Dexter Planning Commission Delays Review on The Pelham's Revised Condo Plans
The Dexter Planning Commission held a public hearing at its August 7th meeting to listen to input from area residents regarding “The Pelham.”
The Pelham is a proposed condominium development for 8180 Main St. by Pelham, LLC. The proposed site is the empty lot across Mill Creek from Dexter’s fire station. The project consists of two four-story buildings, each with 14 condos (28 total), 20 underground parking spaces (40 total), and 16 surface parking spaces.
Developer Jeff Mahaney began the hearing by presenting an overview of The Pelham and responded to city feedback and public pushback on the proposed condos. “We’re really, really happy to be here again now that we’ve made some revisions, said Mahaney. “We heard what you had to say. We’ve tried to come back with some very responsible answers to your questions and look forward to moving forward.”
Among the changes Mahaney noted was reducing the plans to two buildings from its original three. The new proposal also moved the locations of the buildings further away from Mill Creek and dropped the two units a half-story lower into the ground, with the majority of the parking under the buildings.
“We’re looking to really have the property feel like a true residential neighborhood with street lamps, lighting, pathways on the property,” said Mahaney. “It’s going to be fairly special in that it’s not just a condominium. There’s a substantial amount of land that’s left for people to enjoy.”
Megan Masson-Minock of Carlisle-Wortman Assoc., consultants for the city, confirmed the changes stating to the Planning Commission, “There has been a number of changes since this development was before you for conceptual review.” Masson-Minnock then highlighted some of those changes included in her detailed report, which can be found in the planning commission meeting packet for Aug. 7th, posted on the city’s website.
One of the dominant criticisms of the condos by area residents is the increased traffic it will create for an already troublesome corner and viaduct. Masson-Minnock reported that projections show about 82 vehicle trips a day. Property owner Nate Pound has also previously stated he believes a residential development will add less traffic than a popular city park/trailhead or a brewpub, which had been previously proposed with enthusiastic public support.
During the public hearing, attendees had other criticisms of The Pelham plans. Seven city residents and three non-residents expressed their views.
“These will be the tallest structures in Dexter. These proposed 50-foot eyesores will overlook the backyards of the residents in the West Ridge neighborhood. How would you all feel if two 50-foot observation decks were built only a few feet away from your home, many of which are recently constructed by your fellow residents with the expectation of some semblance of privacy?”
“The current residents need reasons to come downtown. We need more paths. We need a reason to be there and use the paths, to interact with other residents…for that, we need more community spaces, not more condos or apartments.”
Another speaker expressed an opinion that The Pelham high-density housing conflicts with the city’s Master Plan of preserving the city's small-town character.
Not everyone who spoke opposed The Pelham.
“I support the idea of having extra housing, you know, additional residences on that property…We need more housing in Dexter so that our children can live here and future residents of this property that support the local downtown businesses.”
Nate Pound owns the vacant property at 8180 Main St. He purchased the property about seven years ago after Mill Creek Sporting Goods shut down and abandoned the building. He razed the deteriorating structure, which housed an indoor pistol range, and cleaned up the lead contamination.
When it was his turn to speak, Pound characterized the “somewhat aggressive opposition” as the minority viewpoint that never opposed earlier proposals for the property, such as a bike shop, microbrewery/restaurant, and beer garden. Pound is a Dexter resident and believes the condominiums will greatly benefit downtown merchants.
“I've talked to most of the owners of the businesses in the past few weeks, and not one of them was in opposition to this proposition,” said Pound. “I feel like some of the opposition has garnered steam by misinformation, which is really disappointing.”
After the public hearing was closed, the Planning Commission voted to postpone its review of The Pelham site plan to allow the developers time to address comments and concerns in reviews submitted by Carlisle-Wortman Assoc., OHM Advisors, Dexter Area Fire Department, and the City of Dexter.
More detailed information can be found in the Planning Commission meeting packet and video posted on the city’s website.