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State Sues Over Seawall

The State Department of Environmental Protection is suing the Planning and Zoning Commission to reverse their April 15 approval of a seawall at 10 Bluff Point on Saugatuck Island. The lawsuit states that Ronald Marsilio’s alleged seawall violates the Coastal Area Management regulations.

The structure is a 100-foot-long pile of loose rocks set above the high tide line. Aerial photography places the construction of the alleged seawall between April and September in 2000. Two notices of violation were issued by the town in 2009 for failure to get approval to build the structure.

Marsilio argues the pile of stones  is not actually a seawall. He placed the stones to protect plantings from storms and flooding. The plantings were required as a condition for approval in the original house plan submitted in 1998.

To resolve the notices of violation, Marsilio submitted an application for a Coastal Site Plan that would allow the structure. The application was approved by the Erosion and Flood, Conservation and Planning and Zoning commissions. However, Planning assistant Michelle Perillie advised against approving the Coastal Site Plan for Mersilio’s property. She submitted a report to the Planning and Zoning Commission stating the structure was not in line with the Coastal Management Agency’s goals and policies.

Marsilio said he has conformed to every request of the three town commissions. He said the question at the heart of the argument is whether or not the DEP has jurisdiction over a structure above the high tide line. “According to a certified surveyor, the wall is outside of the DEP’s jurisdiction,” Marsilio said.

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