Outdoor dining coming to Dexter Township


In the months ahead, an outdoor dining option is expected to come to Dexter Township.

With an approval in hand, the Inverness Inn can now move forward with constructing an outdoor dining area at its location on North Territorial Road.

The plan for the outdoor seating went before the Dexter Township Planning Commission at its Feb. 9 special meeting. After a discussion, with some stipulations and clarifications presented, the planning commission unanimously approved the amendment to an already approved site plan.

The meeting was held virtually over Zoom.

According to the Dexter Township planning commission staff report, Inverness Inn is defined as a commercial restaurant and the last time it was before the township was in July 2013 when it received approvals for a revised special land use and preliminary and final site plan.

This latest decision was an amendment to that plan.

After the vote, Inverness co-owner Scott Padden told the commission they are looking forward to having this new seating option available for their customers.

“Thank you,” Padden said to the planning commission after its approval.

The project narrative, provided in the township staff report, said the owners of the property located at 13996 N. Territorial Road are looking to build a 600 square foot (30 foot by 20 foot) outdoor dining deck. The purpose of the proposed deck is to allow an outdoor dining option. The deck would also reduce indoor seating and help reduce Covid-19 virus spread.

Features of the proposed deck will include: handicap accessible ramp, seating for 26 people and decorative rail lighting.

There would be no additional parking because the plan is to utilize what parking is already there by balancing out the seating from the inside with the outside.

The deck will be on the north side of the building.

As part of the final approval by the planning commission, there is to be no outdoor sound system and no additional exterior lighting. After some discussion about the time it can be used, it was decided it could be year-round and open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

During the public hearing, Joel Craig of the Park Lawn Beach Association Board spoke on behalf of the neighborhood group that resides near the Inn.

Craig said there were a few neighbor concerns. He cited noise as well as lighting. Both of these appear to have been ironed out in the final planning commission decision.

He was told if they are concerns moving forward then to contact the township.

David Rohr, Director of Planning and Zoning for Dexter Township, said the owners of Inverness Inn have emphasized they want to be good neighbors so the lighting and noise concerns are being addressed in the plan by not adding them and not allowing outdoor music or a sound system.

Inverness expects to re-open its door in March and the outdoor dining option should become more of a reality in the coming months.

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