May 17, 2017 Antonio Altamirano

News Updates on the Boat Basin Homes Approval Process

Excepts From the Commercial Record

Plans for Boat Basin Homes Receives Township Approval 

The Saugatuck Township Planning Commission April 26 unanimously gave preliminary approvals for NorthShore of Saugatuck LLC to build 23 homes surrounding a boat basin where the lost lumber village of Saugatuck once stood.

Members also voted 5-1 to ask the township board to hire a certified planner to assist with the final site plan approval process.

Doing business as NorthShore, the new owners plan to build about 40 single-family homes on the parcel, including the boat basin tract, first developed as Singapore in the 1830s and later occupied by a Denison family Broward Boat Works plant.

“By building around a basin on land that’s long been disturbed, we won’t need to reclaim our investment elsewhere and can place 208.3 acres in a conservation easement,” Cottage Home president Brian Bosgraaf told The Commercial Record.

The commission tabled voting on NorthShores’ boat basin/homes requests at a Feb. 28 public hearing and again March 28, asking for more time in the second instance to review a seven-page memorandum received from township attorney Scott Smith earlier that same day.

Smith’s memo noted NorthShore is not seeking township approval for the boat basin. The developer is seeking approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to construct the basin. Those applications include public notices and a public hearing, and preempt most local control.

“I am pleased,” said Bosgraaf, “with the commission’s diligence and efforts. This is just the beginning of the process. We have to meet many standards to win federal and state approvals, plus requirements to fulfill with the township.”

Excerpts from the Holland Sentinel

The preliminary site plan of NorthShore of Saugatuck at Saugatuck Dunes was approved unanimously by the Saugatuck Township Planning Commission.

The preliminary site plan of NorthShore of Saugatuck at Saugatuck Dunes was approved unanimously on Wednesday, April 26, by the Saugatuck Township Planning Commission.

The proposed development is home sites and a small community building that would serve as a gathering place for homeowners, according to Cottage Home president and designer Brian Bosgraaf. It also includes a boat basin and slips.

The Holland-based company bought the property in December 2016 after energy mogul Aubrey McClendon died in a March 2016 car crash, one day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases in Oklahoma.

The property has frontage on both Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River, north of the channel in Saugatuck Township. Over the course of several years, previous owner Singapore Dunes LLC was embroiled in several lawsuits with Saugatuck Township, concerning extensive development planned for the land.

“The previous owner had some really impactful, kind of outrageous plans,” Bosgraaf said. “Our plan is so different.”

The planning commission approval is just one the development needs to reach reality. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality still needs to approve the boat basin, and the site plan needs final approval; Kushion said a date for the final site plan review isn’t established yet.

While there was public opposition, Kushion noted that the plan meets zoning requirements and follows the law. The planning commission can’t deny plans without reason.

Bosgraaf said when his company purchased the land, it employed a conservation-based development planning concept. The first step taken was evaluating natural features of the land.

“The (dunes and wetlands) have been marked out and have been set aside to be left untouched,” he said. “Two-thirds of the land immediately was identified as land that we should really just stay out of.”

He added the company is giving private tours and plans to list a few home sites for sale this June.