By Scott Sullivan
A Lakeshore Resort proposal to create a private road from Saugatuck Self Storage, at 2892 Blue Star Hwy. in Douglas, 3,750 feet south and west through undeveloped Saugatuck Township land to the back of its 2885 Lakeshore Dr. property will be weighed Thursday, May 11 by Douglas city planners.
A largely-gravel Lakeshore Woods Drive would be dedicated for emergency access, not use by other motorists unless some erosion-based catastrophe cuts off Lakeshore Drive access.
Saugatuck Township granted conditional approval for the project in January, and the Allegan County Road Commission followed suit Feb. 22.
The Saugatuck Township Fire District, which has called for improving access to Lakeshore north of where the road washed out in 1986, has voiced support for road as well.
“As dune and beach erosion slowly create the potential to impact the reliability of Lakeshore Drive,” contract city planner Tricia Anderson told the commission, “property owners, and public agencies are seeking ways to access the lakeshore from the east.”
Although only 489 feet west of Blue Star Highway, which would use an existing 25-foot-wide paved access on what is called the Tranquil parcel south of the self-storage units, lie in Douglas. Anderson nonetheless has advised the commission to heed both city engineer and attorney cautions, to wit:
• Core samples of the access road on the “Tranquil parcel” must be obtained and provided to the city engineer for his review.
• Declaration and grant of easements language will need changes, as noted by city attorney Phil Erickson.
• The 20-foot Claim of Interest in Easement does not suffice for the required 66-foot total easement, Erickson said. Township planner and zoning administrator Lynee Well has asked the entire easement lie on the Douglas parcel, as a section initially proposed lying on the township’s next-door Mendoza parcel is being pursued for a marijuana provisioning facility.
Based on the above, said Anderson, whose interim stint as contracted planning consultant ended when the city May 1 hiring Joseph Blair as fulltime planner/ZA, “we are recommending that the planning commission postpone any action on this item until the applicant can address all the concerns stated.”
The township will have jurisdiction over reviews and approval of most of the proposed private road, she said.