Commercial Record

Township OKs 329+K water work


Saugatuck Township has awarded low bidder Redline Excavating a $329,042.64 contract to extend municipal water to a controversial ski lake development east of 66th Street and south of 135th Avenue.

Work will be contingent on arranging a successful special assessment district to pay for it.

Landowner and realtor Chad VanHorn plans to develop 14 residential lots ringing an already partially-manmade pond on 47 acres he bought there in 2018, but saw plans stall when the Michigan Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) department, township and Allegan County Health officials cited him for over-digging what he’d represented as a permitted 4.9-acre pond.

EGLE, on measuring its actual size at 6.7 acres, ordered excavation cease April 9 last year until VanHorn addressed questions about the project and possibly worked out means of mitigation.

As such, 70-foot-high piles of excavated sand, not allowed to be sold and hauled off-site due to state mining regulations, remain east of the clear-cut stretch where the pond was built.

VanHorn’s daughter Josiline Bowdish and her husband Tyler, who plan to build a home on one of the lot splits, last January sued the township claiming Saugatuck Township Fire District officials’ “arbitrary demand (to install municipal water and fire hydrants) finds no support in law and is in direct conflict with the township’s own zoning.”

The Bowdishes argued fire officials’ edict denied them equal protection under the state constitution, effected an unconstitutional taking without just compensation by making their lot unbuildable, was an arbitrary and capricious exercise of power in violation of their rights to substantive due process and constituted an attempt to zone without enacting an ordinance under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act.

The township board July 14 last year agreed to a settlement whereby the township would extend an 8-inch dead-end water main via special assessment north and south under 66th Street between 135th Avenue and Holland Street serving new homes south and west of there.

It will be financed by a bond on all benefited lots involved and cover the full cost of construction, engineering design and associated legal fees for the work.

Township engineers Prein & Newhof received six bids for the project March 1, of which Redline came in lowest.

Prein representatives told the board March 9 Redline had completed projects of similar size and scale, but like others in the construction industry was experiencing challenges with availability of materials.

Redline anticipated receiving materials in November or December, engineers said. The completion date bid for this project was originally Aug. 30, 2022.

“Redline Excavating will provide a letter as a commitment to hold their bid price despite the delay in materials,” Prein said.

A request for proposals on the bond was released March 11 by the Chicago public accounting consultancy firm Baker Tilly.

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