01-28-17 The two marina permit application hearings you were previously notified of were held on January 25th at the Hamilton Township Hall. The first hearing was held by the Michigan DEQ and the second hearing by the Hamilton Township Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Many of the Lake Association Board Members were present with comment given at each hearing. A position letter presented at both hearings is available on the Lake of the Woods Improvement Association web-site at the following link: http://www.lakeofthewoodsmi.org/uploads/5/7/1/5/57156905/marina_lake_letter_final.pd The Michigan DEQ explained the criteria they consider as part of their decision. Part of the criteria relates to the existing and potential adverse environmental, safety issues, public trust, and riparian right rights impacts as well as the probability for a lack of a prudent alternative. You can follow these links for more information. http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3681_28734-161112--,00.html http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3681_3711---,00.html The DEQ then opened the hearing to receive any public comments from the applicant and others present. The DEQ hearing closed and they will render a formal decision in the near future. Any additional comments will be received by the DEQ until February 3, 2018 and can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org After the DEQ hearing the Hamilton Township Zoning Board of Appeals likewise received comments from the applicant and others present. That was followed by a structured decision making process considering several criteria. After that process, the Hamilton Township ZBA denied each of the three counts of appeal for the requested variances brought before them regarding the marina/dock project. LOWIA
An application for a Marina Permit at a property on Lake of The Woods has been filed with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) Water Resources Division (WRD). A public hearing WILL BE HELD at the Hamilton Township Hall, 52333 Territorial Road West, Decatur, Michigan 49045 at 6:30 PM on January 25, 2018. An informal question and answer period will begin at 6:00 PM. The purpose of this hearing is to secure the views of interested persons concerning the permit application. Click on the links below for the application. Comments can also be left on the website blog page.
The DEQ received the permit application on September 9, 2017. The application was for a permanent dock to provide dockage for 6 boat slips, one for each back lot owner of a shared 40-foot wide access parcel. On October 11, 2017 the DEQ issued a Public Notice. Hamilton Township was notified and subsequently denied the zoning as it violated the ordinance and the DEQ halted the application process. The applicant has now applied to Hamilton Township for a zoning board appeal hearing for the marina. That hearing will take place at 6:30 immediately following the DEQ hearing.
Anybody who would like to comment for or against this permit can speak at these meetings. Your Lake Association board agrees with the current denial of the permit application. This is an example of keyholing or funneling which over the past few years, your board has been working to prevent through strengthened ordinance revisions in Hamilton and Decatur Townships Guarding against overcrowding of the lake and maintaining the quality of the lake are vitally important to all property owners. This is one of the core issues that prompted the association to begin this most important endeavor. Application for Marina Comments may be left on the Blog page. Public Notice Public Notice 2 Marina Notice part 1Marina Notice part 2 LOWIA, Board of Directors
TIME SENSITIVE INFORMATION!!!!
