Saugatuck City Leaders Unlikely To Engage In Lawsuit Settlement Talks With Dunegrass
Saugatuck City Council took no action Monday following a closed session related to a lawsuit filed by proponents of the controversial Dunegrass Marina on Park Street who claim their denial by the city of a variance request to construct a bathroom and utility room—associated with the marina—is unlawful and in violation the city’s own ordinance.
The city at this time is not likely to engage in settlement discussions regarding the Dunegrass SA, LP appeal before the Allegan County Circuit Court, according to city officials.
Saugatuck City Attorney Crystal Morgan of Grand Rapids-based Bloom Sluggett Morgan prepared a sample motion for Monday in case the council had decided to start settlement discussions after its closed session.
The council took no action.
In its June 23 filing with the circuit court, Dunegrass, represented by Attorney Ed Pynnonen, is appealing the May 12 decision by the Saugatuck Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) to deny Dunegrass’ request for a dimensional setback variance for a 144-square-foot bathroom and utility room structure on the east side of Park Street, next to the river and perpendicular to Bliss Street.
The proposed bathroom would include one toilet and two sinks and it would not be open to the public.
“There have been many other applicants in this area that have been denied lesser requests. This would not be just to other owners in the zone district. Given the property owner’s request, there is no other lesser relaxation that could be requested on this property,” states the ZBA’s findings of fact, among others, recorded at the May 12 meeting.
As for the proposed Dunegrass Marina itself, presented to the city last year, it is located just south of the Saugatuck Chain Ferry’s west side landing area.
It has been approved by the appropriate State of Michigan regulatory agencies, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), but still requires local approval through a special land-use application .
The project is associated with and meant for the private use of the adjacent Dunegrass Development.
The 38-foot-length waterfront marina calls for, among other features, six boat slips, one boathouse, four golf cart parking spaces within the property, and three car parking spaces in the public right-of-way.
Its approval or denial could well hinge on how city officials end up defining the structure, as either a “major” or “minor” construction.
The applicant, Dave Barker, who represents the Dunegrass project, and city officials are playing tug-of -war with the definition: Barker claims it’s a “minor” construction project while city officials claim it’s “major.”
The pending marina proposal is pending and so is the ZBA appeal, now proceeding through the normal court appeal process unless the parties reach a mutual settlement agreement.