Planning Commission tables first street park rezoning

Rezoning city owned land near the First Street right of way will have to wait awhile, if a decision is to made at all.

The Dexter Planning Commission decided to table the question of rezoning the parcel from R-3 Multiple Family Industrial to PP- public park at its Nov. 2 meeting to give the applicant, the city in this case, time to modify its request. Still active is a motion by commission member Jim Carty to deny the rezoning request.

The property at First Street between the Edison Street right of way and Cottonwood Condominiums has been festering for the city for some time. The City Council is debating whether to vacate its half of the First Street right of way to allow room for a shed to be built to store equipment for the local horseshoe club, The Dexter Ringers, and postponed a decision at its Oct. 26 meeting.

The extra space is needed to meet zoning requirements for setbacks, since some of the horseshoe pits are presently situated outside of the land designated as the First Street Park.

The location of the pits is the sticking point for Carty.

“The reality is this entire process is because (the Ringers) don’t want to move the pits,” Carty said.
The land designated as First Street Parkwas rezoned in 2006 to give the Ringers a place to go after their former home shut down. The land was used by the village to dump old equipment and after awhile it was cleaned up and became a place for the local horseshoe club to play and host tournaments.

Local residents and factory workers nearby use the park for rest and recreation as well.

Complicating matters is whether the structure should be a shed a pavilion or both. Council member Donna Fisher, who served on the Parks and Recreation Commission when the matter first came up in 2013, said all that was ever discussed was a shed to store horseshoe equipment/.

Planning Commission Chair Matt Kowalski urged members to separate the shed from the rezoning request. He favored postponing a decision to see how it fits in the master plan.

“If the city wants it as a park, that’s not a bad thing,” Kowalski said.

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