New Development Concept for Sloan-Kingsley Property Addresses a Social Concern
The City of Dexter has been presented with an innovative development concept for the 237-acre Sloan-Kingsley property adjacent to Dexter's industrial park.
David Lutton of Baker Rd. Land Holdings, LLC, and Kerry Kafafian, Founder of Many Hands Lifesharing Community, introduced their vision for the property to the city council at its April 24, 2023, meeting.
The land is positioned outside the city limits in Scio Twp and stretches from Baker Rd to the Dexter Crossing subdivision. The proposal aims to bring diverse land uses to the area. The property, divided into 21 acres west of Baker Rd and 216 acres east of Baker Rd, would be developed to serve various purposes through three main concepts.
This is not Lutton’s first visit to Dexter in an attempt to develop the property.
“Most of those discussions related to fairly high density, and in one case, quite high-density residential development,” Lutton told the council. “As a broker at Reinhardt, I am keenly aware of what’s happened to affordability in the county and the Dexter community in particular.”
Lutton’s former plan gained no traction with the City of Dexter or Scio Twp. But his new concept addresses another social concern while preserving almost half of the property and expanding the local housing market.
The concept includes conserving 111 acres, preserving the mature woods with wetlands, and the acreage west of Baker Rd. This area features Mill Creek frontage and wetlands and is adjacent to the Scio Township Sloan Preserve. The parcel was not initially included in the Sloan Preserve because of arsenic contamination, which the developer wants to remediate to add to the existing preserve.
Lutton’s social activism involves the development of an 87-acre nonprofit campus for Home Grown Community (DBA: Many Hands), which will serve as a residential/agricultural campus for the organization. This campus will provide housing and care for developmentally disabled adults, workforce housing for employees, and accommodation for the parents and families of residents in care.
The Home Grown Community would be a unique care and living community for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
“Aging parents of disabled adults face a frightening question,” said Kafafian in an earlier conversation. “Who will care for my child?” She is the mother of an adult son with IDD.
“We plan to provide family-like homes for both individuals with IDD and their caregivers, addressing both the IDD housing and Direct Care Personnel crises simultaneously,” adds Kafafian. Of the 100 residents, one-third are IDD adults. The remaining space provides staff housing.
Kafafian stresses that the initiative is much more than housing, stressing its “community” aspect. The community will provide residents and caregivers with miles of pathways accessible to the public, a craft house, auditorium/gymnasium, kitchen with a bakery, therapeutic pool, and a cafe alongside an organic regenerative farm. Most of the Home Grown Community land, over 60%, is staying agricultural or natural.
The structures will be built using cutting-edge sustainable systems. Kafafian’s vision, when fully realized, hopes that the whole disability community, not just those living on site, will have access to the campus.
You can find more information on the Many Hands Lifesharing Community at: https://manyhandslc.org/
Finally, a 45-acre residential development of 70-75 single-family homesites will be located immediately south of the existing Dexter Crossing neighborhood. This development will require extending existing roads and Dexter's water and sewer systems from the neighborhood. Lutton hopes the development will be annexed into the City of Dexter. The houses will be in-step with Dexter Crossing homes, aimed at middle-income families.
Lutton highlights several community benefits the project would bring, such as the preservation of the land's best natural features, potential addition to the Township's trail system and links to Dexter or county trails, and accomplishing a "social good" by providing housing and services for an underserved group. The project will also maintain the agrarian nature of the property, with Many Hands considering a Conservation Easement over a portion of their property. Moreover, the development will create jobs with workforce housing, add to the county's housing stock, increase tax and utility revenues for Dexter, and boost the population of school-age children for Dexter Schools. Additionally, it will stimulate commerce for Scio Twp/Dexter businesses and provide a clear pathway for both communities after 20 years of uncertainty regarding these parcels.
Lutton has to navigate two municipalities, Dexter and Scio, to see his vision come to pass. His latest concept presents an opportunity to develop the Sloan-Kingsley property to balance conservation, residential growth, and social good.