Public input sought for proposed dune property acquisition

Alex Doty • Jan 20, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Ottawa County Parks plans to offer several opportunities for people to provide input on the proposed purchase of 353 acres of dune property in the cities of Ferrysburg and Grand Haven — known as the Ottawa Sand Acquisition Project.

The first comment period is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Ferrysburg City Hall, 17290 Roosevelt Road.

At that first of three public meetings, Ottawa County Parks staff will provide details about the project, County Parks Director John Scholtz said. Following the presentation, the public will have an opportunity to provide input.

“We’ll share the comments with the state and DNR,” Scholtz said. “We will also share them with the (county) Parks Commission and Board of Commissioners.”

Other opportunities for the public to comment will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, in Conference Room F of the Ottawa County Fillmore Street Complex, 12220 Fillmore St., West Olive. The Fillmore Street Complex conference room will also host a final comment period at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 7.

The Ottawa Sand property is located on North Shore Drive near Lake Michigan. It includes 219 acres of state-designated critical dunes, 5,585 feet of Grand River frontage and an 80-acre man-made lake.

An area of interest to the Ottawa County Parks Commission, the land wasn’t expected to be available for several years. In the fall of 2017, the property owner offered to sell the land based on an appraised value of $11.2 million, and would donate 25 percent of the land value to serve as a grant match in a grant proposal to the state.

In response to the offer, the county submitted an $8.4 million grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund outside of the typical grant cycle. Last month, the trust fund’s board recommended that a $4.2 million grant be awarded with an informal commitment to recommend the remaining amount in 2018, depending on funding availability. The grant recommendation must be approved by the Michigan Legislature and governor.

The County Parks Commission would have typically sought public input prior to the grant submittal, Scholtz said, but due to the condensed time frame, a meeting could not be held.

“This is not the traditional way to do it, no question about that,” he said.

Depending on the feedback from the three meetings, Scholtz said it could impact how the county proceeds with the project.

Recommended for You