2017-01-26 / Front Page

Narrows dock project back on table

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


A PROJECT to build a dock that would hold four boats has been proposed on the Lake Leelanau Narrows. A PROJECT to build a dock that would hold four boats has been proposed on the Lake Leelanau Narrows. Husband and wife Tim Cypher and Egan McGlynn plan to go ahead with construction of a boathouse and dock long in the works along the Lake Leelanau Narrows.

They’ll need a permit for the project from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division, which is expected to be issued.

Proposed docks in that area of the Narrows have taken on many forms through the years, and at one time were the subject of a lawsuit and protest. The latest and smallest version has drawn concerns from the Lake Leelanau Lake Association, which is encouraging its members to make their views known by commenting on the permit application. It is also requesting that the DNR hold a public hearing on the issue.

The public has until Sunday to comment on the application.

In a letter sent out to its membership, the lake association states that based on past approval by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality of a 250-foot dock in the Narrows, it believes the permit will be approved.

“Therefore, our focus is on modifying terms to lessen impact, not to deny the permit,” the letter says.

The application is for construction of a 24-foot long by 17-foot wide boathouse on pilings and installation of a 60-foot long by 4-foot wide boardwalk type dock on pilings with two 12-foot by 3-foot finger piers. The permit has been requested by the McGlynn Cypher Trust.

The property where the boathouse and dock would be built is owned by the Leelanau Conservancy, which purchased it from Cypher in 2012. The property had been purchased by the McGlynn Cypher Trust in 2010.

Tom Nelson, executive director of the Leelanau Conservancy, said that Cypher and the Conservancy worked to have the Conservancy purchase some of the frontage in the Narrows as a way to protect its character.

At that time Cypher negotiated the right to rebuild an existing boathouse with a four-foot extension, as well as a shoreline dock and two finger docks. The old boathouse, which was in disrepair, was torn down in July 2014.

“My understanding is that it’s consistent with the reserved right he kept when the Conservancy bought that piece of land,” said Nelson, who was working on agricultural preservation with the Conservancy at the time.

Cypher declined to comment on the issue, saying the application is pending. Calls to the lake association for comment also were not returned.

The lake association wrote that its members raised $100,000 to help the Conservancy make the purchase, as the association cannot own property.

The group is contending that the project will make boat traffic worse in the already congested area and that the state should request a construction plan to minimize pollution.

The group also worries that boats will stir up the Narrows bottom, destroying fish habitat.

The application can be viewed online at the DEQ website under application number 2MD-W71G-T42A. Comments may be sent electronically.

A hard copy of the public notice may be requested by emailing or calling the Water Resources Division at 231-775- 3960.

The property was once owned by Wayne Tyge and his Narrows Land Development Company, which received approval from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to build a 250-foot dock on the Narrows that included 14 boat slips. The company had planned to build the Provement Village condominium development there.

The lake association filed — and later lost — a lawsuit in 2007 against the DEQ for its approval of the project, claiming it would have adverse environmental impacts on wetlands and would be a hazard for boat traffic in the heavily-traveled Narrows.

The following year, Circuit Court Judge Philip E. Rodgers Jr. upheld the DEQ ruling to allow the development.

Tyge’s plan had initially included dredging a canal and lagoon for a 22-slip marina, a plan that was rejected by the DEQ because of impact on wetlands.

Return to top