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Shoreline Preservation
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:15 pm    Post subject: Shoreline Preservation Reply with quote

I want to bring awareness to BBI citizens about our shorelines. I have sent this writing to the BBI township officials. I have more. They are long but to fully express "where I'm coming from" requires a full expression of my thoughts. This is one of several letters I will present here for all to ponder. Some of this is a repeat. So be it.

This is the first of several letters/essays/opinions/writings that I will send to you. This one is called "Defining the terms 'Develop and Improve'" I am asking you to carefully read this with an open mind. This is not the complete picture. I will address other aspects of this introduction letter in later emails.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
John Engel

Every builder, contractor, and excavator knows the words 'develop' and 'improve' or 'development' and 'improvement'. We are so used to them that we do not for one second consider whether they are appropriate or not. On Bois Blanc Island, when I look at a piece of original creation, I know that that property has been developed over tens of thousands, perhaps 100s of thousands of years, by forces of nature that we can barely comprehend. The arrangement of berms, one wave after another, running from far inland to the waters edge is one example. The amazing variety of plants, unique to this harsh environment, and the intricate balance between them shows a development that can be achieved only after thousands and thousands of years of nature's gardening. The land is already developed. It is home to hundreds of incredible plants and animals and it is beautiful to gaze upon.

When we stop to consider the fantastic plants that somehow find enough nutrients to grow into these amazing BBI landscapes, I wonder how any human could possibly think for one moment that we could "improve" upon what has taken eons to create. We do not improve the land when we bulldoze in a driveway. We are not improving the land when we clear a building site. We are not improving the land when we clear the trees and other plants to get a better view of the water. What we are doing is changing the land forever. Anyone that can read or watch TV has seen examples of land "improvements" that did everything but 'improve' the land. Environmental and aesthetic destruction are the results of many so called "improvements". The land is perfect. We cannot improve on that.

Am I advocating that BBI should stop all growth? No, I am not. What I am advocating is a very careful and minimal land change philosophy. Compromise is mandatory in order for us to live here and still maintain the natural beauty. Driveways and building sites are necessary to build cottages and cabins. Land change beyond that should be minimized. Clearing shoreline growth is unnecessary to live on BBI and leaving it as natural as the creator made it is a logical compromise. We improve our land when we maintain as much natural habitat as possible. When I come to Bois Blanc Island, I do not miss lawns, houses shoulder to shoulder, or the surbanized gardens that I see in Bay City. The more original creation that we eradicate, the more we destroy the very gift we have come here to appreciate. The only way we can have growth and maintain the natural original beauty is to embrace compromise...change only what we have to. Change land to access property and change land to build. Beyond that, we are simply destroying the desirable natural features of Bois Blanc Island.

When should we act to protect the quickly disappearing natural features of this island paradise? How 'bout 50 years ago? Yet, we still have no plan to protect the most obvious, visible areas of our island: the shorelines. All we can do is require that every "Land Change" meet strict criteria; criteria that requires a minimum of excavation and plant and tree removal for inland lakes or Lake Huron waterside property. The more we spare the gifts of creation on this island, the more we improve the island. The more we develop our eyes to see, our ears to hear, our senses to feel, the more we will appreciate the incredible value of Bois Blanc's land and its ancient and increasingly rare natural beauty.

We are so used to seeing one cottage after another on inland lakes, the Great Lakes, rivers, or oceans, we forget that once upon a time only creation's magical, living, plant and animal communities existed there. It requires vision to save the remaining natural places. It requires rethinking of old, accepted, traditional ideas. What if noone was ever permitted to clear land between their residence and the water? Can you imagine the beauty of the shoreline viewed from the water? Until the year 2005, we had such a shoreline on the east part of Twin Lakes. Upon my first kayak cruise that year I came across the cleared shoreline of a new "development" just east of the narrows. I can tell you that it was not an "improvement". This property could have maintained most of it's natural shoreline by simply and carefully creating a path to the water's edge. Do we somehow believe that the owners would not enjoy this waterside paradise if the original cedars were left in their natural arrangement?

