September 16, 2022

Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance Sept. 27 Town Hall to Detail Next Steps to Protect Kalamazoo River Mouth from Sand Dune Mining and Marina

Meeting to Inform and Mobilize Citizens to Hold Local, State, and Federal Officials Accountable to Uphold Environmental Regulations and Laws

SAUGATUCK, MI – The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance is hosting a September 27 town hall to provide area residents with an update on efforts to stop private developer NorthShore of Saugatuck from excavating and removing a quarter-million-tons of sand from within Michigan’s Critical Dune Boundary to build a private yacht marina. The proposed marina is situated between the Patty Birkholz Natural Area and the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area.

During the town hall, Coastal Alliance President David Swan will discuss and answer questions about the
local, state, and federal permits NorthShore of Saugatuck must secure for their proposed marina.  The developer has begun reapplying for a permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Their original permit, granted in 2018, expires in January 2023. After NorthShore of Saugatuck completes their new application, EGLE will hold a Public Comment Period and Public Hearing. EGLE anticipates that being scheduled this fall.

“Thanks to the vigilance and persistence of the Coastal Alliance, NorthShore of Saugatuck was unable to begin or complete its marina during the five-year permit period,” notes Coastal Alliance Board Chair Bobbie Gaunt. “Key to our success in stopping this environmentally devasting project was evidence we submitted that their excavation could lower the surrounding groundwater by about 14-feet – about the height of a one-story house.” The proposed development would also forever erase more than 6.5 acres from the Critical Dune map for private, commercial gain. It would put the endangered Lake Sturgeon at further risk, destroy elements of the historic site of Singapore, and dock 50 yachts at the most congested part of the river mouth.

“We are encouraging people to bring their laptops and notepads to the Town Hall so they can prepare to write letters to local elected officials and state regulators to ensure our voices are heard,” said Swan. “The town hall will also prepare people to submit informed comments to EGLE this fall.”

The town hall will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St. in Saugatuck. A reception with refreshments will follow.

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