Legal Battle Brewing Over Douglas Dredge Spoils Site
The City of Douglas’ legal counsel is preparing the necessary paperwork to file a brief with the Allegan County District Court to compel Tower Marine owner RJ Peterson to provide complete documentation of his dredge spoil facility or, if not, have that facility removed, Douglas City Manager William LeFevere told Observer Newspapers on Wednesday.
The city argues the facility is non-compliant because Peterson has failed to provide a timetable and engineering information (e.g., how much soil the project would entail; where that soil would best be situated; and so on) that is required for officials to make a determination on the site plan.
Peterson says he is having his own legal counsel take a look at the issue as the city prepares to take legal action against him.
“I don’t understand what the city is going to get with an injunction - you can’t stop something that hasn’t even started,” he said in response to the city’s position that his expansion of the dredge storage facility in 2012 never received city approval.
“The applicant (Peterson) has indicated it’s impossible for him to provide the information we require,” Douglas Community Development Director Ryan Kilpatrick previously informed the Douglas City Council before asking them to provide the green light for legal action.
Peterson has long argued that “it is impossible to provide what the city asking for.” And his engineer, R. Jack Barr of Nederveld, agrees.
In an October 24 memo to Peterson, Barr writes, in part:
“We understand from review of these documents and attendance at the September 11, 2013 Planning Commission meeting that the City is
requesting additional plans and details regarding phasing, staging and grading of the spoil disposal area.
“Unfortunately we are unable to prepare these documents for the following reasons…” The memo goes on to list several reasons, one being, “We do not have information on the long-term harbor plan which would assist in determining the total volume of material to be placed on site.”
The Barr memo also states: “We do not have information regarding the time frames and/or approval conditions of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Michigan DEQ permits that have not yet been issued.”