Conservationists appeal Saugatuck dunes development approval

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

SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A conservation group has appealed the preliminary approval to create a private marina near the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance appealed to the Allegan County Circuit Court on Wednesday to overturn the Saugatuck Township Planning Commission’s preliminary approval of the development proposed by the land’s owner Jeff Padnos and development company Cottage Home.

Holland-based construction company Cottage Home bought a 309-acre portion of the dunes in December 2015. They want to build several single-family homes, two condominiums for future development and a private marina on the Kalamazoo River.

The group says the planning commission approved the preliminary plan despite public opposition and violating several township zoning ordinances.

Opponents say the construction of the marina will require the removal of more than 150,000 tons of sand. They say that will have a negative impact on the dunes and ruin the historic area.

Development at the site has been a hot topic for years, previously when it was owned by energy billionaire Aubrey McClendon, who died suddenly in a car crash in Oklahoma City about a year ago.

The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance will be hosting a workshop to discuss the future of the Saugatuck Dunes on Tuesday, June 27 at 7 p.m. at Saugatuck High School.