In the February issue of BoatUS there was a special report on activity taken by several states to ban copper marine anti-fouling bottom paint by 2020. Copper is added to bottom paint as a biocide to prevent slime, plant and zebra mussels from attaching onto the hull. The typical recreational boat sits in her slip much of the time the copper coating in the paint slowly leaches into the water and settles in the bottom. While copper is a naturally occurring element, especially in Michigan, the concentrations in the silt since its introduction in the late 1980s has created a poisonous wasteland in the basins in some of ports and marinas according to the EPA.
Michigan has over 200 marinas and over 900,000 registered watercraft. It’s only a matter of time before the issue hits our shores. Currently only Washington and California are actively taking steps to curb the use of copper bottom paint.
Current alternatives to copper based anti-fouling paint are being developed but have serious environment and cost concerns. Switching to a non-biocide or organic requires stripping the existing coating from the hull. This can cost thousands of dollars and create a copper laden dust which is considered hazardous waste. Application of the new coating requires the use of a sprayer. However has the commodity cost of copper skyrockets environmentally friendly alternatives may be cheaper in the long run.
It may be several years before Michigan lawmakers consider taking similar steps. In the mean time paint manufactures will continue to develop and refine non copper alternatives. Boaters should keep this issue in mind when they prepare their craft for the next boating season.
We are pleased to announce that our blog http://www.thumbwind.com launched today under its own domain name. Watch this blog for the inside scoop on Lake Township and Caseville politics and news of the Upper Thumb.
Lake Township, Caseville, Michigan – January 25th. – The township board was inundated by a high turnout during a rare mid-winter Planning Board session. The motion of revoking the ordinances restricting boat hoists within beach easements was met by opposition from local residents and seasonal owners. The ordinance, enacted in 2007, prevents lake easements from becoming residential marinas along the beach. The current zoning ordinance limits residents to two hoists per 25 foot of easement shoreline.
The board postponed a vote and further discussion until February 22nd. A date, coincidently, that falls during mid-winter break for most schools. Turnout may be much higher by seasonal residents.
Lake Township residents are still in the dark as to why the Lake Township board wants to kill this successful ordinance.
Huron County, Michigan…there will be a Lake Township zoning meeting on Jan 25th at 6:30pm to discuss revoking Lake Townships current oversight over beach easements. The rare, mid-winter, mid-week meeting is being held at a time when many seasonal owners will not be in attendance. However several members of the Sylva Beach Association will be submitting letters of concern and object to striking a successful ordinance provision put in place in 2007.
Some wildeyed members of the current Lake Township board feels it has no jurisdiction over beach easements and is willing to ceade any oversight responsiblity back to the public. If the ordnance is revoked, certain residents with beach easement rights have mentioned that it’s their intention to place storage sheds, cabanas (see their envisioned photos provided by architect), and seasonal dockage well in excess of the four boat hoist restrictions now in place.
Dockage Model for Small Easement
The Sylva Beach easement has 24 households sharing a 50 foot beach easement. The current ordinance allows a limited number of boat hoists but not year around storage. Homeowners who do not have boats but use the easement have felt the current restrictions are fair and serve to keep beach easements from looking like a junk yard.
Residents are also wondering what is behind this move by the Township. Published opinions by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Supreme Court have upheld that local governments are within their jurisdiction to regulate the storage, number and placement of boat hoists along the beach. Published minutes and agendas posted on the Lake Township website give no indication of the problem with the current zoning rules. Rumors are that by revoking the current ordinance will allow certain owners friendly with the Lake Township Junta to entertain and allow guests to camp on the beach during Cheeseburger.
It promises to be another evening of drama at the Lake Township hall on January 25th. See you there!!