SAUGATUCK, MI – A 130-acre church camp on Lake Michigan in Saugatuck is moving closer to redevelopment for high-end lakefront homes.
The city’s Planning Commission this week voted 4-2 to grant tentative approval to a site plan and special land use request from developer David Barker to establish eight home sites on a 22-acre portion of the Presbyterian Camp off of Perryman Street. A resolution establishing conditions for the project is expected to come back before commissioners next month.
Barker has an agreement to buy the site, which has been in existence since 1899 and has been owned by the Chicago Presbytery since 1921, for $10 million. The presbytery has been trying to sell the property for four years to settle out a sexual abuse case dating back to the 1990s.
There has been vocal opposition from camp supporters who continue to lobby the city to block Barker’s proposal. Some jeered commissioners after the vote.
“We’re very conscious of how close you hold the camp and how dear it is to you,” said Planning Commission Chairman Jim Muir, who said afterwards that commissioners would continue to take input on setting conditions for Barker’s development.