By Scott Sullivan
A developer who last summer contested Saugatuck Township Fire District water extension requirements has agreed to pay for an 8-inch main to his 6519 135th Ave. site, with the township adding as much as the $22,700 difference estimated to make it a 12-inch main.
The township board agreed to its part in the deal May 1, members noting a larger main would serve a prospective new well site and development largely west of there.
BUILDSB principal Scott Bosgraaf, who is building five storage buildings on a commercially-zoned private easement north of 135th and west of Blue Star Highway, claimed last summer fire district leaders misapplied the International Fire Code in requiring him to extend municipal water there.
He withdrew a suit filed in Allegan County Circuit court after STFD municipal members Douglas and Saugatuck cities, plus Saugatuck Township agreed to create a new fire board of appeals to hear his claim.
That board voted 3-0 Oct. 18 to dismiss the appeal, saying fire officials had interpreted the IFC correctly.
Scott Bosgraaf is the brother of Brian Bosgraaf, who is leading NorthShore of Sauga-tuck LLC efforts to develop housing around a boat basin and elsewhere on 308 acres owned by Jeff Padnos north of the Kalamazoo River channel to Lake Michigan.
The BUILDSB private easement 366 feet north of Blue Star is also part of the March 2017 Padnos purchase from the Aubrey McClendon estate. Bosgraaf plans to build an 11,700-square-foot storage building on it, plus four 2,400-square-feet such structures served by a private easement off 135th.
“The upgrade (to a 12-inch main) makes economic sense to serve future developments,” Fire Chief Greg Janik told the township board at its monthly meeting last week.
“The township has done this before,” he went on. “There’s a precedent. The developer has to install it prior to construction.”
Township engineer Dana Burd of Prein & Newhof said the extension will be from Blue Star 800 feet to roughly the midpoint of the Bosgraaf parcel.
“At this time,” said Burd, “it is recommended that only 700 feet of the current extension be built as 12-inch main. The remain 100 feet may be built as 8-inch and allowed to connect on the north side of Blue Star to an existing 8-inch main on the west side of 65th Street.
“At such point in the future as a well site is developed, the entire water main route from the well to the south side of Blue Star should become a 12-inch main. This will require an additional crossing of Blue Star Highway.
“The water main on 135th Avenue should be built 23 feet north of the road centerline per Allegan County Road Commission standards. The developer must obtain a permit from them for all work within the county right-of-way. No private easements will be necessary,” Burd said.
Padnos/Northshore in 2017 agreed to transfer 5.8 acres just west of the BUILDSB site to the township for $1, should the site be a viable public water source.
The Kalamazoo Lake Sewer & Water Authority — which serves Saugatuck and Douglas cities, plus parts of Saugatuck and Laketown townships — has voiced long-term desire to augment its existing well at Riverside Cemetery, a half-mile or so southeast of the current test site.
Supply from that source is sufficient for current needs, but one or more backup sites are desirable in the event things change: contamination there or at neighbor wells, new demands caused by development.
The township has funded different-depth drillings and water-quality testings on the parcel since then. Results have been promising, but Michigan Department of Environmental Quality water-safety standards are, perhaps understandably, demanding.
Janik told the township board engineering studies for the Bosgraaf extension may take four to five weeks, with DEQ permitting to follow.
“We believe it’s a positive step,” he said.