Idea for Smiths Landing public beach officially off the table

A standing-room only crowd made it loud and clear to the Addison Township Board on Dec. 17 that it did not want a beach at Smiths Landing on Lakeville Lake.

The township was considering the spot for a public beach for Addison residents, but after concerns over safety and the overall ambience of the lake were expressed, Supervisor Bruce Pearson said the township would begin looking for another spot. Officials previously voted to take no action on the idea, but it was brought up again after some residents voiced support of it.

“It kind of looks like a lot of people would like the beach, but maybe this is not a good spot,” Pearson said. “I will continue to keep looking for another spot, I just don’t know where on (Lakeville) Lake that there would be a good spot. If there was a larger parcel of property, if there was better parking… I hope that one day we can come together and there can be some kind of recreation on the water for 100 percent of the Addison Township residents.”

The property in question is 70 Smiths Landing, a 1.6-acre parcel currently listed for $750,000. Located just west of Rochester Rd. and south of Annandale Rd., the property has 631 feet of lake frontage, including a sandy beach area.

Pearson said he and the board had received a slew of letters from people on both sides of the issue, but the voice leaned toward the anti-beach crowd. Many of those present at the meeting were people who own property on the lake and didn’t want a public beach as a neighbor.

Because of the mass opposition to the location, the board voted unanimously to again take “no action” on the property.

Treasurer Lori Fisher went so far as to urge her fellow trustees to put it on the record as a “dead issue.”

Even though the trustees voted to take “no action,” many members of the public spoke during public comment to further express disapproval of the idea.

Many of the lake’s residents who spoke said they would be in favor of a public beach somewhere else, but that Lakeville Lake is, in their opinion, the wrong spot.

“This is an all-sports lake,” said Mike Bartlett, who lives on the lake. “The safety children in any proposed area ought to be taken into consideration. So, as you look at other locations, I would ask that you consider no wake areas, no high traffic areas, something that has no easy access. Those are the things that… some people might embrace. But trying to set it in the middle of a high-speed turn in an all-sports lake is not the right proposal.”

Others stood to tell the township officials they want to see a beach somewhere in town. Those who spoke in favor of a public beach on Smiths Landing said they felt the location would be a fine spot for a beach.

“This is a good thought,” said one woman who said she owns two, formerly three, properties on the lake. “It’s maybe not the time yet, but it’s certainly something that all of you here who moved here and said, ‘I’ve got mine and I’m not going to share it with anybody,’ you’ve got to think (about)… I’m suggesting we open it up so all of the people in Addison Township can use this lake… Let’s think about others while we’re thinking about ourselves.”

Though some lake homeowners pointed out Addison Oaks as a viable beach, Pearson reminded the crowd that the park closed its lake in 2017 over e. coli concerns.

Pearson said the old campground down Yule Rd., which hosts a lake, might be a good option and would wipe away most concerns of parking and potential car accidents that Smiths Landing, which can be entered from Rochester Rd., may have had problems with.

But, he appeared to see Lakeville Lake as an optimal location.

No matter what location the township lands on, Pearson said he will continue to look for a spot where Addison residents can cool off with a nice swim during the warmer months.