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| 2 min read | by Doug Marrin, dmarrin@thesuntimesnews.com |

The Dexter City Council approved an update to the City’s Master Plan at their Nov. 25, 2019 meeting.

The City’s Master Plan serves as a guide for city decision-makers to make intentional policy choices involving land use, growth, and physical community development. It is a general statement of the City’s goals and policies describing a comprehensive view of the community’s vision for the future directing daily and longer-term decisions.

“This is the culmination of about a year and a half of very hard work by the Planning Commission with the assistance of Council,” Dexter Community Development Manager Michelle Aniol told the city council in presenting the updated plan. “You guys had three very important joint work sessions between City Council and Planning Commission that really did provide the foundation for the document that you’re being asked to approve tonight.”

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Because of the dynamic nature of communities, a master plan can become outdated within a few years. The State of Michigan requires a review of master plans once every five years. This document is an amendment to the 2015 Dexter Master Plan.

Existing Land Use | Photo: City of Dexter 2019 Master Plan

The vibrant nature of Dexter prompts City leaders to anticipate circumstances such as a growing population, decentralized places of employment with increased commuting distances and conversely, an increase in those working from home.

The Plan states, “The City has responded to these challenges in a variety of ways, including a continued commitment to community planning goals and policies geared to preserving important natural features, while planning for growth in those areas most suitable for development.”

The City is using 15 different initiatives and studies such as the Baker Road/Dexter Ann Arbor Road Corridors Joint Planning Initiative (2004) and the Downtown Development Strategic Plan (2006) as guides. There are also three county initiatives that come into play for the City’s future strategies and four non-motorized pathways initiatives that will affect the community in coming years and have to be considered.

Neighboring communities have plans of their own and Dexter has to be prepared for what they are planning:

  • Scio Township – Planning for low-density residential land uses surrounding the City. The only exception to that is the planned Office/Industrial area found adjacent to Dexter Chelsea Road. This planned Office/Industrial area will primarily accommodate existing uses along this road. https://sciotownship.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2015-Scio-Township-MPFinal.pdf
  • Webster Township – Although not yet developed, Webster Township has planned a commercial node as well as an area of higher density residential land use north of the City along Mast Road. While adjacent to the City, it is separated from it by the Huron River. Outside of the Mast Road area, Webster Township has planned Recreation/Conservation and low density residential (2.5 to 3-acre lots) land uses. http://www.twp.webster.mi.us/Master%20Plan%202015%20Final%20Draft.pdf
  • Dexter Township – Only a small portion of Dexter Township actually abuts the City. That area is adjacent to the “The Cedars” senior living, a 10-acre, 60-unit facility along Island Lake Drive. http://www.dextertownship.org/BoardCommission/PlanningCommission/ MasterPlan.aspx
Future Land Use | Photo: City of Dexter 2019 Master Plan

Naturally, the Plan has a lot of goals, including:

  • Guide development to foster the responsible use of land, conserve natural features, preserve small town character and to make sustainable use of existing public services, utilities, and infrastructure.
  • Protect and maintain the City’s natural resources, particularly the Huron River and Mill Creek areas.
  • Provide recreational opportunities for all residents of the City including programs and activities offered by the City and other agencies.
  • Provide a desirable residential environment with diverse housing options for City residents.
  • Preserve and strengthen the existing character of the downtown area as a historic, pedestrian-scaled community, with traditional site and architectural design creating an aesthetically memorable place with vibrant streetscapes and community spaces.
  • Encourage cohesive development and strategic investments for this mixed use area to become a walkable corridor that acts as a gateway between the downtown area and adjacent neighborhoods.
  • Encourage cohesive and distinct development of a mix of commercial, office, service and residential uses within this area which serves as an entrance to the City as well as a transitional area between the historic Village area and the eastern portion of the City.
  • Provide quality, job producing economic development for a diverse economy within the City.
  • Facilitate safe, reliable movement by pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and transit riders through a system of complete streets interconnected with a non-motorized network.
  • Provide timely, efficient and quality police, fire, safety and governmental services and facilities to City residents, businesses and visitors.

A complete copy of the 100-page Master Plan on the City’s website can be found by following this link.

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