Feds say no to Barrett's dock plans

A long-standing plan to add more docks at Barrett Boat Works has been torpedoed by a federal agency.
Marie Havenga
Jul 17, 2014


Katie Otanez, regulatory project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District, said the denial was “based on adverse impact to navigation and safety.”

Chris Lisowicz, owner of the Spring Lake marina, had hoped to add three docks ranging from 245 to 291 feet, with 40-foot-long finger docks on the northwestern side of the property facing Keenan Marina. A fourth dock would have been used for services.

The project would have included removing 24 existing slips and creating 93 new ones.

Lisowicz would not comment on the denial, and he would not elaborate on future plans at this time.

The proposal has been on rough seas for many years. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality initially denied the project, but that decision was overturned. After a contested case hearing six years ago, the DEQ issued a permit in 2010.

But then it was the Army Corps of Engineers’ turn to weigh in on the issue.

More than 50 people chimed in with opinions during the corps’ 2010 public comment period.

“We considered a lot of information that was available about this particular area,” Otanez said.

Considerations included the number of boats that travel the area and the width of the navigable area.

In 2006, the DEQ denied Barrett Boat Works’ request for nearly 100 new slips, also due to concerns about navigable safety.

The Ottawa County Marine Safety Patrol, state Department of Natural Resources personnel and local leaders, including Spring Lake Township Supervisor John Nash, expressed concern about the narrowness of the navigable waterway if new docks were built there.

Barrett officials appealed the decision.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




In yer face, Lipskofitz!


I like Barrett Boat Works'.

I have my boat there. But I can understand the issue.
On busy days, with the location of the gas pumps, boats will spill out into the navigable water way. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be adding additional docks and eating up more "parking" in what is already a pretty narrow entry/exit point for Spring Lake.

Tri-cities realist

The navigable waterway gets pretty narrow under the spring lake (M104) bridge, I don't think the proposed docks would have made it nearly as narrow.


So a Question... How far offshore can a dock be from the land owners property seeing law they only own to the waters edge???? Who polices the water toys for example (trampolines) on Spring Lake??? several are on the lake and not attached to docks or seawalls... or maybe keeping a channel open on both sides of the Smith Bridge bayou on the weekends.


Newspaperlawyer: Actually, on in-land lakes the water front property owners have riparian rights and own the land (under the water) to the middle of the lake. On Lake Michigan (not deemed an in-land lake) it appears they own to what ever is the high water mark near the shore. For more details, the tribune had a legal opinion printed about three weeks ago, on riparian rights for in-land lakes. I tried to find the date for you but alas no luck. Be kind.

Tri-cities realist

I don't think Spring Lake is considered an inland lake. I thought that was because it is connected to Lake Michigan via the Grand River. After checking the MDNR website, there are 4 inland lakes in Ottawa county: Crockery Lake, Fennessy Lake, Lake Macatawa, and Stearns Bayou. How do they explain that?


The legal opinion made no reference to any connections to other bodies of water and Spring Lake is a prime example of an inland lake. I think Macatawa
is also connected to Lake Michigan.

Tri-cities realist

That's what is confusing. Why isn't spring lake listed as an inland lake by MDNR? Although I'm not really expecting you to know. Kudos if you can explain it.


You are correct on the lakes listed in Ottawa County from the DNR site. Spring Lake is also in Muskegon County, but not listed. The lake I live on is also not listed. I suspect that with 64,988 in-land lakes in Michigan, the list would be extensive. One web site called Lake Finder did list Spring Lake (and excluded others) and indicated it was 1,251 acres in size.


Good thing the issue wasn't the environment would have been a shu in. We need to get these corp folks to look at the grand landing Scheme. Turned down many times by planning commission for traffic concerns. council amended and approved. Traffic, traffic. What traffic?


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.