The Problem With Beach Easements

The Problem with Beach Easements…People.

As long as I’ve been coming up to the Upper Thumb the ongoing topic is property lines and easements. Because of the varied couture of the lake, there is no truly square lot within the first 1/4 mile of the beach. Everything is at odd angles and measurements. As a result, folks are always putting sheds on their neighbor’s lot or cutting down someone else trees. Don’t get me started about fence lines. Harsh words are spoken and sometimes hard feelings are felt for years.

Definition of an Easement in Michigan

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For our purposes, a beach easement provides access to the lake by way of a road, walkway, or across a riparian owner’s property. Property advertised with “deeded access”, which many neighborhoods have here in the Thumb, usually means there is an easement right accompanying the property owners providing access to the water. Many times it is a lakefront parcel that is set aside for the purposes of being a beach easement. The easement language in the owers deed might define the scope of the use.

Beach Easements Can Lead to Harsh Words

Beach Easement

Any beach with a beach easement is always fodder for the potential for words and outright blow-ups. Easement folks are viewed dimly by property owners who border the area. Conversely, guests of those who use the easement tend to sprawl outward as they near the water’s edge. It has all the makings of a potential border war each and every weekend. It doesn’t help that, because of the high water level, there is now only a few short yards of usable beach vs. the over 100 yards of sand between the waters edge and the break-walls. When the water was low, berms, trees and snow fence sprung up in an attempt to mark the territory. Now the water threatens to take these impediments back out into the lake.

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