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Opposition to newly proposed rental cottages at Pere Marquette Beach

Ovals, LLC proposal
Posted at 10:52 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 22:52:00-05

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A proposal to develop rental cottages at Pere Marquette has received opposition from citizens and at least one commissioner.

The proposal was originally up for discussion at Tuesday's upcoming Muskegon City Commission meeting. It has since been pushed back to February 8th.

The proposal includes five sets of row houses, containing four units each in the 'Ovals,' the area shaped like a tear drop that is bordered by Beach Street.

The developer, Ovals LLC based in Spring Lake, would also include office space for the rental units and small business kiosks. Ovals LLC would also be committed to creating a public boardwalk, according to the proposal documents made available on the city's website.

The city says the proposal agreement could generate the city in excess of $2 million, dependent on the total number of units developed over time. The funds generated would also be allocated to assist with park maintenance across the City of Muskegon.

Commissioner Ken Johnson says he plans to reject the plan based on how it is being introduced to the commission.

"It's not being put forward ,in my opinion, in a fair and equitable manner that has been handed to a single entity, rather than there being a request for proposal or any kind of bidding process. So, even if I thought it was perfect, I still would reject those agreements just because I feel like it's not the fairest, most equitable process in my opinion," said Commissioner Johnson.

Johnson says he also believes other groups should have been included in the planning phases, such as the Beachwood-Bluffton Neighborhood Association, also known as BBNA. The association recently learned about the proposal last week.

"When I learned that the scope of the proposal was for two-story quad buildings that seemed to me more akin to townhouses than cabins or even cottages, I was quite shocked when I saw the placement of them all around the perimeter of the ovals. I was quite taken aback by the sort of fortress like feel that that would create around this public space," said Chris Willis, Chair of BBNA.

Meanwhile, BBNA had been working for the past year on their own proposal to preserve the ovals. Their informal plan currently includes a hammock park, boardwalk and restoration of the dunes.

The proposal will be brought up on February 8th, in light of it being taken off of Tuesday's agenda.