Saugatuck City Council Approves Legal Settlement That Ends Two Lawsuits Over Former Presbyterian Camp's Development Issues
Saugatuck city leaders Monday night approved a consolidated legal settlement that resolves two different disputes - one with a subdivision association, the other with a homeowner - related to the ongoing development at the former Saugatuck Presbyterian Camps, just south of Oval Beach.
“This is a very familiar consent judgment that went before you back in June; it has been amended to reflect the PUD (planned unit development) has been approved (by the city),” Saugatuck City Attorney Crystal Morgan of the Grand Rapids-based Bloom Sluggett Morgan, P.C. told the council.
“It was a timing issue,” she added about the case before the Allegan County Circuit Court.
That PUD was previously part of the consent judgement itself, a factor the Dune Ridge SA, LP development group vehemently protested, saying it gave too much control to the two parties suing the city: Shorewood Association (represented by spokesperson and real estate attorney Keith Walker) and homeowner Gary E. Medler, neighbors of the camp property to the south.
Dune Ridge SA was not originally a party to either lawsuit, but later the land firm joined the city as a defendant in the Shorewood Association lawsuit.
“This is what we always wanted. We wanted our PUD first approved and not tied to the settlement,” a pleased Dune Ridge developer David Barker told Observer Newspaper after the council’s decision.
The former camp property has a total of 130 acres and the recent city-approved PUD represents 13 home sites on 32.9 acres. That is in addition to previous development approval of eight sites on 22.7 acres.
Barker will be preparing the 21 lots, some with Lake Michigan frontage and will be marketing them for between $2.5 and $3 million, so luxury homes can be built on them.
The settlement stipulates the development will be restricted to the 21 lots in the areas already approved by the city.
Furthermore, the development firm has registered with The Nature Conservancy some parcels on the south side of the property as a conservancy area in perpetuity, said Barker.
However, he said Dune Ridge still has development plans for some areas north of Perryman Street and south of Vine Street as well as plans to build a marina next to the Saugatuck Chain Ferry stop on the west side of the Kalamazoo River.
Medler’s lawsuit had challenged the then-city zoning administrator’s 2013 interpretation that allowed the development.
Medler claimed Barker’s development, as proposed, was not allowed in the zoning district it was on.
Essentially similar in nature to Medler’s, Shorewood Association’s lawsuit argued the original application did not meet required standards of the city code.
Medler declined comment for this story and Walker was unable to be reached.