October 25, 2022

Saugatuck City Council
Approves Public Comment to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Finds the Proposed Marina “Contrary to the Public Interest” and “Contrary to the well-established Public and Private Uses to Which the Area is Suited”

Our advocacy worked! At its Monday, October 24, meeting, Saugatuck City Council members adopted a 65-point resolution that concludes with:

“60. The City, as a “local agency having . . . . interest over the particular activity,” finds that the proposed marina basin is “contrary to the public interest.”
61. The City finds that the cumulative, permanent detrimental impacts of the excavation and construction of the proposed marina basin on property held by the City, adjacent natural areas, and on the Tri-Community tourist-based economy far outweigh any benefits from the construction of the marina basin. The City therefore finds that the canal is not necessary for development of the property at issue.
62. The City finds that the Tri-Community tourist-based economy relies on the preservation of the historical, ecological, and cultural values in the river mouth area.
63. The City finds that the proposed marina basin is contrary to the well-established ‘public and private uses to which the area is suited.’”

The City will now send the resolution to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for consideration in the Public Interest Factors Review for NorthShore of Saugatuck’s proposed marina. Five Council members voted in favor of the resolution (Bekken, Gardner, Leo, Stanton, and Trester) and none voted against. Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Dean abstained citing a potential conflict of interest due to his employment with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). EGLE is involved in State permit process for the proposed marina. Mayor Lewis had an excused absence from the meeting.

“The Council’s resolution articulates the collective voices of Saugatuck and the Tri-Communities – and for the people who visit the area,” said Bobbie Gaunt, board chair of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. “We sincerely appreciate the thorough and thoughtful deliberation the City Council and staff have given to the Resolution and their decision to engage in the public comment process.”

You can read the Resolution on page 20 of the meeting Agenda & Packet.

If you wrote to City of Saugatuck elected officials asking for them to pass a resolution, consider sending them a note to say thank you. You can find their contact information here.

“Once again, members and friends of the Coastal Alliance have proven ourselves to be effective advocates for protecting and preserving the Kalamazoo River mouth – the water gateway to our City,” said Coastal Alliance President David Swan. “The City of Saugatuck received dozens of letters asking them to adopt a resolution. Our voices matter – and will continue to make a difference as we work to stop a proposed development that would permanently devastate our historical, cultural, and ecological values.”

Members of the Coastal Alliance board are continuing to encourage elected officials in Saugatuck Township and the City of the Village of Douglas to submit public comment to USACE.

Be a Conservation Voter!

The stakes are high for the November 8 election. The Coastal Alliance encourages every registered voter to support candidates who are committed to protecting and preserving our environment. You can learn more about the election at Vote411.org, which is sponsored by the League of Women Voters Education Fund, a nonpartisan organization.

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The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance is a coalition of individuals and organizations working cooperatively to protect and preserve the natural geography, historical heritage, and rural character of the Saugatuck Dunes coastal region in the Kalamazoo River Watershed, beginning with the Saugatuck Dunes.



With over one million visitors each year, it makes sound economic sense to protect and preserve what attracts visitors to the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal region in the first place. Throughout the last hundred years, much of that attraction has been our unique natural heritage: the dynamic splendor of Lake Michigan, our beautiful beaches, the Saugatuck Dunes, the tranquil woods, and running through the middle of it all—creating stunning vistas of land and water from every angle—the Kalamazoo River flows through the Harbor and out into the Lake. To be here is to be a part of two worlds: one on land and one on water.

The Saugatuck Dunes Artists Respond to a Freshwater Landscape

All proceeds from sales of this book will support the work of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, dedicated to protecting and preserving the character of this rare landscape.

Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck

See our gallery here with more spectacular imagery of the Saugatuck dunes and lakeshore.

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