August 1, 2011

Saugatuck Township Citizens Request Judge to Review and Reject Singapore Dunes ‘Settlement’

SAUGATUCK, Mich., Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Local community groups have filed a petition asking Chief U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney to reject the proposed consent decree approved by the Saugatuck Township Board on July 22, 2011.

"The proposed consent decree is not fair, reasonable or legal, and it is not in the public interest. Saugatuck community residents and civic organizations have requested an opportunity to be heard by the Court in a formal legal 'fairness hearing' on the merits of the proposed consent decree at which we will ask the Court not to approve it," said Sheldon Wettack, Saugatuck Township resident and treasurer of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance.

"The fundamental problem with the settlement is that it gives Mr. McClendon and the Township Board the authority to do something that neither of them has the legal right to do on their own - and that is permit development that is in violation of both current and past zoning," said Wettack.

The petition was filed by the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, Laketown Alliance for Neighborly Development and the Kalamazoo River Association, but has since been widely endorsed by other community organizations and individuals. It presents case law on why the proposed settlement is contrary to law and should not be endorsed by the court. Specifically, it circumvents local zoning laws, violates the State-mandated rezoning process, and blocks the Saugatuck Township Board's oversight of the development.

"The proposed 'settlement' has been billed as a compromise. It is not. It gives McClendon special rights to develop a Miami-style resort complex without public input, and it weakens the zoning review process," said Wettack.

Members of the community, including former Senator Patricia Birkholz, called on the township to engage in a mediation process for a fairer and legal approach, and to claim proper reimbursement of its legal costs in under the insurance policy it holds for this purpose.

The proposed settlement approved by the Saugatuck Township Board on July 22, 2011 gives McClendon special rights to build a commercial development on the site that is not allowed under current or past zoning. McClendon sued the Saugatuck Township Board, claiming the zoning designation for his property was intended to discriminate against him.

SOURCE Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance