Saugatuck dunes developers clash with conservationists

A rendering of the proposed development at the Saugatuck dunes. (North Shores of Saugatuck, LLC via Saugatuck Township)

SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A West Michigan developer who plans to create a private marina and nearly 40 home sites near the Saugatuck Dunes State Park is facing pushback from conservation groups.

The property spanning more than 300 acres once belonged to oil tycoon Aubrey McClendon, who proposed large-scale development that didn’t materialize before his death last year.

David Swan is president of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. He says the development proposed by the land’s new owner, Jeff Padnos, and development company Cottage Home is “McClendon 2.0.”

Swan’s concerns include maintaining vital wetlands, disturbing fish populations, historic resources and a negative economic impact.

Cottage Home President Brian Bosgraaf says the project is taking a “conservation-based development” approach.

Padnos purchased the property last year. Bosgraaf expects to start selling home sites in June.