Posted: Jul 3, 2018
To begin: the proposed marina at the river mouth does not have all necessary permits to begin excavation, the Coastal Alliance has appealed the permits that have already been granted, and the Jeff Padnos NorthShore development has been sued for violating local zoning that reads: ‘In no event shall a canal or channel be excavated for the purpose of increasing the water frontage.’

This week the Coastal Alliance announces a major fundraising opportunity that will allow us to continue our legal strategy to stop the marina. Because of the continued environmental threats by the Padnos marina development to the legacy of conservation hero Patty Birkholz a group of philanthropists have agreed to donate $30,000, IN Patty’s name, to the Coastal Alliance. The Coastal Alliance will receive $30,000 when we enlist 100 new, or renewed members, who simultaneously donate $100 to our legal fund. If you’ve already renewed your membership, or donated, in the past six months, please donate $100 to our legal fund so we can take advantage of our first-ever challenge grant.

Please visit our new website to learn how to join, renew, and/or donate. Yes, our new website! This goes live this week.

In case you are just hearing about the proposed marina: some background and an update. Holland-based members of the Padnos and Bosgraaf families, working with formerly-disbarred Holland attorney Carl J. Gabrielse, knowingly disrupted our communities’ sixty-year conservation effort to acquire the north shore of our Historic River Mouth. Ignoring our Tri-Community Master Plan they have begun preparing the Saugatuck Dunes for a major marina development that clearly violates local zoning and state law. They are planting sod where there should be native dune grass. They are illegally filling globally-imperiled interdunal wetlands. They are removing drift wood from the beach with a front-end loader. They are raising a spec house that blocks the view from publicly-funded parks. Their proposed marina makes our Historic River Mouth Neighborhood look and feel more like 1970’s Fort Lauderdale.

The Padnos development has unsuccessfully tried to sue the Coastal Alliance to silence the growing opposition to the proposed marina. Just last week the Padnos lawyer filed papers claiming the local Potawatomie have no legal right to be involved in the DEQ permit appeal. Also last week, taking emails completely out of context, lawyer Gabrielse, claimed to Circuit Court that the Coastal Alliance has no members.

In the past ten years the Coastal Alliance has raised over $500,000 to protect our community values articulated in the Master Plan and codified in our local zoning ordinances. We have had more than 600 individuals contribute to our efforts. We have nearly 4,000 followers on Facebook. Our membership is strong and growing. Please visit our new website to learn more, to donate, and to join our effort to protect our Historic River Mouth Neighborhood and the Patty Birkholz Natural Area. Remember: science, economics, public policy, and the law remain on our side.