Posted: Jun 4, 2017

Thank you to everyone who has written and called to ask what they can do to help. Here are our suggestions and more coming during our June 14th meeting (place tba).

Understand and help create awareness of the situation.

The situation:
There has been a persistent sixty-year effort to protect the Saugatuck Dunes from inappropriate development. This effort was knowingly disrupted by Jeff and Peg Padnos when they purchased the North Denison from Aubrey McClendon, and further exacerbated when they hired Brian Bosgraaf, of Cottage Home, to plan a gated community that includes an 18’ deep trench through the buried ghost town of Singapore and a row of houses facing the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area that locals paid $20 million to protect.

The Padnos marina development was given preliminary approval with about 25 conditions from the Saugatuck Township Planning Commission. The Coastal Alliance, and many planners and lawyers, believe the approval by the Township is unjustified and poorly considered.

The conditions required include approvals by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Coastal Alliance believes there can be a balance between light development and community values as articulated in the Tri-Community Master Plan. The Coastal Alliance believes Richard Shaw, of Design Workshop, could help find a true conservation solution agreeable to all parties.

It is important to recognize: we are not against development; we for the community values articulated in our unanimously approved Tri-Community Master Plan. We are proactively for protecting our community values.

It is better to ask: why are Jeff & Peg Padnos fighting against the Saugatuck area’s Community Values? Why did Jeff & Peg Padnos knowingly disrupt the sixty-year effort to protect the Saugatuck Dunes? Why do they continue to ignore decades of science and economics and public policy by wanting to construct an 18’ deep trench 1500’ long? Why do they want to devalue the $20 million investment our community/region/state made in protecting the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area? Why are they against what we so articulately detailed in the Master Plan and what the West Michigan Strategic Alliance detailed in the Green Infrastructure Initiative and what the Citizen’s Advisory Committee detailed in the State Park Master Plan?

What to do
• Attend the Coastal Alliance workshop on June 14th in Saugatuck (place tba) to learn more.
• Help raise awareness of this situation
o Share our posts through Facebook
o Write letters to the editors at local/regional papers (Holland Sentinel, Commercial Record, Local Observer, Grand Rapids Press)
 Send us a message through Facebook if you need help composing a letter. Letters do not need to be long.
o Encourage friends, family, and businesses you frequent to write letters
• Plan to attend the public hearing(s) that will be held by the DEQ and the Army Corps of Engineers and make a statement
• Please consider making a donation to the Coastal Alliance through our PayPal account found on our website. We are an all-volunteer organization, though we have hired a strong team of consultants.
• Talk with neighbors, friends, work colleagues about the sixty-year history to protect the Saugatuck Dunes from inappropriate development.
• Walk to the northern edge of the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area and understand how a row of houses and all that ambient light will negatively impact the $20 million investment.
• Walk through Tallmadge Woods to Crow’s Nest to understand how the proposed marina will negatively impact the Ox-Bow experience.
• Walk the southern edge of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park Natural Area to understand just how close the proposed 18’ deep marina will be to this rare natural area.
• Be optimistic. Be proactive. Be fiercely articulate, but always be polite.