Dunegrass Seawall & Docks Project Near Chain Ferry Shouldn't Concern Public, Says Developer
Developer David Barker told the public and Saugatuck City Council Monday that the 100-foot-plus seawall slated for construction at the beginning of December, just south of the Saugatuck Chain Ferry’s west side landing area, ought to be no cause for concern.
He said this despite ongoing legal wrangling and past controversy associated with the project.
“I know it’s been a controversial issue,” said Barker of the 21-luxury home Dunegrass Development project and, more recently, the proposed marina on Park Street, of which the seawall is part and parcel of and meant for the private use of the adjacent Dunegrass development.
Barker serves as agent and project manager for the Dune Ridge SA LP private equity firm, which purchased the the former Saugatuck Presbyterian Camps, just south of Oval Beach, for $10 million in 2014.
The seawall is part of the marina and has already received the green light from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and it does not need approval by the city, noted Barker.
“This is not like docks where the city has to approve it. You can or can’t say anything about the building of a seawall,” said Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier, confirming Barker’s comments.
“We’ve been talking about the proposed marina, but right now we want to put the seawall in above all else,” said Barker.
Saugatuck officials approved his Dunegrass Development last year. That approval came while the proposed marina is still being mulled over by the city’s planning commission which previously expressed concerned about the project not being able to meet the appropriate set-backs of buildings from the roadway and property lines.
Also, one component of that marina proposal - the 144- square-foot bathroom and wet bar - is now the subject of a lawsuit advanced by the Dune Ridge earlier this year.
In its June 23 filing with the circuit court, Dunegrass, is appealing the May 12 decision by the Saugatuck Zoning Board Appeal (ZBA) to deny Dunegrass’ request for a dimensional setback variance for a 144-square-foot bathroom and wet bar structure on the east side of Park Street next to the river and perpendicular to Bliss Street.
“We are confident that what they (city officials and ZBA) are hanging their hats on is not going to fly with the courts,” Barker told The Local Observer Monday night.
The proposed marina is 38 feet in length, and features six boat slips, one boathouse, four golf cart parking spaces within the property, and three car parking spaces in the public right-of-way.