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Public Road Ends Legislation Becomes Law in Michigan

By March 23, 2012 No Comments

Senate Bill 778 Becomes Public Act 56

The Michigan Senate and House have passed legislation that clearly defines and restricts the type of activities that may legally occur at the thousands of public road ends that terminate on Michigan’s inland lakes and streams.  The bill revises the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Public Act 451 of 1994 by adding a section that specifically addresses public road ends.  The legislation was signed by Lt. Governor Calley on March 22,2012 and takes affect immediately as Public Act 56.

The language of Senate Bill 778 provides statewide legal codification of nearly twenty year old court rulings that limited public road ends to one public dock, forbids overnight mooring and the installation of boat hoists. The Michigan Waterfront Alliance, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations and the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association have been pro-actively pursuing the introduction and passage of public road ends legislation for many years. Unregulated activity at public road ends has contributed to public road right of way hazards, promoted uncivil behavior, shoreline degradation and has created additional pathways for the introduction of aquatic invasive species into Michigan lakes and streams.

Here is the bill in its entirety:

 

Sec. 30111b.

(1)  A public road end shall not be used for any of the following unless a recorded deed,  recorded easement, or other recorded dedication expressly provides otherwise:

(a) Construction, installation, maintenance, or use of boat hoists or boat anchorage devices.

(b)  Mooring or docking of a vessel between 12 midnight and sunrise.

(c)  Any activity that obstructs ingress to or egress from the inland lake or stream.

(2)  A public road end shall not be used for the construction, installation, maintenance, or use of a dock or wharf other than a single seasonal public dock or wharf that is authorized by the local unit of government, subject to any permit required under this part. This subsection does not prohibit any use that is expressly authorized by a recorded deed, recorded easement, or other recorded dedication. This subsection does not permit any use that exceeds the uses authorized by a recorded deed, recorded easement, other recorded dedication, or a court order.

(3)  The local unit of government may prohibit a use of a public road end that violates this section.

(4)  A person who violates subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00. Each 24-hour period in which a violation exists constitutes a separate violation of this section.

(5)  This section does not prohibit a person or agency from commencing a civil action for conduct that violates this section.

(6)  As used in this section:

(a) “Local unit of government” means the county, township, city, or village with jurisdiction over a public road.

(b) “Public road” means a county road or a township, city, or village street that is open for use by the public.

(c) “Public road end” means the terminus of a public road at an inland lake or stream.