[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Fw: House Bill 4516

-----Original Message-----
From: Delavan Sipes <delavan@cybersol.com>
To: Bob Brackenridge <rbracke@house.state.mi.us>
Date: Monday, August 31, 1998 6:40 PM
Subject: Re: House Bill 4516

Dear Bob,
    I have to take issue with you on House Bill 4516.  I believe you have been grossly misled by the Higgins Lake Civic Association  ("The Backlotters" as they call themselves), or by their lobbying agency, Capitol Advocacy Services Group. 
    On Paw Paw Lake we are fighting to prevent construction and development which you are requiring as the very essence of House Bill 4516, because we care for future generations.
    Have you ever been on a lake when the weather is perfect, and the people joyously start up their watercraft, speed across the surface towing a skier, tuber or some other conveyance, at allowable speeds up to 55 miles per hour, and find they have less than 5 acres in which to maneuver because of the proponderance of watercraft on the lake.  This is a question of safety.
    I believe that if you check with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Land and Water Management Division, you will find that most lakes in Michigan have one or more public access sites maintained be either the DNR or the DEQ.  The number of parking spots at these access sites is contingent on lake acreage; a figure which the DEQ feels is appropriate for that lake.   Even the DEQ reserves the right to shut down access to the lakes when these sites are full.
    I have been led to believe that House Bill 4516 is aimed at allowing backlotters to dock boats at piers installed at road ends, fire lanes, etc.,.  Under Michigan case law, this is illegal.  On any lake with public access sites, these "backlotters" may access the lake through those access sites, just as do the people who live two, five, ten or one-hundred miles away.  The general public is not being denied access to these lakes.  They are being denied docking facilities which place an increased number of boats on the lake. 
    This is just as much keyholing as is the construction of a condominium or a marina, or a yacht club.   On Paw Paw Lake there are eleven such multi-boat accesses.  On average, they have the potential to provide 28 more watercraft per site than a single family home site.
    In Coloma Charter Township we have nine road ends and fire lanes.  In Watervliet Township there are eighteen fire lanes.  To allowing dockage, or anchorage at these twenty-seven sites would be an unconscionable travesty.  Even now there are in excess of 1580 watercraft docked on Paw Paw Lake.  Its shoreline is 11.2 miles long (59,136 feet).  That is less than 38 feet of shore per watercraft.
    Paw Paw Lake has an area of 924 acres.  That's less than 0.6 acre/watercraft.  Fortunately, it has been shown in other studies that typical usage is about 15 percent on days of maximum usage, but that brings us back to the figures I stated earlier.  We have actually counted 150 boats away from their moorings  on some of the busier days.   Taking away the NO WAKE zones, there are 802 acres available for high speed travel.  That means that each boat has approximately 5 1/3 acres in which to maneuver.  This is a safety issue.
    I have not even mentioned the additional gas, oil and exhaust pollutants dumped in the water by the additional watercraft, nor the erosion of shorelines, destruction of shoreline habitat, and the demise of wetland and the flora and fauna associated with them.
    Even though you introduced this bill along with Beverly Hammerstrom, I strongly urge you to withdraw your support for House Bill 4516.
    Should you wish to discuss this further, I would be pleased to meet with you and share some of the documentation supporting the facts that keyholing is not desirable.  It does not deprive people of their use of the lake.
Very truly yours,
Del Sipes
5660 Woodland
Watervliet, MI 49098