Encore, street dining, J. Pumpkin | Dexter Community Update 05-11-20


| 3 min | from Courtney Nicholls, Michelle Aniol, with Doug Marrin |

City Manager Courtney Nicholls and Community Development Manager Michelle Aniol submitted their reports to the Dexter City Council at their May 11, 2020 meeting. Below are some of the highlights from recent projects. The entire reports can be found on the city’s website in the meeting packet for that date.

Encore Theatre Applications

On May 4th, The Planning Commission continued its review and consideration of the Encore Theatre’s conditional rezoning and special land use requests. Following presentations by the Carlisle-Wortman Assoc., OHM Advisors, the City Attorney, and staff, a motion to recommended denial of the conditional rezoning application was made based on the finding that the applicant’s submittal was incomplete. The PC was also concerned that the project, as proposed, would negatively impact the surrounding neighborhood.

After a very robust discussion the applicant asked for the case to be postponed. A motion was made to postpone action to the Planning Commissions June meeting. The postponement allows the applicant to provide required information.

Suggestion: Closing On-Street Parking to Expand Seating

The city staff received a suggestion from a Dexter resident that, for this summer only, all summer the city rope off on-street parking spaces on the north side of Main Street, between Alpine and Broad Streets, to allow the Dexter Riverview Café, Dexter’s Pub, and the Creamery to set up outdoor seating. This could allow those businesses an opportunity to open, while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Closing off all the on-street parking on the north side of Main Street, between Alpine and Broad Streets, would require sign off from other businesses, such as Whit’s End, the Barber Shop, and the Karate Studio. The city will confer with these businesses as to the effect they believe such a move may have on them.

In the meantime, city staff recommends that temporary curbside signage remains in place.

Jolly Pumpkin Outdoor Seating

The city received an inquiry from Jolly Pumpkin if it would be possible to get approval for temporary outdoor seating for its tasting room/kitchen. The company sees outdoor seating as a key to their survival this summer.

The city has asked Jolly Pumpkin for details such as:
• Size of the outdoor seating area and its location;
• Would there be a tent or would it be open-air;
• Number of tables and chairs;
• Would there be table service for food and beverage or would patrons order inside and then take their order outside to consume;
• Hours of operation;
• How would trash be handled;
• How would be outdoor seating area be lighted;
• Would there be music or other entertainment; etc.

City ordinance defines temporary uses and seasonal events as uses intended for limited duration within any zoning district. Temporary uses and seasonal sales events may include carnivals, circuses, farmers markets, art fairs, craft shows, sidewalk sales, antique sales, Christmas tree sales, flower sales, and similar events.

City ordinances allow for the use of land and structures for special events and other temporary uses. Once a formal plan is submitted, it will be reviewed by the city’s Zoning Administrator.

COVID-19 Related Updates

Waste Management began picking up one bulk item again on Monday, May 4, 2020.

More staff members are now physically present in the City Office Monday through Friday. The city is hoping to have all staff present starting the week of May 18th. The decision to bring everyone back will be made the week of May 11th. Staff members are required to wear a mask when more than two employees are in an enclosed space or when two employees are together and can’t maintain 6-foot distance between them.

Meals on Wheels delivery is going well. They have received additional donations and are currently financially stable.

WAVE has furloughed their drivers. They are working on plans to outfit the buses with plexiglass shields for the drivers and the ability to take credit/debit cards for fares. WAVE hopes to gradually restart some services in mid to late June.

Absentee Voter Sign-Up

Voters who wish to be added to the permanent absentee voter list, which means they will receive an absentee ballot application automatically for every election, can now sign up at https://www.washtenaw.org/FormCenter/Clerk-25/Permanent-Absent-Voter-List-Registration-179.

Once the voter enters their information, it is sent to the City Clerk. Absentee voter applications that were returned for the May Election will be used for the August Election. Absentee ballot applications for the August election will be mailed in mid-May. This will be a dual application that will cover both the August and November election.

Census 2020

The current response rate in the City for the 2020 Census is 75.3%. This is
higher than the Washtenaw County rate of 68.5% and the overall State of Michigan rate
of 63.3%.

Parks and Recreation 5-Year Master Plan Survey

The Parks and Recreation Commission has begun the process of updating the 5-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan. To be approved, the Master Plan requires two forms of public input. As with the 2016 – 2021 Plan, a public survey is being designed to be one method of public input for the 2021 – 2026 Plan.