Victory for Locally-Determined Zoning: Saugatuck Township ZBA Tables McClendon Variance Requests

It was a clear and decisive victory for locally-determined zoning on Tuesday October 30, 2012 at the Saugatuck Township Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. Aubrey McClendon’s development company, Singapore Dunes, requested the ZBA table their variance application that would have allowed a 90-foot tall hotel with a restaurant, bar, and retail shops at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River. The ZBA voted to table McClendon’s application until further notice.

Singapore Dunes initially requested seven separate variances for an out-of-scale hotel, marina and golf course resort between Saugatuck’s Oval Beach and the Saugatuck Dunes State Park Natural Area. Singapore Dunes also pursued, at the same time they were seeking the variances, a different development plan with the Planning Commission. This second plan clearly demonstrates that the McClendon land can be developed without special variances. Variances are only issued when a property owner cannot otherwise use their property. Most people are still wondering why McClendon’s project manager would submit a plan to the Planning Commission which proved that the variances could not be granted.

Singapore Dunes lawyers indicated that they are currently revising the other development plan for a subdivision of single-family houses that is before the Planning Commission. At this moment, it is unclear if the revisions will require a new round of public notices. The Coastal Alliance anticipates the revised plan will be discussed at the next Planning Commission meeting in November.

WMEAC and the Coastal Alliance is pleased with this victory. We continue to ask that McClendon’s Singapore Dunes follow normal, transparent, and legal procedures, including all regulatory guidelines protecting natural resources that all citizens are required to follow.

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