Public Raises Issues & Concerns Over Developer's Request To Build Marina In Kazoo River
Local residents had a lot of questions for the owner of the former Presbyterian Camps’ property, his construction manager and project representative over a proposal to build a marina in the Kalamazoo River near the Saugatuck chain ferry.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held a public hearing last week (Nov. 20) at the Saugatuck Township Hall so people could ask questions and learn more about the proposed project.
Paulus Heule, owner of Dune Ridge SA LP, is seeking a permit from the DEQ to allow for the building of private slips for nine boats, 10 personal watercraft, two boathouses, docks, a bulkhead and fill area.
Heule purchased the 130-acre camps on Feb. 14 for $10 million from the Presbytery of Chicago.
Part of his plan calls for selling multi-million dollar lots along the Lake Michigan beach and having a marina would be an added inducement for wealthy buyers to purchase the homesites, he said.
His company filed the permit request with the DEQ on July 15 and the request is making its way through the state process.
One of the issues raising concern by some residents and environmentalists is the request to allow the landowner to fill 70 cubic yards of wetland with material dredge.
Another is the planned building of a nine-space parking lot.
Still another concern raised is that the City of Saugatuck - not Dune Ridge SA LP - owns a small lot smack dab in the middle of the proposed area for the marina.
Dune Ridge Construction Manager Ed Pynnonen said they plan to purchase that property, but city officials have not yet publicly stated they are willing to sell it.
Mark Schieber, a DEQ environmental quality analyst who chaired the meeting, said Heule’s company must adhere to provisions of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, before any permit could be approved.
Local resident Marilyn Starring, owner of the Star of Saugatuck who manages the chain ferry for the city, voiced concern over the visibility and safety of other boaters should the marina be built along that section of the river.
Resident Peggy Boyce opposed the project citing the narrow space of the river and the plethora of docks already built along the waterway.
“This whole thing is too big for this narrow space of the river,” said Boyce.
“Another seawall and landfill are the last things we need.”