Dexter City Council voted to approve the special land use and building permits for a new cafe set to be built on Broad Street later this year.
Strawberry Alarm Clock, 3441 Broad St., will be a European-style cafe serving coffee, tea, smoothies and locally-sourced fresh food.
Several community members spoke out against the proposed cafe during Monday’s meeting. Long-time resident Ted Tear cited the neighborhood’s historic value to the area. Broad Street was one of the first streets built leading into Dexter.
“This building that they’re proposing doesn’t look at all like it belongs in the neighborhood,” Tear said. “We don’t need a new building in our neighborhood that does not fit our neighborhood.”
Tear also expressed a fear of the cafe bringing in too much traffic to the area.
“We don’t want a hangout for kids in our neighborhood, next thing you know they’ll be selling dope,” he said.
Owner Jack Savas, who is investing more than $500,000 into the project, said part of his goal with the Strawberry Alarm Clock cafe is to help create a more walkable district that works with the current look and feel of the area.
“It’s a coffee shop, it’s not a fracking operation,” he said. “We’re not trying to change the landscape of the neighborhood, we’re trying to actually integrate it.”
The project went through five design phases in the planning commission before being passed on to city council for final approval. Community Development Director Michelle Aniol explained that the building and it’s proposed use is consistent with the city’s Master Plan and follows all ordinances.
“This particular area is a very unique mix of residential and variety of densities at that,” she said. “You’ve got a lot going on in this one little area. It epitomizes what your village residential intent is to be.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Raymond Tell voted to support the project, reiterating Aniol’s comments about the plan’s consistency with the city’s Master Plan and ordinances.
“It sure seems to tie-in to what we wanted to do once-upon-a time,” he said. “We wanted to encourage diversity, walking community, connectivity. I believe people will like a ‘non-traditional’ neighborhood. I think this is a positive plan.”
The special land use passed 6-1, with Council Member Jim Smith as the dissenting vote.
Several council members expressed a dislike for the building’s design, which is more modern that the surrounding residential buildings.
“I don’t like this building, ” Council Member Jim Carson said. “I think that it is worth looking at another design.”
Smith and Carson offered a motion to postpone the vote to ask Savas and his designer for a sixth re-design, which failed 5-2.
The building permit passed 4-3. Council members Smith, Donna Fisher and Jim Carson represented the dissenting votes.