Gun Lake residents speak against proposed marina expansion

ORANGEVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Some Gun Lake area residents are against expansion of the planned Landing Marina, and they said so at a meeting Wednesday. Original plans called for 17 new boat slips, but the owner now wants to build 47 slips.

Most of the people who attended the public forum at Orangeville Township Hall spoke against the proposal. Residents cited safety concerns and overcrowding as reasons they were against the increasing the number of boat slips.

"We don't want this expansion," said Rob Heethuis, president of the Gun Lake Protection Association. "The Township has said that, the planning commission has said that, the commissioners of Barry County have said that. Our zoning regulator has said that he is entitled to the boats that have been there historically."

Lucas Spoor, owner of The Landing marina, already has permits to build 17 slips, but before construction starts he wants to expand to 47.

"We would like to have 20 slips for seasonal boat tenants and the remainder for public parking for their boats so they can enjoy the variety of things we have going on at the Landing," Spoor said.

Spoor says his intention is to provide additional slips for the public to use the Landing.

"I think it would be an awesome thing for Gun Lake, and that's why we are pursuing this," he said. "I live on Gun Lake, and I love this community. I've been boating here since I was knee high to a grasshopper."

Other Gun Lake residents at the meeting disagreed, saying they feel the extra boats will hurt the lake and its ecosystem. They don't like the fact the boats would be permanently moored there for long periods of time.

"That's an area that's normally open water, and it's subject to large amounts of fish breeding in summer, so that's a huge impact," said Sarah Holroyd. "There aren't a huge number of places along the lakeshore for fish spawning, and that is one place that is."

Heethuis of the Gun Lake Protection Association feels approval would set a very bad example.

"[Spoor] is doing this for his business," Heethuis said. "He wants to expand his business. You think he's the only one who would like to expand his business farther out into the lake? I can think of several other groups. So I think it's a terrible precedent for the lake."

The cut off for public comment to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is April 21.  Comments can be submitted online.  The department will make a decision on the matter by June 13.

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