Heated hearing over Gun Lake marina expansion plan

Posted at 10:02 PM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 23:04:00-04

ORANGEVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A plan for a marina expansion on Gun Lake brought about 250 residents to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hearing in Barry County Tuesday night.

It's a debate that has been going on for more than a year now. On Tuesday, there was a wide range of concerns, from traffic congestion to wildlife concerns to over carrying capacity on the lake.

Although these were valid concerns, the DEQ has no jurisdiction over any of it, except for what's above and below the water line.  Officials with the DEQ say the agency doesn't do environmental studies and can't rule on carrying capacity, which had many people upset and even shocked.

The controversy started last year, when Lucas Spoor bought property along Marsh Road in Orangeville Township.  Now, he's looking to expand his marina from 20 slips to 54.

While there were a handful of people at Tuesday's meeting who were there in support of the idea, many spoke against it.  They raised concerns about things like traffic in that area posing a risk to children and added noise.

They also cited environmental concerns with wildlife like ducks and turtles that residents say have already been impacted with the installment of the docks there.

When FOX 17 first talked to Lucas Spoor last year about the idea, he said he initially offered the spots to the neighborhood association for a discounted price of $800.  They are spots that he says he can make around $1,500 a pop on.

What the DEQ is interested in or can rule on, includes how far the docks go into the water, the structure of docks and ramps and any inconsistencies in his application.

Public comment on this will end June 9, and then the DEQ will make their decision to allow or deny the request for the expansion.