MUSKEGON, Mich. — The effort to rehabilitate acres of Muskegon-area lakefront property once dominated by industry moved forward Tuesday with a critical green light from the City of Muskegon.
City commissioners granted developers of the multi-million-dollar Adelaide Pointe project a cooperative use agreement during Tuesday's meeting, following an additional opportunity for public comment in the wake of a Monday work session.
Yet, Wednesday, Developer Ryan Leestma told 13 ON YOUR SIDE that a hearing request submitted to state environmental regulators could mean a months-long delay.
Planned upgrades along the former industrial site on the shores of Muskegon Lake calls for extensive renovations, including:
- Full-service 270-slip marina
- Boat storage
- 400 condos
- Retail shops
- Environmental restoration efforts, including remediation of invasive species
The approximately $240-million proposal would also allow for public access to the lakeshore and area amenities, developers and the city confirmed Wednesday.
"We're also taking a rock wall and recreating a public sidewalk on the top that will allow people to actually get out into the middle of the lake and they can fish into the deep water channel," Leestma said.
Additionally, Leestma touted several of the project's environmental credentials via a Wednesday Zoom interview, including plans to replant portions of the lake bottom with native species, utilizing floating docks to minimize environmental impact and sustainable construction techniques.
He highlighted a recent mention in trade magazine Marina World.
"They took our project, highlighted it and said, this is the way that waterfront development is going to happen in the future," Leestma related.
"Nobody has done what we're doing in terms of public access, or environmental improvement ever," he said.
If the request for a public hearing is granted, regulators with EGLE would spend several months gathering additional public input prior to arriving at a decision regarding developers' permit request beyond the current September 20 comment deadline.
The agency elaborated via email when contacted for comment:
"EGLE convenes public hearings when it determines there are legitimate statutory grounds (that is, a request is not frivolous or outside the scope of EGLE’s statutory responsibilities)."
EGLE couldn't discuss specific details to safeguard the identity of the individual who advanced the request, a spokesperson said, but added a decision to take up the request would be the agency's prerogative and was not a certainty.
Wednesday's development, Leestma said, threatened to put the project on hold, at least through the end of the year, given the additional 60-day public comment window.
"Absolutely heartbreaking, which, frankly, is why we're going absolutely crazy trying to get the word out to everybody possible about how great this project is in everything we're trying to do right," Leestma related. "We're not trying to hide anything. In fact, the more people we talk to, the more they love it."
To submit a public comment, click here.
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