From 2012- Huron County, Michigan – There was a stunning reversal of momentum for the Lake Township Wind Separatists who were told “No” by the Chandler Township board. A motion was struck down to enter negotiations to separate about 1/3 of Lake Township into Chandler for purposes of wind development. According to those in attendance at the packed township hall, the motion was quick, decisive and unanimous not to proceed with any further talks. According to those in attendance the he vote was 5-0.
Huron County, Michigan – The Lake Township Board has been forced to schedule a hearing on May 25th, just before the Memorial Day holiday due to pressure from resident concerns over the proposed elimination of current zoning restrictions of beach easements. The Lake Township Planning Commission is currently considering elimination of Section 1203.4 regarding restrictions on beach easements in the township. The issue was tabled and the board asked Huron County Planning Commission for guidance.
ThumbWind.com has learned that the State of Michigan is clamping down hard on those easements with multiple boat hoists or dockage arrangements coming out of common “access only” easements. The State is viewing such an arrangement as a meeting the criteria of a marina. Higgins Lake in Roscommon County has been the location with recent mitigation action where homeowner associations have erected dockage allowing multiple watercraft to be moored or secured within a commons area on the lake. The State views these arrangements as a marina.
The Lake Township board is looking to eliminate zoning restrictions which have been in effect since 2007 thinking that it may infringe upon the authority of the State of Michigan to regulate its navigable waterways. However residents currently located in easements affected by the zoning cite that the Lake Township zoning provisions offers a “guard rail” as to the proper use of an easement. Some homeowners with easement rights are mis-informed as to what their use provisions are. Some believe it includes year- around storage of boats, hoists and other recreational items. It was further noted that a total elimination of Section 1203.4 would place any improvements on easement property outside of zoning authority of the Township. The meeting scheduled for May 25th at the Lake Township hall promises to be interesting and ThumbWind.com will be there.
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 ThumbWind.com 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.
Lake Township, Michigan. Feb 22, 2012 – Despite pleas from local residents and numerous letters from seasonal owners, the Lake Township Planning Board struck down an ordnance put in place in 2008 that has served to place usage restrictions on private easements. The ordinance served to restrict the number of boat hoists on private beach easements and prevent storage of boats, hoists, docks and rafts during the winter months. Local property owners lobbied for the restrictions in 2007 because beach easements were crowded with hoists in the water and becoming dumping grounds for abandoned boats and hoists from nearby cottages.
In comment and written correspondence to the Planning board there was a public comment of 10 to 3 of keeping Section 1203.4 in place with the beach easement zoning restrictions. Regardless, the board killed the measure. The Lake Township Planning board consists of Dave Szumlinski, Dale Hartsell, Jeff Krohn, Paul Golsch, and Gordon Krueger.
Township May Cede Jurisdiction Back to Huron County
Comments by local residents to ThumbWind.com have hinted that the Lake Township Planning Board may give up its oversight of private beach easements to Huron County. It’s expected that the Lake Township Board will now vote on adopting Huron county’s zoning. Calls to Huron County zoning board cited county ordinances that prevent storage of boats, hoists, on easements. However there is still an open issue as to the number of boat hoists that may be placed off-shore of a private easement.