Large Residential Development Proposed Adjacent to Dexter


The 240-acre Sloan Kingsley property is in Scio Township adjacent to Dexter City limits at Bishop Circle Industrial Park and Dexter Crossings neighborhood. Image: Google edited by Doug Marrin to show the approximate location of the property.

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

Development for the Sloan-Kingsley property near Dexter has once again come up out of the ice for air on its glacial march forward.

At its July 11 meeting, Dexter City Council listened to Dave Lutton, principal investor for the property’s new ownership group, present his team’s general concept for residential development of the 240 acres.

“Washtenaw County home buyers face the most extremely competitive, least affordable housing market in my 48 years in real estate,” said Lutton. “It has never been harder to buy a home than it is today.”

Lutton noted that the Sloan-Kingsley property development has been discussed for at least the past 20 years. He also stated that the 25-30% increase in property value that existing homeowners have enjoyed over the past two years is actually “an unhealthy statistic for the market and for people trying to get into the market today.”

With this in mind, Lutton told the Council, “We think that it is the right time. We think that the Sloan Kingsley properties are the right location to help alleviate some of the problems that exist in the local housing market.”

Lutton’s group proposes a high-density development offering many different housing styles to achieve affordability. “By itself, density contributes to more affordable housing or a word I like to use these days, ‘attainable’ housing,” he said. “Density helps you spread costs and reduce the price of the end product.”

The Sloan-Kingsley property is located adjacent to the southern border of Dexter’s city limits on Baker Road in Scio Township. Mr. Lutton referenced Scio Township’s new master plan that describes the Baker Road corridor from I-94 to the city limits as a “gateway district.”

“What that means is that Scio Township is envisioning greater density than any of their previous master plans,” said Lutton. “This is a new and significant change in their master plan.”

Scio Township finalized its new master plan last November, which includes the expected development of the “gateway district” on Baker Road into Dexter. Pictured here is Baker Road leading into Dexter with the Sloan-Kingsley property on the right. Image: Google.

The key to the project is sewer services. Earlier concepts for the 240 acres included less than 300 units. These plans included a wastewater treatment plant. With changes to Scio’s master plan, Mr. Lutton believes the development calls for more units that require hooking into Dexter’s wastewater system.

The property owners’ concept is for housing that serves and is affordable to age groups from young families to retirees. The group also sees apartments as a necessary component. Different styles would be incorporated to avoid a cookie-cutter look.

Much of the property is woods with wetlands. Lutton explained that these areas would be designated for Scio Township’s land preservation program, including the parcel on the west side of Baker Road near the stream. In addition to the land preservation, he told the Council the project would benefit Dexter economically and Dexter schools.

Councilmember Michels echoed the benefit for the schools, explaining that the Dexter area population boom that began in the 1990s that caused the schools to expand has peaked. “The schools will need kids,” he said.

Michels also said, “I’m very enthusiastic about this project if it is done well. The reason I like the potential is that it’s south of town, which means we’re going to have people but not traffic through downtown. I’m very excited to hear about the different types of housing…to hear it’s not a typical subdivision.”

The presentation is the starting point for discussions between the City and Lutton’s group to test the water, or more specifically the wastewater, to see if there is enough interest to proceed in earnest.

Lutton left the Council with two questions to consider:

  1. Is this a desirable project to embark on?
  2. Are you willing to work collaboratively to figure out all the things that need to be figured out?

He said in closing, “I’m hoping you’ll view this as a logical and strategic development and one that will be positive for the Dexter community and that you’ll join us in a collaborative effort.”

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