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Dexter Township Permanent Fire Station on Hold While Board Discusses Alternate Land Option

The 5-acre parcel of land the township planned to purchase for the fire station was sold on Dec. 31, 2012.

Plans to build a permanent fire substation in Dexter Township are in limbo after the property the township planned to purchase was sold on Dec. 31.

According to Dexter Township Supervisor Pat Kelly, talks with PJK Dexter, LLC, who owns the 5-acre property at 11485 N. Territorial Road fell through after the township failed to purchase the property at a cost of $262,000 prior to the expiration of its purchase agreement on Nov. 14, 2012.

Kelly said by the time the board authorized approval at its Dec. 18 meeting, the landowner was already in negotiations with the owners of the Inverness Inn in Chelsea.

The township had planned to purchase the property and build the station, which would put 98 percent of the township's residents within 5 miles of a fire department.

Kelly said the loss of the property will significantly impact the scope of the project.

"We are discussing several options, none of which are good alternatives," Kelly said.

One option would be to condemn and take the property through eminent domain, she said.

"Personally I believe we have a good shot of making that happen, but obviously our first step would be to make an offer to buy the property," Kelly said.

Other options include purchasing land from the MultiLakes Sewer Authority, Lyndon Township, or a neighboring township.

"Unforunately the further we move from our desired location, the more residents will be affected," Kelly said. "Even moving the station 7/10ths of a mile west (of North Territorial Road) willl leave a lot of homes around Portage Lake out of the 5-mile coverage area."

Township Clerk Harley Rider said he expects the board to discuss alternative locations for the station at its meeting on Jan. 15.

"I'm not a proponent of condemnation," he said. "There are other options out there that are worth discussing."

Rider said he didn't want to blame any one person for the loss of the property, but he acknowledged that the township could have acted quicker.

"We could've called a special meeting prior to the expiration of the purchase agreement to work out any issues," he said. "There were a number of errors that caused this purchase to fall through."

Rider said he still has hopes that the station could begin construction in the fall if the township finds another parcel of land that doesn't require a lot of environmental clean-up.

"I'm optimistic that we will still have shovels in the ground this fall," he said.

During the November general election, Dexter Township voters approved up to 1-mill tax levy for seven years to fund the new fire substation.

