January 16, 2023

Update from the Coastal Alliance

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”

In November, the USACE released a Memorandum For Record in their Section 106 Historic Properties Review. The memo concluded by detailing five adverse effects that must now be avoided, minimized, or mitigated should the proposed marina receive necessary permits to proceed:

In summary, the undertaking would cause an adverse effect on the Kalamazoo River Mouth TCP due to its direct physical effects on the landscape; visual and auditory characteristics of the river mouth (i.e., the place where river, lake, and forest meet); the feeling and character of the river mouth area; Potawatomi cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices associated with use of the river mouth; and potential impacts on lake sturgeon, water quality, and the ecological characteristics of the area.

The USACE also articulated Environmental Justice concerns:

The adverse effects of the undertaking on the Kalamazoo River Mouth TCP would accrue for the Potawatomi Tribes that ascribe significance to the TCP, and we will consider the potential environmental justice implications further in our NEPA analysis, as part of our permit review.

The USACE continues to review the three permit applications for the proposed marina – the Section 106 Historic Properties just described, Public Interest Factors, and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

In December, The Coastal Alliance made a formal request to the Saugatuck Township Planning Commission to hold a public hearing to terminate the Special Approval Use (SAU) permit granted to NorthShore of Saugatuck on April 26, 2017, and require the developer to reapply should they desire to pursue the construction of their proposed marina. According to a condition of the 2017 SAU, “The project, including the marina, shall be constructed in a single phase beginning no later than March 15, 2018.” In plain language – -the local permit is expired.

On January 23, 2023 the state permits for the proposed marina, that were granted in 2018, will expire. The property owner, from what we understand, is in the process of reapplying for permits. The Coastal Alliance has already requested a public hearing and we will notify people when we know of a specific timeline.