With restrictions and close oversight of shoreline land change, will land values decrease? The answer is a resounding NO! There is a huge contingent of nature lovers seeking an escape from unrestricted sprawl. Those persons seeking natural landscapes protected by local townships will recognize the unique vision of the community and the value of such a commitment to its citizens, living now and yet unborn. Those persons will find that commitment somewhere and BBI could be that place IF we act now. The more we separate ourselves from the conventional, the traditional, the accepted land "developments and improvements" that we see in Northern Michigan and all across this state, the more valuable this island land becomes. That's why I came here. Sadly, I am watching unrestricted shoreline destruction as we speak. Changing BBI's remaining pristine shorelines into views of gaudy, man made structures is a loss not only for BBI land owners, but for all citizens seeking accessible, remote, visually beautiful vistas.

(to be continued)
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:11 am    Post subject: Well thought out. Reply with quote

I agree. To me a path to the lake works well. My view through the trees to the lake is great. The trees shade the house in the summer and the breeze under the trees off the lake keeps the house cool. The birds come up close to my windows and perch on the branches outside the windows. In the winter the trees and brush block the worst of the cold winds. Also the trees give me more privacy.

John, are there other places around that have passed legislation that restricts shoreline change?

There are those who will not agree with your ideas. We do live in a democracy though. If the majority think as we do, then why not try to make a change? I beleive that you have posted under the correct subject - BBI Town Hall. This is as much a political thing as a conservation thing.

You will need to join forces with others to make change because there will be those who may yell loudly against you but are in the minority. That is the way it is anywhere. I am with you, gather others.
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Kevin Gibbons
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John
As long as it is state or township properity I agree with you. Burt I don't agree with you if it is private properity and that person is paying taxes for water front properity. Why should I or any body pay taxes for you. And just as long that it is following our zoning and our master plan which it is . I thought hearing all your post Mike that you agreed with the master plan and the zoning now you want to get a bunch of people together and change it. What is this all about. Is this what they call a flip flop. I respect your opion John but please keep it to your own properity and not others. If you do not want a tree cut then don't cut any on your properity. But how did you get the great looking logs rail on your home. Did you know that they were made out of trees that had to be cut down. I would add to this but I don't think I will. As soon as you start telling people what they can do with there properity you are in a battle.
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many of us have discussed and debated this question before on this site so I won't add to that here. But it does seem to me that the horse is already out of the barn on this since a lot of the privately owned land on the island with cottages has already had trees cut so the owners could see the water from the cottage. Are there still large privately owned tracts of land with waterfrontage that have not been developed on BBI?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Doug
The inland lakes have a lot of shoreline that hasn't been disturbed but most of the land around the inland lakes is state owned. Just a frew pieces are privately owned. And some on the straits and lake huron. There is a quite a bit on the west south shore and the east shore that hasn't been disturbed. Most of that is privately owned already. I know I would like to have a nice piese of some of the properity on the west south shore and build a house out there over looking the lake.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trees are wonderful, but then again, so is the sun. Wouldn't you like a little sun too Mike? Brightens things up and gives a person a lot of warmth and energy. Helps in the cold winter months too. Waterfront property is exactly what it says. Build by the water, you want to be able to see the water. Do not have to cut all trees, but enough to see the water and leave enough for the protection in winter. Plus some trees have to or should I say, should be thinned out once in a while. What about the roots from trees getting into your sewer lines, etc. But when it comes to telling people what they can or cannot do with their property, I say this is a No No. Sounds like the associations in the subs. This is supposedly what you want to get away from. Can't keep changing the rules.... Rolling Eyes
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pilotkid
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want to ruffle any feathers here, but "Why should I or any body pay taxes for you. " is a little alarming, and I'm not talking about just taxes. Sure, if its your property you have every right to do whatever you want with it, but I think what John was trying to address was an attempt to preserve what everyone loves about the island. This kind of thing is exactly what JessKidder is talking about when she refers to "sustainable development." Do you really [i] need [/i] that tree cut down? It's the island, and aren't do we all come here to get away from the concrete jungle? Sustainable development focuses on MINIMAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. If the island was entirely private property, owned by different people, and everyone decided to cut down 2 or 3 trees, would you still feel the same way? If you were "paying taxes" for property on which you had a factory that contributed to global warming and therefore EVERYONE ELSE'S quality of life, is that still your perogative? Again, I don't mean to upset anyone here, but its something to think about.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LONG POST


Yes, this subject has been run around in circles, 3-4 times.
http://www.bois-blanc.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=858&highlight=pigeon+river

More:

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Pigeon_River_Plan_22975_7.pdfPage 21 defines the land use restrictions.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/RiparianZoneMgmt-TroutStreams_64164_7.pdf Also good: riparian land management

Just to Review things:

A couple of years ago, a "green belt "zoning ordinance was tried in Cheboygan County, to protect just what John describes. It went up in absolute flames @99% opposition. In fact, they had to cancel the first meeting due to 2000 people who went to oppose. Among the problems with this ordinance was that it would have rendered many high value lake lots undbuildable because of setbacks and lot size. "Natural" green belts interspersed among the golf-course lawns around the lakes didn't appeal to many, either. Grey zone "grandfather clause" was also in question.