Marilyn Wilkie January 07, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Mr. Walker, the Multi Lakes site is less than a mile west of the site they neglected to buy. Check the Dexter Township map here: http://goo.gl/maps/IuKZG
Barbara Read January 07, 2013 at 02:23 PM
You won't find much detail, but the Dexter Township meeting minutes are online here. http://twp-dexter.org/boards Click the link, go to the right-hand column to click on the board or commission you want, and then go to the right-hand column again to click "minutes."
dextermom January 07, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Why did the seller let the deal slide? I know if I was the owner of a property in escrow/under contract I would make my realtor earn their money and make a reminder call to the purchaser regarding a closing date etc.. I noticed the initials of the supervisor are similar to the LLC name. Are they one and the same? That would be a conflict of interest, so I assume not.
Pat Kelly January 07, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Dear dextermom, The partners of the LLC (PJK Dexter, LLC) are two men from the Flint area. Neither of the partners has any connection whatsoever with me.
Scott January 08, 2013 at 02:03 AM
Who are the board members that were entrusted in DIRECTLY DEALING with PJK Dexter? They are the ones responsible. Who, if anyone is investigating what happened? Hopefully, board members who were not DIRECTLY INVOLVED with PJK Dexter. Are questions going to be answered by those DIRECTLY DEALING with the owners of the land? Will the issue of investigating what happened going to be discussed at the next meeting or just another location? Barbara, thanks to the link of the Board Minutes. On November 20, 2012 the Township Supervisor was authorized to finalize the purchase of the land. What happened?
Scott January 08, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Sorry, I made a type o. The Special Board Meeting was November 30, 2012.Those minutes say that the Supervisor was AUTHORIZED to again present the offer. At the December 19, 2012 regular meeting, the Supervisor was DIRECTED to again present the offer. WHAT HAPPENED?
John Klocek January 08, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Scott, if you read the article above it clearly states that the contract expired 6 days BEFORE she was authorized. I myself am a private Dexter township resident that attends meeting from time to time and I can tell you 2 things that I have noticed #1 for the most part the only people attending the meetings are the ones with issues (zoning,approvals ect..) never to be seen again once their business has been taken care of. # 2 a certain group of board members ( lets just say old timers) do nothing but throw monkey wrenches into everything that comes before the board and those from my own personal observation should be the ones held responsible. just for the record I do not know any of the board members personally nor am i related to any member, I attend meetings from time to time to do my American duty of keeping our elected officials on notice that people do pay attention. one meeting last year the topic was to repair the township parking lot (alligator cracks all over the parking lot, retaining water ect..) at that time it could be repaired not a total rebuild, however the same group that delayed the fire station purchase put a halt on the repairs of the parking lot, now 2 winters later we will (the tax payers of Dexter township) will have to pay the higher price to rebuild the parking lot. This needs to stop and the Board needs to work together without hindrances from people with personal agendas
Laura Jones January 08, 2013 at 05:25 PM
John, that is really concerning. What hindrances were put in the way of purchasing the new fire station land?
scott dugen January 08, 2013 at 07:30 PM
John, I don't attend board meetings or know any of the board members, but I do have a personal interest in the new fire station. Thank you for your personal observation. I still feel this matter needs to be looked into more closely and I hope it is.
John Klocek January 09, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Authorization could and should of been granted to purchase the property in the November board meeting. The board was aware of a potential 2nd interested party. The only people to blame with the loss of the property are the board members that voted to table it. The prior owner and the new purchaser it was pure free enterprise. As far as boycott or recall that's just a knee jerk reaction and is not in the best interest of anyone The board worked well after the destruction of the tornado and that type of professionalism needs to carried out on a month to month basis.
Laura Jones January 09, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I'm really confused now. The minutes of the Township board state that approval to purchase was tabled on November 20th due to a lack of information on a Covenant Deed, Warranty Deed and Title Insurance and a legal explanation. Motion was by Lesser, seconded by Howard and it doesn't say who voted for or against it. A special meeting was held 10 days later on November 30th where approval was given to make the purchase final. Presumably all the missing information was provided by then. Interestingly enough, there was no mention in either meeting minutes about the (lapsed) purchase agreement. If the dates Daniel has reported are correct, the agreement had in fact lapsed prior to ANY Township Board meeting in November. Which leaves me with questions about who was in charge of the project. Was the board advised of this agreement expiration at either November meeting? Was anyone in contact with the seller advising them that the Township intended to continue to purchase? If not, why not? I don't know that eminent domain will be other than the only remaining option. As much as I dislike it, there don't seem to be too many other viable options that serve the original plan and intended and voted for. I do not see any official explanations, but perhaps some Board member will be kind enough to provide one here on posted at the Township web site.
