In Michigan
4:42 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Legislature could tackle water access controversy

LANSING, MI –

Some lawmakers at the state Capitol hope to resolve a long-standing controversy that pits lakefront property owners against backlot property owners. A bill could spell out what people are allowed to do to at road ends that offer public access to inland lakes.

As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, they hope to have a law ready before warm weather draws more people to the water.

The controversy plays out every summer at thousands of road ends that offer access to inland lakes. In some places, neighborhood docks are a tradition. But lakefront property owners often complain about noise and people and boats clogging at road ends.

Hugh McDiarmid is with the Michigan Environmental Council.

"Those disputes have been fought over for decades in courts and in individual townships, so we welcome the state trying to provide a framework for resolving those disputes," he says.

But McDiarmid says the measure proposed in the Legislature may be a bit too strict: unless a local ordinance allows it, keeping a dock or a boat at a road end would be a misdemeanor punished by a fine of $500 a day.