Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sides Step Back from Denison Dunes Confrontation

Wednesday evening's meeting of the Saugatuck Township Board ended by again tabling the decision as to the level of development that will be allowed on the property known as the Denison Dunes. But it was a decision that both sides were generally happy with.

The property belongs to Aubrey McClendon, billionaire owner of the Seattle Supersonics. He purchased the 412 acres for $39.5 million, winning out against a local group that had hoped to buy the land for $37.5 million.

McClendon plans to build million-dollar homes on the north half of the property, which abuts Saugatuck Dunes State Park. The southern half adjoins Oval Beach Park.

James Bruinsma, a spokesman for McClendon, read from a statement. "We are working hard to be thoughtful and responsible new stewards of this special land," he said. The attorney asked the board to postpone their vote on the initial request (to change the zoning to allow for more homes) until new, specific plans could be offered in the spring. He tried to assure the crowd of 300 people who turned out for the meeting that the development plan is not as large as people are imagining.

Bruinsma said that McClendon has hired environmentally friendly engineers, architects and conservation consultants to help with plans for his development.

Conservationists simply say that the land is special and should be preserved in its untouched state.

The board voted to table the item until they see the plans which McClendon will present this spring.

from WZZM TV, "Proposed lakeshore development put on hold", Jan 2, 2008
from the Grand Rapids Press, "No rezoning of duneland yet", Jan 2, 2008
See Wednesday Meeting Critical for Saugatuck's Denison Dunes
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