by Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

The matter of docks at public road ends has been reported on by MLSA for long over a decade. Generally such activity is prohibited by the provisions of “MCL 324.30111b Public road end; prohibited use; violation as misdemeanor; fine; civil action; definitions.” The exceptions are if the dock is authorized by the local municipality, and a permit has been obtained pursuant to Minor Project “Category 13. Docks.” The conditions further require no mooring or docking of a vessel between midnight and sunrise for such docks.

The MCL subsection does not prohibit any use that is expressly authorized by a recorded deed, recorded easement, or other recorded dedication. The subsection does not permit any use that exceeds the uses authorized by a recorded deed, recorded easement, other recorded dedication, or a court order.

Well, what about a dock at a private road end? What if the parties placing the dock at a private road end have no known legal title or easement to the private road end bottomland?? The Jackson District Office of the Water Resources Division of EGLE, recently issued a notice of Civil Liability in action VN-014664. The matter involves the placement of a dock at a private road end on Halfmoon Lake in Washtenaw County. Investigation by EGLE determined the parties placing the dock had no legal property right basis to do so and issued the Civil Violation Notice citing MCL 324.30102:

“Operations prohibited without permit; exception.

(1) Except as provided in this part, a person without a permit from the department shall not do any of the following:

(a) Dredge or fill bottomland.

(b) Construct, enlarge, extend, remove, or place a structure on bottomland.”(bold type added)

This the first such EGLE violation notice that has been brought to the attention of MLSA. We appreciate the enforcement action taken by EGLE to preserve riparian rights and which further prevents jeopardizing the carrying capacity of Halfmoon Lake.

EGLE has ordered the dock removed, unless a legal basis exists for the potentially offending parties to cite a legal property right basis. This is of interest to all riparians and we will rely on Halfmoon lake riparians to keep us informed as to future developments.

New Magazine Innovation for MLSA
October 2023 newsletter, available a little early!