Permits Are Required for Many, But Not All, Shore Land Activities

Beachgrooming is the “ten dollar word” for cleaning up the beach area on a portion of one of the Great Lakes. As a surprise to many, it traditionally required not one, but two permits: one from the state via the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and one from the federal government through the Army Corp of Engineers.

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Michigan is a Water Wonderland has posted a unique story involving water usage in Michigan. For the recent ten year span, Michigan residential and commercial users consumed 38.5 trillion gallons of water from the Great Lakes. In perspective that’s about 59 million Olympic swimming pools. The Great Lakes (not including underground water sources) has about 6,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water.

Big thanks to the continental ice glacier for this sweet quality of life resource. Such a resource provides the legal “riparian” right to extract water for domestic (i.e. household) use.

Interesting, only a tenth of utilized Great Lakes water was for residential or public water supplies while over 85 percent was consumed for, of all things, electricity generation.

But despite the high extraction of water from the Great Lakes, we won’t be running out of water anytime soon. Water levels in 2016 are up from last year’s reduction.

There Is No Right to Being a “Beach Walker” on an Inland Lake

Michigan is blessed in having so many lakes. Minnesota proudly crows it is the land of 10,000 lakes. Michigan has more than 11,000, including a handful of “Great Lakes” with 6 quadrillion gallons of water!

However, one falsity which never seems to be corrected is the notation that the public has the right to walk, stroll, or take an evening constitution around the shore of an inland lake. It just simply is not true.

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“Unincorporated” Boards are Legal Entities in Michigan

On May 19th, the Court of Appeals issued its decision in Suttons Bay Yacht Village Condo Ass’n v Board of Representatives of Port Sutton Community (COA No. 325327) involving whether a Board, which has not been incorporated in the state, is an entity to be involved in a legal action.

The Court of Appeals held it is a recognized entity, concluding that “Michigan caselaw and statutory law support the conclusion that an unincorporated association is a legal entity.”

Whether any group constitutes an unincorporated association requires not simply agreement in the description as such, but “associated, mutual, action of individuals.”

This is good news for Michigan property law which allows informal associations, while not formally incorporating under the Summer Cottage Act, the Non-Profit Corporation Act, or the Corporation statute, to have their day in court. It also means that property owners can take action against “associated” individuals who sometime overstep their legal authority in lake communities and subdivisions throughout Michigan.

Procedures and Deadlines Matter in Zoning Cases and Appeals

The frightening realty the public is not informed about is the case killing effects of court deadlines. A winning case can be gutted if deadlines are not properly checked. It is a dirty little secret: Michigan appellate courts generally do not care about outcome fairness or who the parties are. Continue reading “Procedures and Deadlines Matter in Zoning Cases and Appeals”

Public Act 56 Has Its First Change

A new change to Public Act 56 came into effect. As you may recall, Public Act 56 was enacted in 2012 to regulate under the criminal law uses of public road-ends terminating at the edge of a Michigan inland lake or stream. At a public road ends, private citizens may not use of boat hoists or boat anchorage devices, moor or dock between 12 midnight and sunrise, or undertake any activity that obstructs ingress to or egress from the inland lake or stream.

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Supreme Court “Rail-Trail” Decision Upholds Rule of Property Law

Today, the US Supreme Court issued its 8-1 decision in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States (case no. 12-1173) which held that old railroad lines created under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 are to be abandoned in favor of the property owner, not the Government under a theory of “implied reversion.” Critics of the decision argue that the decision jeopardizes potential rails-to-trails projects around the county. Continue reading “Supreme Court “Rail-Trail” Decision Upholds Rule of Property Law”

OLC Reclaims Riparian Rights for Lake Front Property by Court Decision

After litigating for more than a year, Outside Legal Counsel PLC has re-established deeded-away riparian rights to the shorelands of an inland lake in West Michigan. The court’s ruling paves the way for the landowner to begin enjoying full riparian rights, including maintaining a seasonal dock. Continue reading “OLC Reclaims Riparian Rights for Lake Front Property by Court Decision”

An Overused Private Easement Permits for an Adverse Possession Claim

The Court of Appeals in Prince v. Wedemeier has held a distinction between two types of express easements now exists: a prescriptive right by overuse is allowed for one but not the other. Continue reading “An Overused Private Easement Permits for an Adverse Possession Claim”