Douglas Officials Plan Legal Action Against RJ Peterson Over Dredge Spoils Site
The City of Douglas is preparing to take legal action against a local marina owner over his dredge spoils facility and his plans for expansion, Douglas City officials announced at Monday’s council meeting.
Douglas Community Development Director Ryan Kilpatrick reported to the council that the records that RJ Peterson has given the city regarding the facility are legally inadequate and he has failed to rectifty the matter despite many requests to do so.
To date, noted Kilpatrick, Peterson has filed only an unacceptable site plan review, lacking a timetable and all engineering information requirements, e.g., such as how much soil the project would entail, where that soil would best be situated, etc.
“They (city officials) are upset about being upset. It’s beyond belief, the things we can’t communicate about,” Peterson told The Observer Newspapers in response to the city’s action.
Dubbed “the volcano” by some locals, the dredge spoils pile at Tower Marine along the Blue Star Highway has been the subject of concern, including issues involving the environment, topography and more, according to city officials.
The facility is part of Tower Marine’s ongoing efforts to dredge out specific portions of the river/lake bed of the harbor in ane effort to create channels where watercraft can travel to and from the private marina.
The Saugatuck-Douglas Harbor Authority has been charged with coming up with a short-term and long-term plan for more expansive, broader dredging of the shallow harbor.
However, progress has been slow as permit requirements have been arduous and funding sources difficult to find, say harbor authority leaders.
“The applicant (Peterson) has indicated it’s impossible for him to provide the information we require,” Kilpatrick reported to the council about what he claims is an incomplete site plan review.
“We will be talking to the legal team to see what the next step will be,” Kilpatrick informed the city council.
Asked about the city’s argument he lacked a timetable and engineering details, Peterson said, “How could I know if I don’t know how much I am going to dredge?”
Kilpatrick, however, insists on a complete application.
“If he (Peterson) is ready to build the entire thing in one year, that is great and that would be good for the community. If it is going to take 10 years, what is he going to build first, what is going to be built second, what is the phased process,” he said.
With discussions beginning in 2010, the city once eyed Tower Marine as a possible future purchase to convert it into a public marina.
All discussions broke down, however, when Douglas officials said Peteson failed to provide requested documents, including financial records, for review.
City officials have estimated the value of the private 500-slip marina at $17 million.