----- Original Message -----From: Chris BzdokTo: enviro-michSent: Tuesday, June 01, 1999 7:13 AMSubject: E-M:/ Crystal River - sample comment letterThe following is only meant to make life easier for anyone who wishes to comment but does not have the time to compose an original letter. There are many other equally good approaches, and if you have the time to write your own, please do. It is very important that the Legislators listed in the xc line receive copies.The sample letter is in the text of this message, and also attached as an MS Word file, for your convenience. Thanks again for any help you can give.Chris Bzdok
Olson & Noonan, P.C.
P.O. Box 2358
Traverse City, MI 49685
May 27, 1999
Mr. Dave Gesl
Regulatory Function Branch, Detroit District
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 1027
Detroit, MI 48231-1027
RE: Bayberry Mills, Inc. (FKA Kuras Properties)
Section 404 Permit Application
U.S. Army Corps File No. 88-245-003-4D\88-6-5
Dear Mr. Gesl:
I am writing to comment on the Homestead Resort's application to fill wetlands and build a golf course on the Crystal River, next to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Leelanau County. I am strongly opposed to this project, and urge the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the application. At the very least, I request that the Corps hold a public hearing on the project, and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to properly evaluate the project's effects on wetlands, wildlife, the river, the National Park, and other important resources.
I am sure you are aware that this project has been in the news and in the courts for a long time. A major reason for all the controversy is that a development of this magnitude could not be proposed in a more inappropriate place. The site is a fragile collection of wetlands and lowlands on the Crystal River. The Crystal River is a state-designated trout stream with excellent water quality that runs through a national park. The river is used by thousands of people for canoeing, fishing, recreation and educational activities.
The project will not only impact acres of wetlands. It will also destroy wildlife habitat and harm the river through the runoff and leaching of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and pollutants. By turning the river into a water hazard for the golf course, the project will also force the public off the river, for the exclusive benefit of the Homestead's customers. For all of these reasons, several federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service have submitted written comments opposing this project, and I believe they are correct in doing so.
I also oppose the project because there are alternatives to it. As federal agencies (including the Army Corps) and members of the public have pointed out, the Homestead is not entitled to a permit under federal wetlands law because there are practicable alternatives to this project. These alternatives include using one of the many available upland sites nearby for a golf course, or using the Crystal River property for other activities that will not impact wetlands.
I request that a public hearing be held in Glen Arbor so that you and your colleagues can hear from the many people who are concerned about this project. I also request that the Army Corps prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on the project. I am aware that your office does not normally prepare an EIS on a wetland permit application. However, I am sure you will agree that this is an unusual situation. The many years of controversy, the high level of public concern, the proximity of the project to the national park and important natural and historic resources, and the use of the river all mean that the impacts of this development on the environment will be far more significant than almost any other wetland application.
The recent problems at the Arcadia Bluffs in Manistee County and the Cedar River in Antrim County demonstrate that this kind of intensive golf and residential development simply does not belong on the edge of our precious and irreplaceable lakes and streams. Putting those projects in such fragile places jeopardizes the natural features which attract people to northwest lower Michigan in the first place.
For these reasons, I request that your office deny this application. At the very least, I request that the Army Corps hold a public hearing and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, so that the Crystal River is not turned over to bulldozers until the consequences of doing so are sufficiently understood. Thank you for considering my comments.
xc: U.S. Representative Bart Stupak (1120 E. Front St, Suite D, Traverse City, MI 49686)
Senator Carl Levin (459 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510)
Friends of the Crystal River (P.O. Box 123, Glen Arbor, MI 49636)