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Dexter's Petition to Become a City Heads to Boundary Commission for Review

The Dexter Area Historical Society does not want Gordon Hall included within a potential city.

Dexter Village’s petition to become a city is expected to go before the State Boundary Commission later this month.

According to Ann Arbor.com, Dexter Village President Shawn Keough said he received news from state surveyor Kevin O’Brien that the petition could be reviewed by the State Boundary Commission as early as June 16.

This is the village’s second attempt at becoming a city. Officials submitted their original petition to the state on Nov. 6, 2009, and were initially turned down because of what the State Boundary Commission determined to be an “insufficient legal description.”

This time around, village officials worked closely with the state before the second petition was submitted in December 2010, Assistant Village Manager Courtney Nicholls told Dexter Patch.

"Once they found (the petition) insufficient, we made some changes and went back and forth with them," Nicholls said.

Also addressed in the new petition is the issue of contiguity. In the original petition, the map of the village consisted of three separate areas that did not touch and were described as the Scio Township portion, the Westridge Subdivision and the Cedars of Dexter. Dexter officials have since added the 22-acre portion of the Gordon Hall property in Webster Township and part of the property occupied by the Mill Creek Sporting Goods Store.

To resubmit the petition, officials collected 160 signatures from eligible voters and property owners, which is nearly 7 percent of the total population of Dexter.

However, the Dexter Area Historical Society, which owns Gordon Hall, is opposed to the hall's annexation into the city.

"I don't care if they turn (Dexter) into a city, but they want to pull Gordon Hall into it, and we don't want that,” said Paul Bishop, chairman of the Gordon Hall management committee. "I am adamantly against it."

He said the boundary could have been drawn differently to solve the contiguity problem and not take in part of the Gordon Hall land.

Nicholls said the new boundary was drawn to take in the least amount of property possible with the least tax impact on property owners.

If the new petition is found to be “legally sufficient” then the state will set a public hearing in Dexter on the proposed boundary. Within 45 days any citizen can obtain signatures on a petition asking for a referendum. If no referendum petition is filed, village voters will elect a nine-member charter commission to write a city charter to submit to Gov. Rick Snyder for approval.

Once approved by the governor, the village has to vote on the charter before it can officially become a city.

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