The boat basin cannot be permitted!

NorthShores of Saugatuck acquired the “McClendon Property” at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River after the company was formed late last year. We have been following their evolving plans at presentations to the planning commission. Since 1989 the land has been designated a critical dune area (CDA).

A marina to dock 37 large boats (up to 80′ long) has now been proposed and permits are being sought. The boat basin would be about ¼ mile long, 200′ wide, encircled by weekend/vacation homes and located wholly in the CDA.

There are many problems with the proposed plan. The most important shortcoming is that it cannot be lawfully implemented. In its NorthShores of Saugatuck acquired the “McClendon Property” at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River after the company was formed late last year. We have been following their evolving plans at presentations to the planning commission. Since 1989 the land has been designated a critical dune area (CDA).

A marina to dock 37 large boats (up to 80′ long) has now been proposed and permits are being sought. The boat basin would be about ¼ mile long, 200′ wide, encircled by weekend/vacation homes and located wholly in the CDA.

There are many problems with the proposed plan. The most important shortcoming is that it cannot be lawfully implemented. In its letter to the DEQ, PTD spelled out why the DEQ cannot lawfully issue a permit and why the boat basin cannot be built.

Part 637 of the Natural Resources Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) prohibits removing large volumes of sand for commercial purposes from critical dune areas. The developers falsely claim that because the sand will not be sold these restrictions do not apply.

We oppose this project because it would be unlawful and it significantly impairs the site, its character, its naturalness, and its archeological value.

Even if it were allowed by the law, it should not be. 241,750 tons of sand will be excavated. 80,000 tons would be spread on and near the beach at Lake Michigan. No report justifying beach nourishment has been presented. Is this anything other than just dumping excess sand?

NorthShores hopes to use the spoils of excavation to build the houses and road. No determination has been made that this sand is suitable for concrete or mortar or paving. No estimate has been made of the quantities needed, or when it will be used.

The plan is to stockpile the sand until it is needed. After beach replenishment there would still be enough remaining sand to create a pile 404′ in diameter and 102′ high with a side slope of 1′ vertical in 2′ horizontal.

No plans have been proposed to control blowing dust and sand, much of which will be deposited on adjoining properties. Has everyone forgotten that the Singapore Dunes buried Singapore?

The land can be successfully developed without a marina. Adding a marina for 33 large, expensive boats does not justify violating the law nor issuing a “special exception” nor the resulting destruction.

See this MLive article for the story of the Singapore Dunes.

See this MLive article for coverage of public reaction to the proposed project.

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