My neighbor, sweet Louise is 92 years young and a longtime resident of Lakeville Lake. She and I are just baffled why Addison Township has decided to issue over 50 criminal citations to Lakeville Lake residents for dock violations.
Louise got a citation and has already appeared twice before the 52nd District Court. Louise and I clearly don’t feel this is a good use of the courts time nor the townships money hiring attorneys to harass Lakeville Lake residents.
Louise has lived on Lakeville since 1962, over the years she has always had a dock or walkway on the lake for her kids, grandkids and now great grandkids to use while visiting to enjoy the lake. Over the years, this dock has provided many years of enjoyment for her family, and more importantly, now it provides a buffer from the increased boat traffic and large waves created from wave surfing boats and jet skis that churn up the lake.
Unless the dock was being repaired, Louise has always had a dock or walkway on the lake with an end section to allow for sitting, fishing, swimming and watching sunsets.
Now Addison Township Leadership has decided to strictly enforce their interpretation of a dusty 1988 ordinance. Louise at her stage in life doesn’t keep a boat on the lake, the walkway is just used for enjoyment by the family when they come and visit.
Apparently at issue is the interpretation of what is a dock and what is allowed. Let’s start with this, if Louise doesn’t keep a boat on the lake is it even a dock or is it is it a walkway with a swim platform?
Looking at the images of the lake from 1990 and 2018, clearly Lake owners over the years have been allowed to have docks with an extra section at the end for seating, fishing, swimming or guest mooring for visiting boaters.
While the Lakeville Lake Property Owners Association (LLPOA) has repeatedly (since 2019) asked the township to update the ordinance implemented by the township in 1988, the township has refused and apparently in retribution has decided to take a punitive stance on enforcement. The LLPOA had even drafted and presented a Lake Membership endorsed revision to the ordinance, to only have it rebuffed.
Clearly many lake owners see a need to have the option of an L or T at the end of their dock / walkway. I even looked at other inland lakes in Michigan, this is clearly the norm for inland lake safety and enjoyment, not the exception.
Lakeville Lake is unique, in that the Lake Owners take an active role in maintaining the lake with a special assessment. These funds pay for lake management activities, such as; multiple yearly invasive weed surveys, invasive weed harvesting and disposal, invasive weed chemical treatment and other lake quality surveys and testing, all paid for by Lake Owners. Not the State of Michigan, Not the DEQ / EGLE, Not the Feds, but by the Lake Owners.
These same Lake Owners also “pass the hat” to collect funds that pay the Oakland County Sheriff Department to assign a Marine Patrol Boat and Staff to ensure safe boating, kayaking, sailing and swimming on the lake.
So here we have Sweet Louise, a long time Lake Owner who just enjoys living out her years on her lake.
She is asking for a jury trial so she can be allowed to keep her dock that has been there for almost 60 years.
We should all ask ourselves:
Is this really how Addison Township should be supporting their lake owners who care for the lake?
Is taking Louise and other lake owners to court for a dock that provides safe boat mooring and room to sit and fish, the thank you they should get for all years of taking care of this lake?
Doesn’t the safety of her guests come into play? The walkway she has had for years provides that safety for fishing, swimming and enjoying sunsets.
Someone gave me this example, Laws and Ordinances should change with the times and needs of the people they govern, i.e. The speed limit is now 75 on the highway, not 55. We used to lock people up for having marijuana, now its legal for both medical and recreational use, times change and so do good Laws and Ordinances that govern us, or they should.
So now the crime of the century in Addison Township is having a section of dock at the end of your walkway to fish, swim and watch sunsets, is this even a crime in Michigan?
Are these really the jury trials that 52nd District Court should be hearing, this after the courts have been closed for the past year and real violent criminals await trials?
I think it might be time everyone steps back and asks themselves, since 1988, what has changed, what are the needs of the lake owners on the lake to ensure safe boat mooring, safe water activities and what should we change in the ordinance to address them, it has been over 30 years!
Let’s all root for Sweet Louise, that she gets to enjoy seeing her great grandchildren play off her walkway without township harassment.
After over a year of Covid and being locked down, let’s find a way to help residents enjoy the wonders of Michigan vs filling the courts’ docket with citations for an ordinance ignored since 1988!
Let’s hope the Addison Township officials take a moment to revisit this ordinance and revisions requested, that they update this ordinance to reflect real world needs of its residents.
Most importantly, so Sweet Louise can keep her walkway!