Alexa January 10, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Very interesting Laura, The hold up was because some important legal documents were not given to the other board members.MY impression from the article was that Kelley was blaming all board members. Big mistake Pat Kelley. Quote from Kelley (Kelly said by the time the board authorized approval at its Dec. 18 meeting, the landowner was already in negotiations with the owners of the Inverness Inn in Chelsea.)The board members directed her on the 19th of December to make another offer. Why was the board left out of the loop after the direction was made. Starting to sound like the big mistake the board members made, was in giving the responsibility to Kelley. To all board members - Please replace Pat Kelley with someone else on the board. Even better, with two members.
Roger McDonough January 12, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Alexa, What "important legal documents" were not given to the other board members?
Roger McDonough January 13, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Laura, According to an article in The Sun Times*, the motion to table the property acquisition (made by Lesser, seconded by Howard) was supported by Lesser, Howard, Brushaber, Buchholz, and Rider. It was not supported by Kelly and Maciejewski. * Source: Baird, Melinda "Dexter Township Board Loses Property Tied to Millage" The Sun Times [Stockbridge] 8 January 2013 : 1. Print
Amos Walker January 13, 2013 at 05:00 PM
I know exactly where it is Marilyn, in fact I know it is 6/10th of a mile from the intersection of N. Territorial and Dexter Town Hall Rd. I live right there. The issue is that this site moves the station closer to the area around Portage Lake a highly populated area. If you live within 5 miles of a fire station your insurance costs are lower. Moving it to Multi Lakes takes that away. Read the report. The board blundered and they have to fix it to avoid looking like something fishy is going on.
Amos Walker January 13, 2013 at 05:05 PM
My understanding is that the board was not aware of another interested party until the day after the vote by five board members to put off the sale right on the expiration date. If the delay was intentional in order to allow a "friend" the ability to make an offer that to me is corruption.
Amos Walker January 13, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Thank you Roger, now we know who is responsible for this mess and who needs to do some explaining. Makes me think of Detroit city council with a competent leader dealing with people who should not be in any public office.
Amos Walker January 13, 2013 at 05:11 PM
You have it backwards Alexa. See Roger McDonough's statement above. Pat Kelly and Jason Maciejewski opposed the delay, which would have allowed the Township's purchase to go forward. It is inconceivable why any legal issue would have been worthy of a delay, legal issues can be worked out before closing. Only the five who voted for the delay are to blame and they need to show they are not in cahoots with the new buyer. This looks really bad since nothing makes any sense.
Amos Walker January 13, 2013 at 05:14 PM
I am disappointed to read that Pat. The voters approved this station at Dexter Town Hall Rd and N Territorial. This is a prime cause for a land seizure by govt, especially since it was very public of the township's intent and that the seller apparently did not allow the township to make a counter offer. If the township does not get the land how long will we have to put up with that ugly building?
Laura Jones January 13, 2013 at 07:55 PM
They were ALL LATE! The agreement expired before ANY of the meetings took place. I also want to know who was supposed to provide the information that was not presented at the first meeting. Who executed the purchase agreement and then let it lapse without calling for a special meeting? Seems like there is a lot of blame to go around.
jack clayton January 16, 2013 at 03:53 AM
All the talk over looks what I feel is really the main issue at least in my opinion. That is that The location is really not a good one for a fire station. Many wrecks over the years... Many people going to work in both directions doing everything but paying attention... poor vision and so on. One FD rig was already destroyed at this corner years ago in a light ice storm... Just get another location, OK? jack clayton
Marilyn Wilkie January 16, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Yeah Jack, it's kind of like a bunch of little kids that want some ice cream or something. Just move down the road less than a mile. No nasty intersection, already a government type of site. Still pretty close to the center. Just get on with it...as I understand they are.
Jason V February 07, 2013 at 11:59 AM
I could really case less who owns that property or by what means they acquired it. Just do something with the dame thing, I'm sick of driving passed that burned out dump!
Jean Kopinski February 25, 2013 at 12:58 AM
I have not read all of your comments but I happened to know that 11620 N. Territorial is going up for sale and I think it would be a great place for the fire station.. This is directly across from the Restaurant you are all talking about. On the hill. Stay tune.
Albion February 28, 2013 at 08:15 PM
