In a 5-2 vote, the Dexter Village Council approved a recommendation by the Planning Commission to adopt a major amendment to the Planned Unit Development (PUD) of 8040 Fourth St. for a small animal rehabilitation clinic.
Dr. Mary Cardeccia will relocate the Animal Rehabilitation Facility on Joy Road to the new location following approval from the Dexter Village Council on Monday.
Prior to the vote, Dexter resident Al Maghes encouraged the council to vote against the recommendation, citing the clinic's adverse affects on surrounding property value, and the possibility of extraneous animal noise.
"What we're talking about is not a change of heart of the building's current existence, it's a change of the zoning," Maghes said. "How many people will move into that neighborhood if the facility is there?"
According to information provided by the village, 8040 Fourth Street is currently zoned residential and is part of a mixed land use PUD with four other properties along Central Street. The building was previously occupied by the Dexter District Library.
Under the PUD regulations, the building can be used for daycare centers, medical and dental clincis, business offices, service stations for utilities, and single-family dwellings.
Maghes, who presented a petition to the council with 14 signatures from area residents, said he's concerned the clinic will dramatically reduce the value of property in the neighborhood.
Patrick Lentz, a homeowner on Broad Street, said he too was against the clinic's request, arguing that the ordinance protects the village from unwanted development.
"The zoning is in place for a reason and this is a residential area," he said in a letter to the council "Whomever thinks it shouldn't create any disadvantages for the surrounding properties, I ask you would you object to an animal rehabilitation clinic next to your home?"
Trustee Joe Semifero said he was concerned the amendment would invite a larger business to purchase the building if Cardeccia sold it in the future.
"We always say we want our residents input, and now that we have it, we're going to go forward with this anyway," he said. " To me, that doesn't make any sense."
Village President Shawn Keough agreed, stating that although the Planning Commission approved Cardeccia's application, he would like to hear from the other homeowners in the PUD before granting the request.
"I think there's a context issue here," he said. "I think all of the property owners in the PUD should have come to us first. If the PUD owners originally intended for a small animal rehabilitation clinic, this issue would not be before us."
Trustee Jim Carson disagreed stating, "The only reason we're having this debate is because the word 'animal' is in the application. If the business was a chiropractor or a daycare, nobody would have a problem with it."
Clinic will focus on canine health and wellness
According to information provided by Cardeccia, the clinic will provide services ranging from Chinese veterinary acupuncture, low-level laser therapy, neuromuscular electrostimulation, a therapy pool, and underwater treadmill for dogs.
"While I can understand the likeihood that someone occupying the building on Fourth Street will create more noise than its current vacant state, our business is very quiet and unobtrusive," Cardeccia said. "We do not board patients overnight, hold any training classes, or host any events that would disturb the neighbors."
Since purchasing Animal Rehabilitation Facility in 2010, Cardeccia said business has doubled.
"We attract people from as far north as Hessel, Mich. in the Upper Peninsula, and Windsor, Ontario," she said. "Bringing people to our village will have a positive impact on the local economy."
Heather Rink, a resident of Howell, said she is a long-time patient of Cardeccia.
"When my dog attends her visits, any other dogs at the current facility are handled in a controlled manner," she said. "Having this facility in your area will bring an added value to your community by demonstrating the need for new growth, and bringing in additional visitors to your area."
The motion approving the PUD amendment passed 5-2 with the conditions that no overnight boarding is allowed at the property and that final approval from the council is contingent upon Cardeccia taking control of the property.
Cardeccia said she expects to complete the environmental study and close on the property in January, with a target move-in date of February 2013.