Dexter apartment complex up for final approval July 25

By Mike Lange
Staff writer

    DEXTER — The Dexter Planning Board conducted its final hearing on Gerald Marshall’s Abbot Hill apartment complex on June 27 and Marshall said the project “is moving forward. I think all the questions have been answered. We’ve got one more meeting to go.”

    Code Enforcement Officer Al Tempesta said he agreed. “The hearing went very well. I think he’s on track to getting it approved and it’s going to be a great apartment complex,” Tempesta said. “I don’t see any hang-ups. There were some questions about access to Grove Street and water runoff. But I think the runoff has been a problem since the schools were built.”
    Tempesta said that a few people attended the June 27 hearing, but “not one person spoke against it. It was not as emotionally-charged as some of the other meetings.”
    Marshall purchased the former Dexter school buildings and the 42-acre lot two years ago for $205,000 and is in the process of converting five modular classrooms into efficiency duplex apartments.
    Problems arose earlier this year when Marshall learned that the town’s zoning laws allowed him to put electricity in the buildings, but not plumbing. So the town required him to provide the board with subdivision plans.
    But the subdivision was considered unique, according to consulting engineer Al Hodsdon, because the buildings were already on the lot and only moved to new locations. Also, since Marshall owns the property, setback requirements did not apply.
    Marshall once threatened to put the property up for sale, voicing his frustration with former CEO Gail Flye. Among other things, Flye tried to stop Marshall from expanding his airport hangar, but the town reversed her decision after discovering that an existing ordinance allowed the project.
    Flye stepped down from her position in mid-May, and Tempesta — who was a Planning Board member — was appointed to succeed her.
    Marshall said that having Tempesta on board as code enforcement officer “makes a big difference. He’s been around a long time and knows what’s going on.”

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