John, I do not agree that the board members are to blame. It is obvious to me that if Supervisor Kelly had given ALL the information to the board in the first place, there would have been no delay. I'm glad the members of the board, were responsible enough NOT to make a decision until ALL documents were reviewed. The board members are professional in not blaming anyone.In my opinion, they ALL know Kelly is to blame.Although, Jason seems to be easily manipulated by Kelly. Kelly blames the board and Daniel Lei helps her succeed with his articles. I find him to be bias. In my opinion, Daniel is not fair in presenting the facts. Some comments that the board makes are not reported at all. Some comments from members of the Public Safety Committee are not reported that do not support Kelly's agenda. Only members of the PSAC that do support Kelly's agenda are reported. It has been stated that the only property looked into was the North Territorial Property. So PSAC did not look into any others. Multi Lake is a great location, why wasn't that looked into? I heard, Kelly said a fire station could not be built on that property. I wish more members of the board would throw more questions at her. Are they also intimidated by Kelly.If someone does not support her agenda or questions her, she becomes, DRAMATIC as if to say HOW DARE YOU, defensive, takes comments personally & is easily offended. Start ignoring her ranting & raving board members and start questioning her more!!!!! Please!!!!
Albion February 28, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Roger, The information was given to the board on November 20, 2012. Missing documents were ALL of COMPLETE & ACCURATE Schedule B, Covenant Deed. Question, was a Warranty Deed needed in lieu of a Covenant Deed? or at least adequate information by legal counsel as to why Dexter Township should accept a Covenant Deed instead of a Warranty Deed along with sufficient Title Insurance. These documents are extremely important to have. Supervisor Kelly did not have all the needed answers or all of the documentation the board needed to make a responsible decision. My question,why didn't Pat Kelley think of these questions or have the answers? My opinion, she is not competent. Supervisor Kelley is to blame. And yes I'm blaming. Kelly blames the board so the attention can be taken away from her. The board members are taking the high road and not putting blame on any one person. I had respect for Jason in the past. But he also voted to go ahead without NEEDED INFORMATION!!! I'm glad he wasn't put on the ZBA.
Albion February 28, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Amos, Are you also including Jason, who is easily swayed by Kelley? Pat Kelly is NOT a competent leader. You must NOT have had any dealings with her, believe me she is not a fair leader, she doesn't know how to lead. You may be a friend or someone she may need to turn to in the future, which means Kelly would argue the ordinance in your favor.She used to have most of the ZBA and Patrick under her thumb.I hope Zach isn't threatened by her. I can understand why residents are unhappy with Kelly, but people do not praise others the way you praise Kelley, unless you are a friend or you are allowing Kelley to use your name to comment. The problem I have with the board members are that they do not stand up to Kelley. When Julie Knight was on the board, Julie stood up to Kelley regardless of her emotional break downs.
Albion February 28, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Amos, All reliable information points to Pat Kelley!!! I believe she has people commenting to help her blame the board. This is the way Pat Kelley works. The more she tries to blame the board the guiltier she looks. I believe Pat Kelley is in cahoots with someone, could it be Jason. Be careful Jason, being too close to Kelley is not a popular thing to be for a lot of people, or is she just trying to set up the board. Pat Kelley has a reputation of not giving out ALL information if it does not fit her agenda that is nothing new, but where is the letter she was ordered to give to the owners at the time. She would be better off if she let this die instead of playing the blame game. That just keeps attention on her.I do think we need a board that will stand up to Kelley, and ignore her emotional reactions, . I for one am keeping a close watch on this one.
ZBA Resident March 01, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Roger, On Nov. 20, 2012, Carl Lesser had questions that needed to be cleared up. Is a Covenant Deed sufficient? Needed an ADEQUATE explanation by legal counsel & why the Township should accept a Covenant Deed instead of a Warranty Deed, along with sufficient Title Insurance. Needed the inclusion of a COMPLETE & ACCURATE MISSING Schedule B.This is needed information to have if one is to make a responsible decision. Why didn't Pat Kelley have the answers to these questions. Why was Schedule B missing? Not unusual for Pat Kelley to NOT have ALL the information. Yes Kelley and Jason opposed the delay, they were willing to jump into purchasing property without ALL the information. I have seen Jason as being reasonable, but this was NOT a responsible decision. Be careful Jason of getting too closely tied with Pat Kelley. A lot of people voted for Carl Lesser and trust him. Thank you Carl for asking those questions. Pat Kelley barely won.I believe that A lot of these comments are coming from a handful of Kelleys friends. Kelley is trying to blame the board. Pat Kelley is to Blame. The board is to blame for letting Kelley control the whole process of purchasing the land. Something sounds fishy to me and it smells like Kelley. In my opinion, Kelley is trying to blame the board to take attention away from herself. That is not working to her advantage. She would be better off to let this subject die, because I think this whole matter is going to come back to haunt her.
Mary Herda-Sprawka March 01, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Personal attacks and innuendo are uncalled for and are not getting the job done. All the members of the Board were ELECTED. Maybe not your choice, but it is the democratic process. I am in favor of a permanent fire station. The millage passed. We all must move on and toward that goal. If 11485 is untennable, then I trust that the Board will move on to the next best option. Just hoping that the process is as transparent as possible. And Jean, a property belonging to a family named Kopinski was mentioned at the Feb. 19th meeting as a possible alternative site.

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