Douglas Officials To Go To Court - Again - In Ongoing Battle With Tower Marine
The City of Douglas has filed a contempt of court motion with Allegan County Circuit Court claiming Tower Marine owner RJ Peterson hsa failed to complete remediation of the “Peterson Volcano” sediment dump site along Blue Star Highway.
The legal move is in addition to the city seeking a legally binding order from the Allegan County Circuit Court to be reimbursed for any work it may have to do complete the same remediation project.
Douglas City Clerk Jean Neve says both legal steps were taken against the marina “for failing to complete what he (Tower Marine owner Peterson) was supposed to complete.”
Peterson said he will contest the city’s claims, and says he hasn’t yet been served with any legal paperwork. “Listen, Tower Marine is the only one currently doing anything about the harbor. Where is the thank you? What is the city trying to do to Tower Marine with lawsuits?
“We have 30 permits here that allows for the dumping of silt (from Kalamazoo Harbor dredging) with a restrictive covenant. Do you realize that if we didn’t do the work we do it would make many docks on the harbor useless?” Peterson told The Local Observer Wednesday in response to the city-advanced lawsuit.
The “volcano” work entails modifying the drain spoils facility so that its earth fill is leveled and packed alongside Blue Star Highway, adjacent to Tower Marine property; installation and connection of the drainage system; and spoils material to be capped to deal with environmental issues and State of Michigan regulations.
In 2013, the city sued the marina owner, citing the pile was expanded without the required permits. The marina owner (Peterson) unequivocally denied any wrongdoing.
But a 2015 legal settlement in Allegan County Circuit Court ordered him to reduce the silt facility and make it conform to the city’s land-use regulations.
The legal order provided Nov. 1, 2016 as the deadline for the work to be completed, but although a lot of the pile reduction took place last fall, to date it remains unfinished.
Both parties say the other is at fault for the delay.
City officials say they will consider accepting Tower Marine’s project contractor’s request to stretch that deadline to the end of this month.
However, both Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere and Peterson both concede that may not be within reason; Peterson says June is more of a realistic goal.
In the meantime, Peterson, 90, continues to want to offer the marina for public ownership, but so far to no avail.
Time and time again, discussions with Douglas about a possible purchase have falling by the wayside.
Last month ago, however, he made the same offer for the first time to the City of Saugatuck. He said he hasn’t gotten word back from city officials yet, however.