Is Proposed Park Street Marina For Dunegrass Development A "Major" Or "Minor" Project?
The Saugatuck Planning Commission is in the process of trying to decide on a definitive definition to the proposed Dunegrass Marina—should it be designated as a “major waterfront construction” or a “minor waterfront construction?”
“It (the approval/denial process) will take very different directions depending on whether it’s a major or a minor marina,” Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier told The Local Observer Monday.
The proposed marina along Park Street, just south of the Saugatuck Chain Ferry landing area, has been approved by the appropriate State of Michigan regulatory agencies, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The applicant, Dave Barker, who is the agent for Paul Heule and his land firm - Dune Ridge SA LP - is awaiting a decision from the city.
The planning commission is in charge of reviewing the marina application request and then recommend approval or denial of it to the Saugatuck City Council, the board with the final say.
Previously, city officials determined, per discussion with legal counsel last month, that the project was a “major” construction.
However, that conclusion is being challenged by the developer’s own legal counsel opinion from last week, contending the marina should be designated as “minor.”
The 38-foot-length waterfront marina calls for, among other 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.
The features being proposed constitute too many components and it is out of proportion given the square footage that is available for this project, said Saugatuck Zoning Administrator Steve Kushion.
“Discussions with legal counsel led me to consider this request a Major Waterfront Construction as opposed to minor due to the scope of construction on the site,” said Kushion.
The proposed site is only 13,068 square feet and the minimum square footage for Major Waterfront Construction is 17,424 square feet,” Kushion informed planners via a November 13 memo.
“If the board feels that this request is more appropriate as a Minor Water Waterfront Construction, the site fits within the square-footage guidelines.
“If the board (Saugatuck Planning Commission - PC) agrees with my interpretation of Major Waterfront Construction, the site does not meet the square-footage minimum.
“If the PC approves the SLU (special land use) and Major Waterfront Construction, a variance would be required from the minimum square footage requirement.”
Not so, says Barker.
“We had a legal opinion on this last week. If you look at the zoning on that site, it does not meet the criteria for major waterfront construction, but it does meet the criteria for minor,” he said.
The marina is meant for the private use of the adjacent Dunegrass development project, which was approved earlier this year by the city.
“It is not a community facility and it does not offer boat storage, nor offer fuel for boats. We are only mooring; that is it. The size alone fits the definition of minor construction,” added Barker.
City officials say they will continue the review process and come up with a final definition and determination.