Michigan DEQ In The Process Of Finalizing Approvals For The Dune Ridge Project
Officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced Tuesday they are in the process of finalizing approvals for the latest Dune Ridge SA development proposal.
That project entails development to get the property prepared for what will eventually be 21 houses, ready with water connections, septic systems and all regulatory agencies’ permits.
Having changed its original plans, Dune Ridge recently applied for a revision to its DEQ permits. The regulatory agency’s key concerns involves areas of high-risk erosion, steep slopes and critical dunes, all regulated by the State of Michigan statutes for the protection of the lake’s shoreline.
The City of Saugatuck recently gave its okay to the developer for 13 home sites on 32.9 acres. That is in addition to its previous approval of eight sites on 22.7 acres.
“Per our concerns, this development is ready to go,” DEQ Environmental Engineer John Bayha told The Local Observer Tuesday.
The former Presbyterian Camps which was purchased and turned into a 130-acre property development, has been a contentious issue for some.
Last year many area residents went before Saugatuck city officials in hopes that the site would be protected from development, preserved as it had served many generations as a mostly non-developed, open-space campground since its 1899 origins.
The development also has prompted two ongoing lawsuits against the City of Saugatuck, both appeals before the Allegan County Circuit Court—one advanced by Gary E. Medler and the other by Shorewood Association, both southern neighbors of the development.
Both plaintiffs are essentially fighting the city’s determination the property is an allowable special land use.
Bayha said he is pleased developer David Barker has opted for the least-environmentally invasive procedures and systems as it relates to water connections to the public system and septic systems.
“Construction to connect to the water main essentially entails directional drilling the entire thing, and we prefer that (to open-cut drilling)—it’s a lot less invasive,” said Bayha.
The former involves boring an underground lateral hole with a drilling rig for the water pipe, while the latter entails more disruption to surface soils and trees.
A water connection will come down Perryman Street, the road leading to Oval Beach, and loop around through the property to connect at the end of Vine Street.
For a sewer system, the developer has opted for septic drain fields.
“If they had chosen to connect sewer to the public’s, it would have torn up Perryman Street; that is something I don’t think the neighbors or the city would have liked,” added Bayha.
City officials said they are pleased with the agreements that have been made with the developer.