It was just to messy, too little and too late. The ordniance was dropped like a hot potatoe. Had, with foresight, it been implemented 30-50 years ago, Burt and Mullet lakes would now be as beautiful as they once were instead of groomed to the hilt and built up to the max. Without out all the lawn fertilizer in the lakes, the water quality would be better than it is. All as it wasn't and isn't.

I understand some get preturbed when I get into discussions about places other than BBI. But how else to outline things except by example? Take a look at a picture larger than the confines of BBI? How else to gain any perspective? What is relevant elsewhere, might just be as relevant on BBI?

Next item:

30+ years ago, The Pigeon River and development on it's banks, came under control of the PR protected rivers act... as have many other of michigans GEM rivers worth far more in a natural state rather than lined with homes and golf course lawns. A link to the act is contained in the link to the topic above and is recommended reading. This is EXACTLY what John is talking about. Shoreline preservation. I don't see a great deal of difference between protecting the natural shoreline of BBI or michigans pristene rivers? Do so while there is still time rather than look back 1-3 decades as say"I wished something had been done".

The protected river act SAVED the Pigeon. That and all the shoreline which now sits in conservation trust. THIS is wat it takes to preserve something worth preserving... Which is our attraction?

Many of you know I own a small fishing camp in Afton, on The Pigeon River ( one of Michigans top 5 trout streams). It is only 20x24' ft sq. On a narrow lot. It sits 22' back from the river, on a high bank, overlooking a "rapids". To sit on the front porch and "absorb" the flow and sound of the river is beyond description. Across the river is 1200 acres which will NEVER be developed. Just to the south is the the "Helmer's Dam" preserve (LTC). This stretch of river will remain as it always has been.

This little fishing camp was built in the late 40's, back when anything went and there were no rules. Your property? "Do whatever you want with it (then)." It is grandfathered in. I have gone to lengths to restore and preserve this old-time camp for what it is: It is a Landmark on the river; a bookmark as one canoes by or wades upstream with a flyrod in hand. Next to it is a log camp, even older. What is ISN'T is a gaudy plastic sided house with all the trees cut down and the "lawn" groomed. It fits in, "like it grew there" and belongs there, and has always been there.

How lucky am I to have aquired such a place? It was a once in a lifetime opportunity... is how lucky.

Stick with me. I am eventually going to make a point.

Other places along the river predate the PR act. Big homes, and all the grooming, tree cutting that was status quo "improvement-think" 30-40 years ago. Those days are all done.

The PR act is now rigidly enforced by Cheboygan Zoning. This means, 100' undisturbed greenbelt, 400' building setback. No commercial. Structures must be sided with "natural materials of a "natural color" and about 5 things I can do and 100 I can't do.

I had to get a variance to add an 8' roof over my front porch. That was an experiance. Go before the zoning board with plans, photos, make a speech, get on my hands and knees and sob through my case. I was granted a construction variance (within the green belt and building set backs) BECAUSE: The place was so far OUT of zoning, the work I proposed would have brought it into closer compliance. It was a trade off.

I had to agree to install erosion control measures (run off from the roof) and replant NATIVE vegetation and 4-5 other remedial things. I was granted a variance. Mine was the last variance granted along this stretch of river, 4 years ago). I assure you, both zoning and the DNR/DEQ came out and inspecte things, took pictures, both before and after. Just to make sure I did what I was instructed I must do before they signed off on it.

When they did, all this information was added to the deed and recorded.

If I want to cut a tree down within the 100' greenbelt? (Which in my case is the depth of my entire lot). I must get a permit from zoning UNLESS it "is dead, down or dangerous". I am allowed to prune lower limbs for a "filtered view" Of the river. Not allowed is cutting of any trees fallen into the river (fish habitat)

Thats how tight things are as far as the PR protection act.

