Definition of Access from Hamilton and Decatur Townships: As used herein “access property” shall mean any waterfront parcel of land or lot adjoining or abutting a lake, or other body of water connected to a lake, which is used or intended to be used, for providing access to a lake by pedestrian or vehicular traffic to and from non-waterfront land, regardless of whether said access to the water is gained by easement, common fee ownership, single fee ownership, license, gift, business invitation or any other form of dedication or conveyance.
Much case law exists on how to interpret or apply the definition of access (how it can be used). Access property uses apply to both private and public access sites. Questions of access were answered by the supreme court in Thies vs Howland in 1985. Briefly, it allows ingress and egress to the lake for the purpose of picnicking, sunbathing and similar activities. It does not include the right to construct a dock or permanently anchor boats at the site.
Any allowances beyond that defined by access is defined by the platted subdivision dedication. If not specifically stated in the dedication it can not be done.
Road ends: See below under Fritz Lake of the Woods Beach.
Marina: A facility that is owned or operated by a person that extends into or over an inland lake or stream and offers service to the public or members of the marina for docking, loading, or other servicing of recreational watercraft. The statutory definition of a marina does not make a distinction between commercial or private residential docking or whether docks are permanent or seasonal. A marina permit is needed for any such use. Reference: Natural Resources and Protection Act 451, 324.30101j.
This subdivision was platted in July 1933 by James and Zella Hirst. Beach Access: These are platted private beaches dedicated to subdivision owners' use as access and beach use. Owners are prohibited from erecting docks or overnight mooring of boats. Technically, the docks and any moored boats in these areas are considered unlawful.
Access: Private access to the lake for Gaertig subdivision lot owners. Access lot is owned by Decatur Township. Owners are prohibited from camping, erecting docks or overnight mooring of boats. Access Property deed here.
Access: Private access site for Ackley Beach subdivision (left) and private off lake residences (right).
1/6th Interest for Back Lot Properties
Each back lot owner has a 1/6th interest in the 40 foot wide private access parcel that leads to the lake. This is a private access only lot and does not meet the 50 foot requirement by ordinance to install a dock. Owners are prohibited from erecting docks or overnight mooring of boats.
47th St. is divided by The Shores At Bella Point and Fritz Lake of the Woods Beach subdivision and terminates at the water's edge and is defined as a legal road end. Public Act 56, Section 30111b, 6 (b, c) definition of a road end: "Public road" means a county road or a township, city, or village street that is open for use by the public. "Public road end" means the terminus of a public road at an inland lake or stream. Public Act 56 of 2012 supplements the court rulings regarding public road ends. The Act prohibits use of public road ends for docks, boat hoists, boat anchorage, sunbathing, picnicking and the overnight mooring of watercraft. There is currently an unlawful "No Trespassing" sign at the road end of 47th St. Public access to the water at this site is lawful.