment Plant at 483-4404 and provide the following information:

Your name, address and phone number.

What time of the day do you hear the noise?

Is there a specific day this noise is heard?

Is the noise intermittent or continuous?

Does the noise vary in intensity and volume?

Please describe the type of noise, i.e., whistle, high pitched, grinding, low hum, etc.

Combined Sewer Overflow Project

What is this Combined Sewer Overflow project that I've been hearing about? Will my street be affected?

The Combined Sewer Overflow Project is a 30 year federally mandated program to separate sanitary and storm sewers. The object is to prevent raw sewage from entering our rivers. To find out if your street will be affected by the Combined Sewer Overflow Project (CSO), please contact the CSO hotline at 394-5566. You can also contact the Public Service Department Assistant City Engineer in charge of the project at 483-4455.

The construction workers with the Combined Sewer Overflow Project dug up my front yard and I don't think they put down enough topsoil afterwards. What are you going to do about this?

If it appears that grass is not growing properly in the restored areas, please call the Combined Sewer Overflow Project hotline at 394-5566. If additional help is needed, please contact the Public Service Department at 483-4455. Our representative will review the site and if needed, will have the grounds repaired.

I have a complaint regarding the Combined Sewer Overflow Program. Who should I contact?

You should first contact our consultant on the CSO hotline number at 394-5566 to see if they can help to resolve your concern. If you are unable to get sufficient help, contact the Public Service Department at 483-4455.

I have a drive approach (the area in the driveway between the sidewalk and the end of the driveway to the road) that needs repair. Who do I contact?

The property owner is responsible to repair the drive approach. Whenever work is being performed within the street right-of-way, a permit is required. The permit can be obtained from the Public Service Department on the 7th floor of City Hall. There will be no charge for this permit. Please call the Public Service Department at 483-4455 and request to speak with the permit engineer.

My street is torn up due to construction, and I am unable to access my driveway; therefore, I parked on the street overnight and received a parking ticket! Who do I call to get this fixed?

Please contact the Public Service Department at 483-4455. Normally, a representative from our office will provide you with a green door hanger that you hang from your vehicle's rear view mirror. Vehicles with this door hanger properly displayed are allowed to park in the street and should not receive a parking ticket. Remember that you are not allowed in park in a prohibited parking zone.

I need a road cut permit for sewer work. Who do I contact?

You don't need to contact anyone. Your contractor will obtain the permit.

I'm having trouble with my sewer. There is 1) a sewer back-up; 2) an odor; 3) water or sewage in the basement; or 4) basically something strange going on. What am I going to do?

Immediately call the Public Service Department at 483-4161. Someone is available to take your call 24 hours/day.

There’s a sinkhole/cave in the street or Right of Way, is that a City issue?

Settlement in pavement within the street right-of-way is a concern to the City. Please call the Public Service Department at 483-4161 should a sink hole be discovered, so we may respond to the situation as soon as possible.


A tree has grown onto electrical wires. Who do call to get the tree pruned?

Please contact the Board of Water and Light at 517-702-6006.

How do I get a new tree?

Contact the Public Service Department at 517-483-4161.

I want the tree cut down. Who do I call?

Contact the Public Service Department at 517-483-4161.

What is wrong with my tree?

Follow this link to Forest Pests of North America - http://www.forestpests.org/

Brush fell from a City tree. Who do I call?

Call the Public Service Department at 517-483-4161.

Chad Gamble
Public Service
7th Floor City Hall
124 W Michigan Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933
Ph: 517-483-4455
Fax: 517-483-6082

Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Thursday
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Capital Area Recycling & Trash
Monday through Thursday
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.