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SG-W:/ Gas station battle in Dexter Twp



As many of you may recall, Dexter Twp residents have been fighting a
proposed gas station at the corner of Dexter Pinckney and North
Territorial Roads.  The project has been given tentative approval, even
though it is very close to the Huron River in an ecologically sensitive
area, with NO NATURAL SUBSURFACE CLAY LAYER ABOVE GROUNDWATER.  The
developer has proposed a synthetic "bentomat" liner as an alternative.

Below is an update on what's been happening and an appeal for help.

Jeff Surfus
-----------------------------------------
June 3, 2001

Dear Neighbors

Here's an update of what has happened so far in the gas station campaign:

Our attorney, Mark Reading, and our environmental consultants, Soil and
Materials Engineers, Inc. have prepared a strong case addressing both the
questions of procedures followed at the Planning Commission meetings and
the
environmental issues which have been raised.  Mark felt the citizens were
denied due process when we were not allowed to comment on the last minute
amendment to the site plan presented to the Planning Commission by the
Salameys.

At their May 29 meeting. The Zoning Board of Appeals sent the gas station
decision back to the Planning Commission saying due process was denied the
citizens at the January 23, 2001 Planning Commission meeting.  At that
meeting citizens were denied the opportunity to address the Planning
Commission regarding the gas station until after the vote was taken.   Had
the Planning Commission chosen to hear the citizens, they would have heard
substantial and compelling evidence that a bentomat liner and two feet of
compacted clay is inadequate protection of groundwater.

Soil and Materials Engineers have provided research data showing that the
bentomat liner and clay layer suggested by the applicant will degrade and
crack upon contact with xylene and other components of gasoline.
Therefore,
the safeguards suggested by the applicant definitely will not provide
adequate protection to our groundwater, wetlands and the Huron River.
This
data is supported by the Hazardous Waste Section of the Michigan
Department
of Environmental Quality, which has known about these characteristics of
bentomat since the 1980's.

It's important to note that the gas station site has been identified by
University of Michigan professors, Drs. Paul Seelbach and Michael Wiley, U
of
M School of Natural Resources, as "a highly sensitive groundwater recharge
area to the Huron River."  Professor Wiley states:  "Given the nature of
the
proposed development, the potential for chemical contamination of local
groundwater and of the river is, I fear, quite high."  Professor Seelbach
states:  The area in question appears to be exceptionally sensitive to
groundwater pollution. ..And rapid groundwater flows to the Huron River
make
the probability of polluting the river quite high.  This is basically the
most sensitive area along the entire Huron River.  I urge the Planning
Commission to recognize the unique hydrologic character of this location
in
making decisions regarding thoughtful future development."

In the publication Washtenaw County Fragile Lands (rural series),  Dr.
George
Kunkle states:  "Examples of inappropriate high intensity uses [of
groundwater recharge areas] include petroleum storage and animal feed
lots.
It is not environmentally sound to risk degrading ground water, one of our
life sustaining resources."

The battle to defeat the gas station has not been without costs.  We are
now
faced with additional charges of:
 $13,441.32 attorney fees
 $  2,625.00 environmental consulting

We have a very strong case to take before the Planning Commission.  The
Planning Commission approved the gas station by one vote at the January 23
meeting, so we only have to change the mind of one member.  If we prevail
before the Planning Commission, the applicant will most certainly appeal
to
the Zoning Board of Appeals.  It will then be the responsibility of the
township to defend its decision.  If the Planning Commission approves the
application, we have our case ready to return to the ZBA.

If we are to preserve our credibility as citizens concerned with the
quality
of life in our township we must continue with this battle.  Defeating the
gas
station will send the message to our elected and appointed officials that
people in Dexter Township care about the environment and rural character
of
our township and are willing to fight for it.

We now see real progress and strong evidence of a positive outcome.
We've
come so far, but we need your help to see this fight through.

If you can assist with these expenses please send your contributions to:

Dexter Neighbors
6970 Dexter-Pinckney Rd.
Dexter, MI 48130

Thank you for your support.


Jennifer Bensinger Nancy Possley





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