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Public hearing will mean delay for Muskegon's Adelaide Pointe Development

State environmental regulators said they received 172 public comments, around a hundred Facebook posts and six requests for public hearings.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — New developments tied to a multi-million-dollar development along the Muskegon lakeshore will delay work on the long-running project.

It appeared state environmental regulators had granted requests to convene a public hearing regarding the future of the Adelaide Pointe development.

The process, an EGLE spokesperson said, would entail a public hearing, which had yet to be formally scheduled at the time of publication, a ten day public comment window and additional time for officials to weigh the developer's permit request.

EGLE confirmed it had receive six such requests for public hearings in addition to 172 public comments.

Developer Ryan Leestma told 13 ON YOUR SIDE it had also received feedback via approximately 100 Facebook posts. 

City commissioners granted developers of the multi-million-dollar Adelaide Pointe project a cooperative use agreement during a mid-September meeting, following an additional opportunity for public comment in the wake of a work session earlier that week.

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 at the time. 

13 ON YOUR SIDE received a copy of a letter submitted to state regulators ahead of the September 20 public comment deadline, citing several concerns and soliciting additional information.

It appeared to number among the six formal public hearing requests the department said it had received. 

It contains a numbered list of 16 concerns, questioning the project's potential impact on Muskegon Lake. The letter refers to plans as 'aggressive', an 'unprecedented taking of public resources' and suggests 'adverse impacts' would be sizable. 

The letter's contents may be read in full below:

"They're going to have to look at this, they're going to go through this thing and its merits," Stu Kogge, PWS, a senior wetland and aquatic biologist with GEI, the consulting firm contracted to oversee elements of the project's design.

"The bottom line is, is questions and comments he has, we've already addressed them."

Answers, Kogge said, that were already contained within supporting documents and various studies, which would have been submitted to regulators but may not have been publicly available.

Two such documents may be read in full here:

"Yes. Is it is it an encapsulating of the public trust waterways? Absolutely," Koge addressed one of the letter's primary concerns--Adelaide Pointe's proposed use of the public trust waterways. 

"Public waterways that are not being utilized now by the public because they're degraded… there's a mixture of sand and foundry sand. There's zero public access right now at all. So you think of what's being gained by [moving forward]."

"We literally did everything possible," Leestma said. 

Leestma said he remained confident the multi-million dollar project would move forward, despite the delay.

"It will be the most gratifying thing I have ever achieved when I get there and I don't give up."

The letter was signed by West Michigan businessman Jon Rooks, another developer and the owner of Grand Rapids-based Parkland Properties. 

Rooks, a potential competitor, clarified his stance via email in the following exchange:

Credit: WZZM

This story will be updated with additional information as soon as a date is set for the aforementioned public hearing. 

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