This act, implemented 30+ years ago, was fought with stiff resistance and non compliance... But in these times, it is accepted and enfored to the letter. If I, or someone else, doesn't like it? Tough lumps. Don't go there. If you want a place on the river, then accept the rules. Period.
I might add that because of the river protection, property values are at a premium. Why would that be?

I think this is what John is talking about. Kevin, too. As translated to BBI?

IF a greenbelt, shoreline ordinance were implemented: It wouldn't affect those landowners with lakefront as "grandfathered in". It would restrict new construction as far as setbacks, greenbelt cutting etc.

In Wisconsin, lakefront land owwners were given property tax relief to bring grandfathered shorelines into compliance with new statutes. (state wide). In other words: Natural=undeveloped= tax break in contrast to logging the waterfront and replacing it with a golf course look. The response was overwhelming POSITIVE. Its all about the money.

John has made one other valid point:

The cedars which grow in the gravel berms are so slow growing... it is a wonder that they even grow at all. A 6" cedar may easily be 150 years old. So taking out a 150 year old tree in five minutes with a chain saw means what? It will grow back in 4 or 5 generations if it wasn't such a good idea? Too bad the next 4-5 generations can't be consulted first... since it will eventually become their tree, or bare spot. I would dare say, the lakefront property with "improved/altered" greenbelt will likely become LESS valuable that than left in a natural state.

Next to John's "Jungle" is a lot which has been cut to the max by two former "landowners", each suffering from chronic "improvement-think". It is so denuded is is sickening. To me it is worthless and wrecked. Plant some cedars, comeback in 50-100 years and see if there has has been any progress in restoration? Nature will fix it, eventually, but not in our lifetimes.

I hope we might consider this all and look forward... rather than backwards not so many years from now. Appreciate what we have rather than mourn what we could have saved.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More:

Quote:
Sure, if its your property you have every right to do whatever you want with it, but I think what John was trying to address was an attempt to preserve what everyone loves about the island.
.

I believe Pilotkid about nailed it. I for one, do not like to have what personal liberties I have, further reduced. This goes beyond that. It IS ALL about minimal environmentl impact which is something that affects everyone and is the root reason we enjoy BBI.

I know I have "refugeed" to the BBI after 40 years around Indian River. I remember Burt-Mullet lakes at a time when they were mostly undeveloped wild shoreline lakes. Now they are anything BUT that. Nice memories. I left. Does history repeat itself?

Personally, I don't believe anyone OWNS land. If they did, The USA would still belong to Native americans and ther would be no such thing as ZONING. We simply pay property taxes as "rent". This isn't the wild west any more when one could seize land, then OWN it by having greater force than would be-takers.

So ZONING is a bad thing? Drummond didn't have zoning when Monahan came in with $30 mil, did whatever he felt like by merit of "land ownership", wrecked the place, then left. I loved "before" and left when I saw "after", there, too.

Maybe I am getting too old and just seen too much?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Kevin, if I buy lakefront property I will do with it what I want. If I wanted property in the woods then that is where I would buy. Personally, I want to look out my door and see the water, not woods. Thats the nice thing about a free country one persons dislikes is anothers paradise. I really don't care what people want to see from the water looking in. If you want to see all woods then buy all the property.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Moved from land trust thread)

Kevin~Conis:

Quote:
Also you start talking greenbelts and you won't be the most popular person on the island.


OK. I'll probably lose a popularity contest?

Hey... As far as greenbelt issues. I don't agree with every one nor expect them to agree with me. The only thing worse than the wrong opinion is being afraid to publically have an opinion?

All I stated was the reason the green belt issue failed miserably in Cheboygan county, 2-3 years back... To think that could be made to work, in the half baked status it was presented... or at all, NOW, was folly right from the start. I didn't endorse that mess, myself.

And how it succeeded in saving a wonderful river because it was put in place in a time when it could make a difference. That same zoning (restrictions) on the river, might not appeal to everyone, especially if they buy property on the river with the intent to build "as they choose", and learn the rules after the fact. I have seen that happen more than once. Personally, I can live with the PR zoning restrictions for the benefits I get in return. That was my choice.

Most swords have two edges. Two ways of looking at anything. And there is always room for compromise.

