Saugatuck Officials Looking At Prohibiting Residences On West Side Of Water Street
Saugatuck city officials say they want to prohibit, via a proposed zoning amendment, residential properties on the west side of Water Street to preserve the commercial use while promoting public access to the Kalamazoo River waterfront.
The proposed amendment was part of Monday’s city council agenda, but leaders opted to send the issue to the Planning Commission for further review.’
City council members suggested adding language to the zoning ordinance, for example, such as a provision for a special land-use process for residential structures.
The move followed some residents’ expressed concerns at Monday’s meeting about the outright prohibition of residential use.
To date, there are two structures in this proposed zoning district that have a residential use in place. “Any existing single-family, multi-family or residential condominiums in the district would be allowed but become non-conforming,” noted Saugatuck Zoning Administrator Cindy Osman.
Permitted uses would include retail stores, bed and breakfasts, domestic and business repairs, art galleries, essential public service, etc.
City officials previously discussed at at June public hearing possibly limiting residential use throughout all of downtown Saugatuck.
The various property license agreements between the City of Saugatuck and a number of local waterfront business ( i.e., the Butler, Coral Gables, Mermaid Bar & Grill) is the “linchpin,” city officials have previously indicated, that allows the general public to traverse the entire boardwalk along the eastern side of the Kalamazoo River with no interruption.
Through the agreements that come with a fee, the city allows the licensees to use public lands and waters along the river, including street-ends, for the purpose of boat docking.
In exchange, the licensees agree to allow the city to use the boardwalks adjoining their private property.
“The Water Street South District will provide for a less intense commercial use than the City Center District and promote visual access to the Kalamazoo River.
“The intent of the district is to coordinate the aspects of a central business district with that of waterfront property and blend commercial uses that complement and enhance the waterfront,” reads the current draft, in part, of the proposed Water Street South District.
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the issue back on June 21 and again on Nov. 15, the same day they moved to recommend council adaptation of the proposed amendment.