On December 29, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court released its lengthy 4-3 opinion regarding Michigan riparian rights, a term to describe legal rights to use waterfront property for certain activities like building recreational boat dock.
The case, 2000 Baum Family Trust v. Babel, involved property owners with lots that front Lake Charlevoix (the “front-lot owners”) yet are separated from the water by Beach Drive, a public road maintained by the Charlevoix County Road Commission. These front-lot owners along Beach Drive, believing they have riparian rights, built seasonal docks from the shoreline into Lake Charlevoix even though their lots do not touch the shoreline. Local neighbors without lake front access (the “back-lot owners”) also began maintaining their own docks and storing their boats along Beach Drive on Lake Charlevoix. Continue reading “Michigan Supreme Court Expansively Defines Lakefront Riparian Property Rights Abutting Public Roadways”