The PR act was anything BUT popular when it was first implemented. it was ignored for a long while until it was enforced. Now it is embraced by PR property owners. Fortunately those with foresight made it happen. They weren't very popular, at the time. either, I guess.

I guess it is something I believe has merit in the long term. Thats my opinion. No where have I said shoreline greenbelt trees should be untouchable, cannot be pruned, thinned, managed.

Which is more important? The positive environmental impact of leaving a functional shoreline greenbelt, which benefits everyone? Or cutting down all the trees for a wide open "view", because it is possible and still legal to do so?

Another subject (not yet mentioned) as far as cutting: Some don't realize that cedars are very shallow rooted. Cut a hole in a cedar grove or over thin them. The wind will knock down the rest. They survive as a mass. What would happen to remaining stands of cedars if, say, along a beach front, the majority of the cedars were totally eliminated?

Quote:
John, are there other places around that have passed legislation that restricts shoreline change?
(see above)

Wisconsin did, big time. Statewide. It appears to be having a positive effect probably fueled by tax incentives. The move was more environmental protection that aesthetic.
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Kevin Gibbons
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other thing about cedars that is not mention is that they are usally hollow in the stones or high land. The only good cedar is one that grows in the swamps where it is wet. Or you will find a hollow cedar. Most big cedars on bob-lo are hollow and dying. A lot of the trees that you want to protect are already dead. Cedars only grow so big then they dye, the first thing they do is dye from the inside out so they become hollow. Then the branches start following off from the bottom up. Cedar is a swamp tree needs a lot of water wet soil. The high land cedars are nothing but good kindling.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

History is such a valuable thing....at least to those who are unselfish enough to learn from it. I guess I don't actually mean to be rude but it seems everyone is worried more about the bottom dollar than what we know in our hearts is right. "I don't really care what people see from the water" could someone really mean that? Hopefully not. The more we listen and learn about the history of what has happened in similar situations the more we would obviously agree with what John is saying. This is not obtrusive wacko government. This is sound thinking. If some of you are worried about your property values, believe it or not this will not hurt the value. I personally can not imagine a person wanting to buy land on this island not agreeing with most if not all of what John is saying. This place is almost mystical. To cruise the inland lakes in a kayak at mornings light is breath taking. I have many friends who have homes on jammed lakes worth what they thought was far more than ours until they take a morning kayak ride. Don't believe for a second it will stay that way we must do everything and almost anything to stop it from happening. When I was young we had a favorite tree we all played under it was a georgous large apple tree we could climb up, shelter under and just run around. When returning to the place I grew up I always looked to see how the tree was. One day was shocked to see a parking lot... I was mortified. This to us was a giant, we used to meet by, play by, and nothing is left but a breeze blowing over an empty parking lot. Thats not what anyone wants here is it. I just dont understand peoples thinking process. How many unspoiled places are left....don't we want to try to save as many as possible. I think it is selfish to not consider the long term and not just what we think we want. If it was a need I could understand. And what of nature's watchmen, the animals we all love to see and hear. Does anyone think of the implications of unrestricted habitat destruction. I do realize there is a master plan but dont agree with it and someday if I'm lucky to live long enough to enjoy time up there will enjoy working to better it. I have heard some talk of "cut the *darn* trees down there in the way of progress what are you a tree hugger" no just a lover of life and nature which are one in the same.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Steps to get a greenbelt ordinance. Reply with quote

Kevin, I wanted to let you know that I do not agree with everything in the master plan. I do think though that whatever is in the plan should be followed. This summer at two of the public meetings held, I tried very hard to get people to agree that we do need more places for commercial. I suggested from the cemetery to Bob-Lo Gardens along the northerly side of the road. That includes the area that was voted on. One meeting group was opposed and one meeting group was for it.

What I'm trying to say is this. If it is in the plan, then follow it. If it isn't in the plan, and you want it in the plan, you have to somehow change it. I would like to see greenbelts on private property. The only way to do that is to make a change in the master plan. To do that must require a majority of the landowners asking planning to make that change in the master plan. If by some slim chance, that happened, then a zoning amendment would be the next step. That would have to be approved by the township and posted in the paper. At that point anyone can petition for a vote on it just like what happened recently. I do see your point about property owners rights to do whatever thay want with their land. I guess we will not agree on this. We can though, agree to disagree.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A side note.. I think BBI will be losing enough trees when the beech start coming down.. Now That is sad! Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce: Thanks for restating the obvious. I don't mean this sarcastically. Just of inputting from your perspective. You nailed it.

