'No wake' gets second chance

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:36 PM

Grand Haven Township officials were able to persuade the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to modify a planned zone, making it smaller than one rejected two months ago.

“I think it’s good,” Township Trustee Howard Behm said of the revised plan. “Hopefully, it will work out, and Spring Lake (Township) will feel the same way.”

While the Grand Haven Township Board on Monday postponed taking any action on the new zone Jan. 13, the Spring Lake Township Board voted Monday night to approve the plan.

Behm noted that it is a positive step to have support of the state agency in getting the no-wake zone back to the original specifications discussed in 2012.

The discussion started last year when several Grand Haven Township residents approached both communities with concerns about fast boats in the mostly residential stretch of water.

Unless there is a posted no-wake zone — or boats are within 100 feet of a dock or moored boat — watercraft is allowed to go 55 mph on Michigan's inland waters.

But based on the new ordinance, operators of a boat 26 feet or longer would be prohibited from operating at a speed that created a wake. The zone would be on the westernmost channel of the Grand River from Willowwood Drive south to Pottawattomie Bayou.

“The people (living there) were very pleased that this was moving forward,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said.

The zone would be marked with buoys purchased by Grand Haven Township once it becomes official in both townships.

The change in direction comes after a decision in October that saw efforts run aground.

"As you recall, Spring Lake Township decided to (vote down) a no-wake zone because they felt that the DNR stretched it too far," Cargo said.

The nixed zone went from the tip of the Indian Channel island to Pottawattomie Bayou. Some Spring Lake Township trustees took exception to the DNR's plan in October because it added about 1,100 more feet of no-wake water.

On Monday, the Spring Lake Township Board voted 6-0 to accept the DNR's shorter zone.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Tribune reporter Marie Havenga contributed to this report.

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