Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

House panel approves shoreline bill
By Leo Shane III
News-Messenger
12/10/03


COLUMBUS -- The House could vote today on a bill to settle a property dispute between state officials and Lake Erie homeowners, despite protests from environmentalists and the Department of Natural Resources.

Tuesday night a House committee approved the measure by a 12-1 count. Chairwoman Rep. Nancy Hollister, R-Marietta, said she expects the bill will be put up for a full House vote this afternoon.

The bill establishes permitting procedures for all structures built past the lake's high water mark and declares public property to begin "where the waters of Lake Erie make contact with the land."

Officials at ODNR for years have used the high water mark -- the Lake's highest water mark in the past 100 years -- as the boundary between public and private land. The state has required property owners building past that line to pay for land leases.

Members of the Ohio Lakefront Group have insisted the state's authority doesn't begin until the lake's low-water mark, and have said the department's actions in requiring the leases are tantamount to stealing private land.

Bill sponsor Rep. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, said the latest version of the legislation ignores the high-water/low-water demarcations for private property boundaries and instead recognizes the water and submerged land as the responsibilities of the state.

Environmental groups called that decision a transfer of public land to private homeowners.

"This is a drastic, overreaching solution to what is, if anything, a management problem," said David Scott of the Sierra Club. "Solving these problems with ODNR does not require redrawing boundaries."

Mark Squillace, a law professor from the University of Toledo, called the legislation "a land grab of historic proportions, one that purports to deny the citizens of Ohio access to the lake."

ODNR director Sam Speck told the committee he has serious concerns about how the new bill would affect public access for swimmers, boaters and fishermen.

But Grendell said citizens already have limited access to beaches adjacent to private property, and House minority leader Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, challenged Speck to find any location where this bill would further limit public access.

"Even upon approval of this ... the public will not be wanting for access," Redfern said. "Wading along the shoreline -- that is allowed, and property owners don't object to that."

The bill also eliminates land leases for non-commercial properties and allows construction permits to remain valid for the life of a structure -- both major points the homeowners fought for.

The legislation also includes reorganization of ODNR's coastal management office and simplification of permitting requirements, which department officials requested.

ODNR officials conceded the bill will likely pass the House today, and said they plan on working with Senate officials to correct problems they see in the proposal.


This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map