SAUGATUCK, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – In an effort to prevent private developer NorthShore of Saugatuck from excavating and relocating sand to build a marina, the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance will host a town hall meeting.  

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Saugatuck Center for the Arts located on 400 Culver St. in Saugatuck. 

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According to Coastal Alliance (SDCA) President David Swan, the purpose of the meeting is to provide a question and answer session regarding permits needed by NorthShore of Saugatuck for the proposed marina at the local, state, and federal levels.  

“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 devastating 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 – a buried mill city – and dock 50 yachts at the most congested part of the river mouth, said the SDCA website. 

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“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,” Swan said. “The town hall will also prepare people to submit informed comments to (Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) this fall.”

A Michigan Supreme Court opinion, released on July 22, overturned a lower court ruling and clarified the criteria for the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance to appeal a local zoning decision according to MLive. 

The Allegan County Circuit Court will hear the SDCA’s arguments regarding how they view NorthShore of Saugatuck’s proposal as a private yacht marina – thus violating Saugatuck Township zoning ordinances.  The hearing will occur on Monday Sept. 26 according to Swan.  

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The potential marina would be located between the Patty Birkholz Natural Area and the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, the SDCA said.