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March 19, 2019 1:32 pm

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Saugatuck Township Declines To Reappoint Quade To Interurban Board

   The Saugatuck Township Board at its meeting last week opted to appoint township resident Judith Schneider to the Saugatuck Interurban Transit Authority Board instead of reappointing former township manager and founder of the Interurban himself, Phil Quade. 

     Also, the township board was treated to the same Kalamazoo Harbor long-term plan presentation by Edgewater Resources as their counterpart in the City of Saugatuck. 

     The motion to designate Schneider as the new Interurban board member passed in a 3-to-1  vote (Saugatuck Township Lori Babinski was the dissenting voice), but only after hearing discussion  both pro and con on Quade’s re-appointment.

     “It’s time we get someone there with newer ideas,” said Saugatuck Township Supervisor Bill Wester, who made the motion to appoint Schneider. 

     Quade’s current term ends this month, and Interurban Transit Authority Director Phyllis Yff asked the board for his reappointment. 

     “I am vehemently against Phil (Quade) because he is not a township resident,” said Wester.

     Wester said he was referring to Quade’s residence in the City of Douglas and not in the township, the interest of which he would be representing if he had been reappointed. 

     However, per the township’s bylaws—as pointed out by Saugatuck Township Clerk Brad Rudich and Saugatuck Township Trustee Jonathan Phillips—one does not necessarily have to be a resident of the township to serve in the board.

     However, they said, the person does need to reside in one of the three area municipalities, including the township, Douglas or the City of Saugatuck. 

     Schneider was given an opportunity to speak to her interest in serving on the board. 

     “I cant’ get anywhere without the Interurban. I can represent those people who don’t have a car and those people who can’t drive,” she said. 

     It was one factor that evidently influenced the decision of the board. 

     In other township news and action at last week’s meeting, Edgewater President Gregory Weykamp’s presentation was very similar to the one he gave to the Saugatuck City Council, highlighting again that a successful long-term plan for the harbor will require “community consensus.” 

     Without repudiating local leader and Tower Marine owner R.J. Peterson’s idea that the best solution is channelization, Weykamp noted:

     “Under current (regulations by various state and federal permitting agencies), you could not do this. That is not to say this cannot change and we shouldn’t explore that.” 

     Channelization involves structures creating a path and a way for sediment to keep moving with the water flow out to Lake Michigan. A more pragmatic method, from a legal point of view, is that of sediment traps upstream, large holes made to trap sediment, said Weykamp. 

     “Here you are dredging from a position that is very cost-effective,” he noted.

Saugatuck Township Declines To Reappoint Quade To Interurban Board

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