New changes in
the state's coastal management program will do little
to ease the headaches of property owners who build or
repair a dock or other structure on Lake Erie, critics
"It's kind of
window dressing, basically," said David Carek, chairman
of the Ohio Lakefront Group, a grassroots effort pushing
for major reform of the 5-year-old program.
property owners are required to get submerged-lands leases
for existing and new docks, breakwalls, stone revetments
and other erosion control and recreational structures
in the lake.
The state, charged
with protecting the public waters of Lake Erie, says the
boundary is the high water mark set by the Army Corps
group argues that property owners should not have to lease
property they already own. Group members have been trying
to get the boundary changed to the low water mark, a difference
that could be 50 feet.
State Rep. J. Tom Lendrum of Huron introduced a bill to
change the boundary to the low water mark. It was the
same day that state officials announced they were reviewing
the water level boundary issue.
Sam Speck, director
of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said that
the agency has been considering changes for two years
and that the timing of his announcement was coincidental.
Speck said he
was waiting for a recommendation from the Coastal Resources
Advisory Council before making a decision about water
The agency has
decided, however, that property owners are no longer required
to buy liability insurance and, for certain projects,
no longer required to hire professional engineers.
the program is being reorganized, and all 12 employees
will be based in the same office, in Sandusky, so they
can offer property owners one-stop service.
Carek said the
state is just throwing a few bones their way. The lakefront
group's annual meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Avon
Lake High School, and members are being urged to contact
"We need to change
the law," Carek said.
A total of 580
property owners have leases with the state. The leases
generate $575,000 annually, half of which is returned
to lakefront communities.
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