The Problem With Beach Easements

Huron County Planning Board to Review Beach Easement Zoning

From 2012 – Lake Township has deferred a decision to repeal beach front easements restrictions to the Huron County Planning Commission. Lake’s Township’s zoning restricting building and storage facilities on private beach front easements has been in place since 2007. Recently Lake Township’s leadership expressed the opinion that it does not have jurisdiction over beach easements. Despite overwhelming support expressed by local residents during a special hearing held by  the township in January, the board proceeded table the topic on beach easements zoning until the Huron County Planning Commission reviews.

The newest member to the Huron County Planning commission is Jeff Krohn, who had served on the Lake Township Planning Commission. The Huron Daily Tribune noted Krohn as saying the township feels it doesn’t have any zoning jurisdiction over easements. He said beach easements are framed by associations, which have bylaws pertaining to the use of easements. Also, he said, the township feels it doesn’t have any jurisdiction in the waters, and can’t regulate how boat hoists are lined up.

Beach easements such as Sylva Beach, located within Lake Township were formed in the early 1900’s before any thought of neighborhood associations were put into place.

In a survey conducted by of current land owners of the Sylva Beach easement, 91% supported zoning rules prevent the storage of boats and the building of structures on the 500 foot beach easement. The other concerns of the residents were that the easement was too small to allow more than 1-2 boat hoists. The easement is shared among 34 cottages and homes.