Questions Arise Over What Is Happening With Douglas' Harbor/Master Plan Work
In response to a request for a Kalamazoo Harbor Plan update and concerns the city may be lagging behind on that effort, Douglas city officials said they have been working on an long-term harbor plan all along.
They say it is part and parcel of the ongoing Douglas Master Plan, a comprehensive strategy for future development and land use consisting of the diverse districts of the city, waterfront, residential, commercial, mixed development, and so on.
Jim Petzing, the now-former president of Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association (SDABA) who resigned that position this week and who is running for a Douglas City Council seat in November, often critiques - and criticizes - Douglas leaders relative to local business activity and commerce.
Petzing asked the council Monday to provide information updating citizens on the Douglas Harbor/Master Plan that he said he feels has been woefully slow and appears stalled.
When the council did not provide the information he requested, Petzing turned to a reporter covering the meeting and said, “They just blew me off. Why can’t they just tell us what, if anything, is being done?”
In related harbor news, some Douglas officials are calling on the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority to meet since that body hasn’t met for a board meeting for several months and there are some harbor issues that need to be addressed as well as plans developed for future improvements.
Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority Treasurer Lisa Greenwood, who was on hand at Monday’s meeting, informed the council the board had not met partly due to the hospitalization of Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority Chair Ken Trester, who is just now in recovery.
“It is something I have discussed (with Trester and Vice-Chair Patrick Burroughs); we want to make sure it does happen,” Greenwood assured the council.
Douglas City Council Manager Bill LeFevere said the harbor authority, along with officials from the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas, will soon be meeting with representatives of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at the state capital.
“The planning process the City of Saugatuck initiated started with consultation with those agencies,” he said, referring to the Edgewater Resources’ $75,000 proposal for a long-range plan for the Kalamazoo Harbor.
As to Petzing’s question concerning that long-term harbor plan for Douglas, LeFevere noted, “We haven’t forgotten about a harbor plan; the harbor plan is being folded into the master plan.”
Last year, the city contracted with Edgewater Resources for work on the Master Plan at a pricetag of $42,245.
In May of this year, the city incorporated the the long-term harbor plan into that existing agreement with Edgewater for an additional $37,500.
Saugatuck City also separately approved $37,500 for the contract with Edgewater for its own plan.