Susie: Yeah.. when the beech trees die and crash, and the shorelines are clear cut for "the view". Then what? Pave the dead zones?

What amazes me, more than anything else, is that people cannot see 1-2-3 decades forward by looking past: Where things have gone with unrestricted development as in "I own it", to where history will predictably follow? We haven't learned anything? Maybe not.

Preview of coming attractions: All about the money will be GREEN. ("I own it" is circa 1960's-think). Not from fashion but necessity. We are all in this together... NOW... and we have to preserve what we collectively "own". This isn't communist manifesto(?) This is the reality of 2007 and decades forthcoming. Anything we do affects not just ourselves or personal whims, but everyone around us.

Times have changed. Land use and TOTAL environment concerns are here-now. All for good reason.

My friends, I rememember 30 years ago, pre zoning, when if you "owned property" you had the right to trash it any way you saw fit. 55 gallon septic system, junk dumps in the swamp out behind. As long it was inside the fence, it wasan't any ones problem but the land owners. So now we are cleaning all that up, best we can.

You ain't seen nothing yet. No good/bad value to it. Just what is necessary to maintain damage control, on what remains untrashed?

And this is the bottom line. Write this on the wall and read it in 2017.

So what do folks want for BBI 10 years forward? Why are "we" all "here" now? How would we like things for our kids?

I can't answer these questions for every one else. All I can do is outline where things have been and where they will go without some revision in thought.
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:04 am    Post subject: agree Reply with quote

I agree what keivn has to say ... Its my land and if I want to enjoy seeing the water while I am sitting in my home drinking a cup of tea ..that's my business ..

In fact we owned lake front down by where Nagys are ... Down the shore a way ... The house did not get built and I left the island .. But I had a house plan and for sure I was going to see the lake .... If you have water front ... Why not enjoy it ???

I see where Mike is coming from as far as his plan on how he kept trees around as it helps both in winter and summer as far as wind and the cold ... I like his place ..

I am going to add .. Didn't you all come to the island to have some freedom from the rules that you had to live by where ever you lived ??
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike you believe in greenbelts thats because you allready have a house that would be in violation of a greenbelt so now you would be grandfathered in. Didn't you build that house. You are saying now that I got my house here I don't want the rest of you to do what I did.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Promise by Loren Reply with quote

Hey John, If the time comes that the township would need to act on your idea, and if Loren is still "in charge", you should have no problem, because he stated in his campaign letter to be agreeable to that.

"We believe that our duty as elected officials and public servants is to preserve and maintain the beauty and unique features of Bois Blanc Island."
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Copied pasted threads from "Conservation Easement" and put them here where they belong)


Island Girl Quote:
Quote:
am going to add .. didn't you all come to the island to have some freedom from the rules that you had to live by where ever you lived ??

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NEXT POST

Al's sister quote:
Quote:

Now that is the problem! That mindset allows people to break the rules.. The same rules that apply to you everywhere else applies to you on BBI Too! This mindset carries over to more than just zoning issues.. And it's sad! BBI is a part of the State. It isn't a free place with no laws.. Never has been.... Never will be..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Next POST

Kevin quote:
Quote:
Susie that isn't the issue of laws, It is a greenbelt which wouldn't allow you to cut or build on your properity 200' from the water you couldn't touch your properity just pay taxes on it. That is the issue. Most lake front properity that has homes on them are less then 200' right now. I agree with Conis we should have started this 30 yrs ago and none of the rest of you could have built your home where you did. That is what I don't like someone saying well I got mine here so lets stop everyone else.

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Last edited by Conis on Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came to BBI as a "refugee". To enjoy wild areas including undisturbed shorelines and basicaly enjoy those things which are BBIs attraction. If I enjoyed development. I would have stayed put in Indian River. I don't see "development" and "improvement" as meaning the same things. Sometimes less development is and improvement over more development.

I am not talking about commercial development, but year by year erosion of BBI's Natural state. Anyone whoi has been on the island for decades can attest to the fact there are morre and more people and more development annually. Much of it is by downstate development= improvement mindset which fits BBI how?

