Zoning Issue & Lawsuit Over Dunegrass Waterfront Plans Topic Of Closed Session
Saugatuck City Council held a closed session meeting following Monday night’s agenda to discuss ongoing litigation over a developer’s idea for a bathroom associated with its proposed marina on the Kalamazoo River.
“The DEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) has approved the dock,” says Saugatuck City Zoning Administrator Cindy Osman regarding Dunegrass Development’s marina plans—located just south of the Saugatuck Chain Ferry’s west side landing area—and the already initiated process for building a 110-foot seawall.
The specific layout and design of the marina is currently going through the review process before the Saugatuck Planning Commission level.
However, Dunegrass is facing legal and zoning challenges regarding the respective bathroom—a 144-square-foot structure near the shore that comes with a utility room and washroom—due to roadway and property line setback requirements for structures.
The developer is asking for special variances, while city officials have been left wondering how the developer plans on constructing a marina and its amenities so close to Park Street along a narrow strip of land.
In its June 23 filing with the Allegan County Circuit Court, Dunegrass appealed the May 12, 2016 decision by the Saugatuck Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) to deny Dunegrass’ request for a dimensional setback variance for the bathroom and wet bar structure on the east side of Park Street, next to the river and the perpendicular Bliss Street.
“The judge (Allegan County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Cronin) has heard our oral arguments and took them under advisement on the 20th (Jan. 20, 2017),” says Osman.
“It’s a space thing—it’s a very narrow piece of property,” says Osman of the locale that is within the C-4 resort zoning.
“Everything (structure) but a single-family home has to be 10 feet from the waterside property line and the front side has a set-back of 15 feet, then 10 feet for either side, which includes the Chain Ferry side,” she noted.
Saugatuck City Council took no action following the less than half-hour executive session with the Grand Rapids-based Bloom Sluggett Morgan law firm.
The proposed marina is meant for the sole, private use of residents from the 21-home luxury Dunegrass development, located just south of the Oval Beach shoreline.