Egg Harbor In Another Marina Dispute

The embattled Egg Harbor Marina reconstruction and expansion project is in rough waters yet again.

The Peninsula Shores Condo Association has filed for a contested case hearing with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) because the length of two of the floating piers in the marina plan that the DNR permitted Oct. 16 were lengthened from earlier proposals.

Steve Schaefer, the association’s president, said the change contradicts the agreement the condo association reached with the village in December of 2008 in a previous contested case hearing with the DNR. The village plans to use the end of the piers as overflow docking space, in which case boats would be docked south of the extended property line of Peninsula Shores. Village Administrator Josh Van Lieshout said the pier was lengthened to make up for slips lost due to other adjustments to the plan.

“We need to have as many slips as we can in the marina to meet our payoff goals,” Van Lieshout said.

Earlier site plans had the piers set back about 20 feet from the new length.

The DNR has until Dec. 12 to decide whether it will schedule a contested case hearing with an administrative law judge.

“It’s an unfortunate turn of events and we will work vigorously in our response,” said village president Nancy Fisher. “We are prepared to defend everything we have done and we have been scrupulous in staying well within what we were permitted to do.”

Fisher said the village has asked attorney Waltrud Arts to prepare arguments in opposition to the permit review request by Peninsula Shores.

Schaefer said the association agrees that the village is working within the parameters of its permit.

“The dispute is more with the DNR for permitting the plan than with the village,” he said. “We told the DNR we were not supportive of this change when they were considering it. We had hoped to resolve this with the village, but they refused to discuss it. We really don’t want to hold this thing up.”

The filing is specific to the floating piers and does not involve the stone breakwall or any construction already completed.

The village had to get permit amendments from the DNR when it lowered the height of the breakwall and changed the parking lot configuration last summer to reduce costs and appease opposition groups. They also moved a shed meant to house gas pumps in response to a Peninsula Shores request.

The village is aiming to open the marina by Memorial Day of 2010, but this is not the first hurdle the project has faced.

The village originally planned on having a new marina open for the 2009 boating season, but a successful petition forced the village to get approval from electors via referendum. When that failed, the village closed the main pier for the 2009 season due to safety concerns. A second referendum for a reconfigured, less expensive marina finally passed in July.