I didn't come to BBI to avoid, bend or make rules. Or win any popularity contests or get involved in local government. Nor does the issue under discussion necessarily infringe on riparian rights as a property owner. Sometimes "rules" are necessary for the greater good of all, in the long term. This is why we have laws and ordinances in the first place, isn't it?

This isn't an arguement... This is a discussion. It is hopefully based on what has occured in other places around the state and directed toward what the majority WOULD NOT like to see what will predictably happen on BBI.. unless there is some new thinking and refocus of long term objectives?

The greenbelt concept or "rule" extends beyond land ownership. It covers future generations. The benefits are long term. 30-50-100 years from now. The benefits won't been seen in our lifetime unless we are maybe 10 years old. "Yeah... they should have done it 30 years ago" as they are saying in Cheboygan country now, when it is too late. What will be said on BBI, thirty years forth?

The "greenbelt initiative" in Cheboygan county failed miserably because it wasn't based on here-now reality. I suppose some stuffed shirt politician decided that because it worked on the Pigeon (implemented 30 years ago) it would be a swell idea for all the inland lakes in Cheboygan County, as well? Just turn back the clock and give it a shot.

Within that "initiative", the majority of non developed lake lots wouldn't meet ridiculous set back criteria. Nor was any grandfather clause made clear. "If my house burns down and is sitting on a non conforming lot... then what?" Zoning couldn't answer that one. 100% of the homes on the indian River between Burt and I-75 DID NOT meet lot size or setback requirements. Much less have much room for a "green belt". There are no greenbelts on Indian River. Just decks to the waters edge and manicured lawns. THATS WHY IT FAILED. The entire idea, at this stage of the game, was absolutely ridiculous. Basically. it DID say. "I got mine but you don't get yours" to anyone sitting on an undeveloped lake or river lot that wasn't HUGE... therefore making it unbuildable.

It is pretty hard to compare Burt/Mullet lakes or Indian River to BBI as far as development (NOW). But it doen't take much imagination to see a trend in the years ahead.

BBI Zoning laready has setbacks depending on lot size. Does this mean they are infringing on your rights as a property owner? Are 55 gallon drum septic tanks still allowed? Outhouses? What else doesn't fly any more?

What about the DEQ that insists on doing a wetland eval prior to building. Aren't they infringing on property owners rights? Used to be, you just bring in fill and go for it.

Setbacks from waters edge are arbitrary. They can be 25' or 1000' depending on what zoning decides to set them at.

For some reason, some think there is no compromise?

A greenbelt can be managed and improved without destroying it in the process .

    ~A waterfront landowner can thin the trees, leaving only select primary trees to grow faster and bigger.
    ~Lower branches can be pruned to allow a clear view of the water, smell the water, hear the water.
    ~Low growing shrubs such as Juniper can be used to fill in empty areas.

It is kind of like landscaping. Working with what you have and making improvements from the top down rather than cutting it all down and beginning from scratch. Having a managed greenbelt doesn't mean it must be an untouched jungle!

What some don't realize tis that these trees aka "view blockers" are much more valuable that "just trees" as far as shelter and erosion control at the waters edge. They don't function as "trees" but as a grove of trees all together. They harbor an entire ecosystem in their shadow. Insects, =birds, birds eat insects amphibians eat insects... and on and on biology 101. Cut down all the trees and lose all that for an unobstructed "view".

The other part of this is: Cut down all the waterfront trees and you can't put them back. You could, but you won't have what you began with in your lifetime. Grooming or managing a greenbelt is a one shot deal. Requies some insight and forethought... like irreversable surgery.

This whole subject is very old news in other areas. Wisconsin has worked to restore native greenbelts. Not mandatory compliance. They have been successful by offering property tax breaks to waterfront owners who will either restore or carefully manage an existing greenbelt.

Apparently they came up with a reality based plan that actually works, and appeals to waterfront owners. They gave them an option and dangled a $ carrot.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't live in Wisconsin so I can't comment at all how it works good or bad but I have seen greenbelts put on and they don't work it just restricts people on there properity and the enforcement of this lays in the hands of our goverment at the time and that can be a bad thing also. It is just one more control that the goverent has on your properity that you are going to pay taxes on. There is a state law that you can't build closer then 75' to the high water edge now. What is the since of having water front properity if you can't build on it or touch it. It just cost you more in taxes. Why should I pay more for water front properity if I have to build in the woods and can't be by the water. If I wanted to be in the woods that is where I would buy.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

color=brown](EDIT INSERT: I Assume too much) GRANDFATHER CLAUSE[/color] I just stated earlier that the Chebygan waterfront greenbelt setback "thing" failed because of grey zone/ambigous or missing grandfather clauses. Maybe need to go into this a little because this seems to be popping up in the BBI discussion.

