SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WOOD) - Years of fighting over the Saugatuck Dunes may be coming to an end.
After a lengthy and contentious process, a proposed settlement between Saugatuck Township and the owners of dunes property along Lake Michigan will be discussed publicly in July.
The 320 acres of land, owned by Aubrey McClendon and overseen by his company Singapore Dunes, will not be re-zoned but will have an outline for how the land can be developed.
A public meeting is set to discuss the plan on July 18 at Saugatuck High School.
For the past few months, Singapore Dunes, members of the township board, lawyers and site planners have been holding meetings to work out an agreement.
The proposed development includes plans for houses, a 25-suite hotel, condos, a nine-hole walking golf course and a 66-slip marina.
Reaching a deal took a lot of long hours and compromise from both sides, said Stephen Neumer, who represents McClendon.
"Most of the time we spent together was discussions about where the density would be and where the uses would be," he told 24 Hour News 8.
There are limits in place to protect both the environment and the feel of the community, Neumer added.
The number of houses allowed on the Lake Michigan shoreline is limited to eight, with a cap of 100 housing units for the total project.
The highest density of development -- including the hotel, condos and marina -- will take place on 12 acres of land that used to be an old industrial site.
About 80% of the property will be left as open space, and there will be some public access. Neumer stressed the township, county and others will still have significant oversight.
"Most important, the Department of Environmental Quality in the state of Michigan has serious oversight on this property, because probably 80 percent of it is in the critical dunes," Neumer said.
However, members of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, who have been fighting to preserve the land, still have their concerns.
They argue there's already too much housing in the area that remains unsold, the marina and golf course may damage the land, and that the public has been left out.
"It doesn't appear that there's a very large, if any, opening for public participation to attempt to adjust or approve of this measure at all," said Marcia Perry, of the alliance.
No timetable has been set.
McClendon's representatives said when it comes to housing, development can wait until the market improves.
Township members wouldn't comment on camera, but in a statement, said the public will have a chance to weigh in on July 18.
If it passes the township, the plan will be sent before a federal district judge for final approval.
-The 80% open space is committed and will be open space forever.
-The hotel will be "iconic," and he described it as 19th Century English sea shore.
-The DNR is in support of the proposed marina, because there is not currently one like it on the Lake Michigan shoreline. -The DNR is interested in fisheries being able to dock their boats there, and has asked them to consider allowing some type of Homeland Security vessel to be docked there, as well.
Perry is worried the township has been stripped of much of its oversight power.
She disagrees with the proposed plan's calculation of 80% open space. According to her calculations, 20% of the land mass alone will be pavement, driveways and roads.
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