December 12, 2017 Survey information
Dear Lake of the Woods Improvement Association Member: Tax bills have begun to arrive. Hamilton Township has included a survey related to ongoing review of possible revisions to the existing Keyhole Ordinances in Hamilton and Decatur Townships. There have been numerous reports that the survey was not included in many tax bills. Attached is a copy of the survey. The Hamilton Township Board is encouraging returns from both Townships. Unfortunately, there is no means for electronic return of the survey so they have to be mailed to Hamilton Township either with your tax payment or individually if you pay your taxes electronically. The survey questions were developed without any input from the Lake Association Board; many which are troubling in the format presented. After review, the greatest concern was with questions #9 and #10 and how they might affect the survey. Historically, during joint ordinance development meetings with both Townships, the approach to the issue of enforcement was specifically discussed as a "complaint driven" approach. In that regard, there wouldn't be "proactive" enforcement where a Township official or the Sheriff would patrol for violations. If a complaint is received by the Township and verified, progressive remedies would apply with police power enforcement being the end result for non-compliance. A Sheriff's Officer currently serves the Hamilton Township Board in similar matters already (i.e., blight properties). In the matter of question #9, the "State" has never been involved in enforcing the Township Ordinances. That falls upon a Township Official and then ultimately referred to the Sheriff for enforcement if necessary. This same process should suffice but makes answering #9 very ambiguous. In fact, in raparian issues, the courts clearly direct that matters be regulated on a local level. Regarding question #10, to be very clear, The Lake Association Board has never advocated for any revision that would create a Special Assessment District (SAD) resulting in an additional Tax. If there are concerns or questions related to the survey or any other matters related to the Keyhole ordinance development, feel free to contact either of the Raparian Committee members below or visit the Association web-site http://www.lakeofthewoodsmi.org email@example.com@gmail.com Bob Richter, President click here for The Survey Lake of the Woods Improvement Association
LOWIA Members, Over the last 2-3 years LOWIA has received several complaints about boats at the end of access areas, too many boats at some properties, lake access issues for back lot property owners and potential future developments issues. Two years ago, a committee (Dan Buenz and Dominic Panico) was tasked to research the legal issues surrounding these “keyholing” and “funneling” issues. After considering the issues people were complaining about, it was also found that the current ordinances in both Decatur and Hamilton Townships conflicted with several seemingly unenforceable. This committee was then asked to pursue working with Hamilton Township and Decatur Township to improve their “keyholing” ordinances with the purpose of clearly defining keyholing, funneling and lake access and making the ordinances enforceable. The committee members attended Hamilton Township meetings over the past winter and worked with the Hamilton and Decatur Township Plan Commissions to improve the current ordinance. Specific ordinance development will facilitate the protection of the health, safety and welfare of persons and property and fully meets the mission of the LOWIA. Primary reasons for these efforts are to address:
Complaints of increased dockage and boats and the resulting adverse impacts at private and public access sites.
Future potential overcrowding impacts related to the boat “carrying capacity” of the lake, especially at peak use times.
The current literature which points to the importance of specific and accurate ordinance development to address these important riparian issues.
The confines of the current Hamilton and Decatur Township “Riparian Waterfront Land and Lot Use Regulations”, to protect the quality of Lake of the Woods. Both Townships share the lake.
Current Hamilton and Decatur Townships ordinances that are inconsistent and neither fully address keyhole/funneling issues.
Legal land classifications such as private and public road ends, private and public access easements, back lots, private beaches, etc. Lake of the Woods is host to all such classifications.
The committee has reviewed this matter including, complaints received, did extensive legal research, reviewed existing subdivision and lake plats and existing local and statewide ordinances and statutes. This matter was brought before both Hamilton and Decatur Township governmental bodies who recognized the concerns and need for a clear, fair and sustainable ordinance. Several Plan Commission meetings resulted in ordinance change or update recommendations which are now in front of the respective Township Boards for review. Unregulated keyhole/funnel development creates land use conflicts, unsafe and inadequate access, lake and shore land congestion, multi-use conflicts, unsafe environment and potential decrease in property values. Clarifying ordinances will provide a clear understanding for all riparian owners and other users of our precious lake resource. In the initial meetings, the Hamilton Township Board members were in favor of improving their ordinance, however according to recent board meeting minutes published in the Decatur Republican, “It was the consensus of the Board that there is no interest in amending our ordinance regarding dockage and owner registration.” However, Hamilton Township will be holding two Townhall meetings to hear from the public on "lake issues and riparian rights". If lake residents are interested in protecting their riparian rights and protecting the future health of our lake, you are encouraged to attend one or both of these meetings. Both meetings will be held at the Hamilton Township Hall (52898 County Rd. 352) on July 8, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon and on July 12, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Whether or not you are able to attend any of the meetings the association board would like to hear your comments and you are encouraged to send those to one of the two board members listed below. Dan Buenz firstname.lastname@example.org Dominic Panico email@example.com To review current Hamilton and Decatur Township ordinances and see recommended changes, visit the Lake of the Woods Association website at www.lakeofthewoodsmi.org. Sincerely, Robert Richter President Lake of the Woods Improvement Association