Dexter Community Update 01-11-21


Social district sign in Dexter. Photo by Doug Marrin

By Doug Marrin

Social District Update: Signage, barricades, and tent have been installed. The Beer Grotto, Erratic Ales, and Aubree’s applied for their social district permits with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The Beer Grotto and Erratic Ales have received their permits. The City has sent a reminder to Dexter’s Pub. The City is distributing the required labels for the designated cups to the businesses that have applied for a permit.

Outdoor Service Area Text Amendment: The City Staff is continuing to develop the language per Council’s direction. The revised text will then go back to the Planning Commission for another Public Hearing before returning to the Council for action.

Medical Marijuana: The Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing for February 1, 2021, for the purpose of considering a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to define marijuana and establish medical use of marijuana as a home occupation.

Read more at Dexter Sets Public Hearing for Marijuana Ordinance

Goal Setting Work Session: City Council held its first annual goal setting workshop Saturday, January 9. A second session is scheduled for January 13. The meeting may be accessed by visiting the following link:; or by calling 877-853-5247 and dialing the meeting ID 973 6149 0863#

In advance of the City's Goal Setting Work Sessions, City Council would like to invite the public to provide input on the City's goals and priorities for the upcoming year. Members of the public that wish to share thoughts and comments with City Council regarding the City's goals, objectives, priorities, or budget, may submit them in writing via e-mail to, or by mail/delivery to 8123 Main St., 2nd Floor, Dexter, MI 48130.

Management Intern: The City’s new Graduate Management Intern, Rebecca Mendelsohn, began her position on January 4th. Rebecca is a Masters of Public Policy student at University of Michigan’s Ford School.

Liquor License Review: In 2016, City Council adopted standards for review of liquor licenses for businesses located in the City. Annually, in January or February, city staff contacts the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office and DAFD, and searches MLCC violations and provides City Council a report on the status of liquor licenses in the City. Staff anticipates having this review included as part of the City Manager Report for the January 25th or February 8th meetings.

St. James Request: The City received a request from Jerry Brand on behalf of St. James Church at 3279 Broad St. regarding a broken clay sewer lead. Work was performed in October to identify the cause of a sewer back-up issue and to fix the broken lead causing the issue. Mr. Brand has requested that the City financially participate in fixing the sewer lead. City staff is gathering additional information to be able to appropriately respond to the request.

Meeting Space Rental and Virtual Meetings: The Governor signed Senate Bill 1246, which amended the Open Meetings Act to permit no-reason virtual meetings through March 31, 2021. The City continues talks with The Encore and St Andrew’s for use of their space for meetings when the act expires this spring.

Fire Needs Assessment: As requested by City Council, DAFD Chief Smith provided his updates to the Fire Station Review (Needs Assessment) document. The assessment can be found in the City Council meeting packet for January 11 posted on the City’s website.

City Staffing: In response to the COVID pandemic and the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID restrictions, staff re-instituted a split staggered schedule for all staff starting on November 18th. Coming out of the December holidays, staff will be continuing this staggered schedule at least through January 19, 2021.

Consent Agenda: In its consent agenda, the Council approved bills and payroll in the amount of: $82,056.63. Details can be found in the Council packet.

Pet Ownership—Amendments to the General Code of Ordinances (Section 10-38): During Council’s December 14, 2020 regular meeting, Council held a public hearing to take comments on proposed text amendments to the City of Dexter General Code of Ordinances regarding commercial kennels and pet ownership. Following the public hearing, Council voted to postpone action on the proposed amendments to allow staff to revise the General Code and corresponding Zoning Ordinance amendment language.

The purpose of the text amendments is to reconcile conflicting language between the General Code and Zoning Ordinance, and clarify that residents who own four or more pets are not required to obtain special land use approval and an annual zoning compliance permit. The corresponding Zoning Ordinance text amendment would re-establish the annual zoning compliance permit requirement for commercial kennels under the Zoning Ordinance.

The Council voted to approve the amendments.

Commercial Kennels—Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance: Similar to the pet ownership amendments, the City found that the ordinance regarding commercial kennels also needed modifying to reconcile conflicting language between the Zoning Ordinance and General Code, and clarify that residents who own four or more pets are not required to obtain special land use approval and an annual zoning compliance permit.

The amendments would also establish an annual permit requirement for commercial kennels under the Zoning Ordinance, which is currently required under the General Code but would be removed under the corresponding General Code amendment.

City Council approved the amendments.

Board of Review Hardship Guidelines: Each year, local units of government are required to adopt guidelines for the administration of hardship property tax exemptions by the Board of Review.

Following its discussion of this year’s guidelines, the Council voted to postpone approval to give Staff time to research the peculiarities that COVID may have created for some residents.

Adoption of the Parks and Recreation Commission 2021-2026 Parks and Recreation Master Plan: The Parks and Recreation Commission began discussing an update to the 5-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan in late-2019. The Commission officially initiated the update process in January 2020 with a review of the existing plan and updates to the administrative sections to the plan. In May 2020, a public survey was released, which remained open until October 2020. This survey received 124 responses. On October 13, 2020, the Commission hosted a public input meeting. This meeting involved exercises to solicit feedback and the presentation of responses from the public survey. The Parks and Recreation Commission then held a special meeting on Tuesday, November 10th to set the required 30-day public comment period and public hearing date for December 15, 2020.

The Council voted to approve the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, a copy of which may be found on the City’s website.

Bid for the Mill Creek Park Slope Improvements—Phase 1: The purpose of this project is to improve the landscape to slope area on both sides of the stairs between Mill Creek Park and the Dexter Farmers Market. The project involves

  1. Cutting brush and trees within the project limits and treating the stumps with appropriate herbicide on both sides of the Farmers Market stairs.
  2. Minor excavation to create a more even slope
  3. Replanting the slope with native species of trees, shrubs, and plugs
  4. Installing mulch in the landscaped area
  5. Maintaining and warrantying the plants for one year

The City received seven bids for the project. City Council voted to accept the bid for Evergreen Tree and Restoration for $20,892. Evergreen was the low-bidder.

More detailed information on the reports and motions can be found in the Council meeting packet posted on the City’s website.

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