A new zoning ordinance for Dexter Township

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After years of work, Dexter Township has a new and improved zoning ordinance in place to help protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community.

The Dexter Township Board approved the adoption of a new Zoning Ordinance at a special meeting on October 13.

Township supervisor Harley Rider said rather than just amending the 2003 zoning ordinance, a whole new one was drafted to replace it.

According to Rider, for the past seven years, starting with the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee (made up of the Director of Planning & Zoning and representatives of the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Township Board) the township worked on putting together the new zoning ordinance.

“The new ordinance was adopted after many years of a committee working on it, review and more work by the Planning Commission, and more review and many changes over the course of many, many meetings of the Township Board,” Rider said. “There were numerous Public Hearings and all meetings were open to the public. Public input was used to make the new ordinance more favorable to individual property rights and reduce the need for variances in the lakes areas, while providing more tools for the Planning Commission to control development.”

Here’s one section of the drafted zoning ordinance:

The intent and purpose of this Ordinance is to promote and protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by incorporating provisions aimed at achieving the following:

(A) Preventing the overcrowding of land and undue concentration of structures and uses by regulating the intensity of use of land and lot areas and determining the areas of open spaces surrounding buildings and structures necessary to protect adequate light, air, privacy, and convenience of access to properties;

(B) Reducing flooding and water pollution;

(C) Protecting against explosion, noxious fumes and odors, heat, dust, smoke, glare, noise, radioactivity, and other nuisances and hazards;

(D) Protecting against fire and facilitating the fighting of fires;

(E) Managing and lessening the impacts of congestion on public highways and streets;

(F) Promoting the orderly and beneficial development of the agricultural, recreational, residential, lake, and commercial areas within the Township’s zoning jurisdiction, based on a consideration of the character and suitability of these areas;

(G) Encouraging use of lands and natural resources in accordance with their character, adaptability, and suitability for particular purposes;

(H) Encouraging adequate and economical provision of transportation, sewerage, drainage, water supply and distribution, education, recreation, and other public services and facilities;

(I) Promoting adequate provision for the State’s citizens of food, fiber, energy, and other natural resources;

(J) Allowing for a variety of residential housing types, commercial, institutional, and public uses;

(K) Conserving and preserving the value of land, buildings, and structures;

(L) Prohibiting uses or structures that are incompatible with the character of development, uses, or structures permitted within zoning districts;

M) Fixing reasonable standards with which all structures and uses shall comply;

(N) Preventing additions to, alterations of, or remodeling of existing buildings or structures in a manner to avoid the provisions and limitations imposed in this Ordinance;

(O) Providing for the completion, restoration, reconstruction, extension, or substitution of legally non- conforming structures and uses;

(P) Establishing standards that are consistent with and promote the Master Plan; and

(Q) Providing for the administration, enforcement, and amendment of this Ordinance

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