Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation clarifying the criteria for landowners building homes in privately held areas of Michigan's lakeshore dunes.
Senate Bill 1130, sponsored by Sen. Arlan Meekhof, resolves deficiencies in current law that put Michigan at risk in lawsuits. The governor worked with the bill sponsor to ensure Michigan's dunes are protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
The measure broadens the rights of property owners to allow construction of driveways to access their homes, and allows permitting of structures on the lakeward face of a dune in very limited circumstances. Language was included to ensure that those impacted by a proposed use can request a public hearing.
Two-thirds of Michigan's critical dunes are in public ownership, which limits the potential impact of the bill to only a small percentage of Michigan's 275,000 acres of dunes.
"Michigan's sand dunes are environmental treasures that must be protected," Snyder said. "At the same time, the state must recognize private property rights and our responsibility to correct laws that put us at risk for potentially dozens of multimillion dollar lawsuits. This legislation represents a difficult compromise for everyone impacted by this issue, and I commend the efforts of everyone involved who worked to find a fair solution."
The bill is now Public Act 297 of 2012.