By Matthew Bartow / WLD
The chairs at Dexter Senior Center filled quickly as people filed in well before the regular start time at Monday’s City Council meeting, many focused on the same topic but with drastically different opinions.
The debate over affordable housing raged on at the meeting as residents of Dexter, along with board members of Avalon Housing and Faith in Action, spoke to the City Council about the proposed plan to build “affordable housing” at the site of 7651 Dan Hoey Road. The plan received both support and opposition from people addressing the Council.
Several people in opposition to the housing objected to its proximity to Dexter Community School District’s elementary schools on Dan Hoey Road.
“I would support this if not for the location,” said Virginia Wheeler, whose grandchildren attend Dexter Community Schools.
“Putting people with behavioral and mental issues within 70 feet of our schools would be a recipe for disaster,” Terri Scherdt said.
Many residents took issue with Council for never putting the issue up for a public vote.
“If you approve this, then it’s your responsibility if something happens to one of our kids,” one resident said.
“I am resentful that the local government never put this up for a vote,” Jim Pullford said. “You have eroded public confidence in your ability to serve the public interest.”
The proposed plan will call for a 24-unit development, with 15 units for supportive housing with six of the units committed for veterans with Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), according to Avalon Housing’s proposed project details.
Jane Boyce, who said she volunteers regularly at Faith and Action, said that Dexter had a moral obligation to provide housing for residents in need.
“We need to teach our children to empathize, not to only allow people in just like us,” Boyce said. “These are people that have needs and we can meet these needs.”
Note: Photo from February 2019 meeting