Saugatuck approves new ‘floating home’ zoning regulations

Nathan Law

SAUGATUCK — A zoning requirement outlining requirements for “floating homes” in Saugatuck was approved by the city council Monday night.  Two ordinances, one dealing with zoning provisions and one with regulatory language, were approved unanimously during a July 26 meeting, City Manager Ryan Heise told The Sentinel. The issue has been […]

SAUGATUCK — A zoning requirement outlining requirements for “floating homes” in Saugatuck was approved by the city council Monday night. 

Two ordinances, one dealing with zoning provisions and one with regulatory language, were approved unanimously during a July 26 meeting, City Manager Ryan Heise told The Sentinel.

The issue has been studied by the city since January, when a moratorium was imposed on any new floating residences docking on the Kalamazoo River. The new regulations limit such homes to the city’s Neighborhood Marine District.

These small floating homes proposed to be located on the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck have generated resistance from neighbors.

“The basic takeaway was floating homes aren’t bad, but they have their rightful place,” Heise said. “They need the right infrastructure to support them, especially if they’re being used for short-term rentals.”

That infrastructure includes services like trash, wastewater, electrical and plumbing. 

The ordinance defines floating homes to include any “boat or vessel which is designed or used primarily for living or as a house, domicile or dwelling rather than for water transport or recreational purposes.” 

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