The Pigeon River watershed act was implemented in the 70's. I have read the "book" on it 2346 times and went all through this when getting a construction variance.

The act Applies mostly to lots SUBDIVIDED after the act was implemented so subdivision would conform to setbacks, greenbelt and all of that. It couldn't be applied totally to LOTS OF RECORD predating the implementation of the act. In otherwords, you couldn't be forced to move a structure or replant a greenbelt.

HOWEVER. Some parts of the act still applied. IE if youd had a lawn where there was once woods, and a few remaining trees, You couldn't cut MORE trees OR if you did any planting, it had to be native vegetation.

The PR act is comprehensive, well beyond simple setbacks and greenbelt preservation. The goal was to maintain a WILD strip 100' deep at the waters edge on any new subdivided property. On existing structures and smaller lots of record, it was "suggested" that structures and grounds be made as "natural looking " as practical. (So not of be offensive purple with an orange roof and palm trees and pink flamingos etc)

On undeveloped smaller, lots of record, variances were issued for almost 30 years for building within setbacks etc. That is about done now. There are very few older smaller lots left. Mostly larger tracts being broken down into long 4-5 acre lots, which was the target of the PR act, 30 years prior.
    To prevent every foot or river frontage having a house 10' back from the bank...
    To preserve the wild sceneic character of the river for ALL to enjoy.
    To maintain habitat in and along the river as a total ecosystem


Anyway, I went through the system. Worked well with cooperation between myself and Cheb zoning. They weren't unreasonable. Give and take. My little camp was grossly (probably 100%) out of requirment. The improvements I made brought it much closer.

I bring all this up to demonstrate how things might best be handled on BBI as far as grandfathering old/existing etc. Unless things are practical and real. They won't work (Cheboygan)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin Gibbons wrote:
I don't live in Wisconsin so I can't comment at all how it works good or bad ... There is a state law that you can't build closer then 75' to the high water edge now. What is the since of having water front properity if you can't build on it or touch it. It just cost you more in taxes. Why should I pay more for water front properity if I have to build in the woods and can't be by the water. If I wanted to be in the woods that is where I would buy.


I wasn't aware the STATE LAW was 75'. If it is that, then I guess that is what we will live with. Seems like a reasonable distance to me.

Like I said, the wisconsin statute doesn't make a greenbelt mandatory. It is totally a choice made by the property owner. What they did do is give property tax breaks to those who chose to leave trees and vegetation.

I don't know if this applies to great lakes (Wisconsin) or just inland lakes rivers. The decision, (As I recall) was to reduce the amount of fertilizer and other crap running into the lakes, to help clean up the water.

I am going to loook into it, just to keep my facts straight.

Hey. If you own waterfront property, you pay higher taxes, greenbelt or not. I can see the lake down Rocky road, and walk to it. Good enough to suit me.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stand corrected. Burnet county in Wisconsin.

Read how they set it up (wisconsin)
http://www.uwex.edu/impacts/search/documents/108.pdf

THIS IS A GOOD READ! Excerpt:
Native plants and trees along lakes and rivers—natural vegetative buffers—prevent pollution and erosion by filtering runoff and holding soil in place, provide homes for aquatic and shoreland creatures, and create natural beauty. With real estate development at an all time high, natural shorelines are becoming a scarce resource. In the last ten years, annual building permits increased seventy percent in Burnett County.

Owners who value a cleared area consider trees and vegetation as blocking their view, rather than part of the view. Others prefer the look of a mowed lawn over natural growth. Properties change hands about every 7 years. A recent survey estimated that only about thirty percent of the county’s shoreline parcels have an adequate natural vegetative buffer. As one survey respondent put it: “People tend to want a view for themselves, but want to see a natural lakeshore everywhere else.”

more.
http://207.21.241.161/Lake%20Protection/lakepreservation.htm

(Michigan) Shoreline protection as adopted into local zoning.
http://www.mlui.org:80/landwater/fullarticle.asp?fileid=9029
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