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Private Beaches on BBI????
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:22 pm    Post subject: Beaches Reply with quote

So, has this discussion answered the original question?

My understanding, as I read all of the posts, is that the beach is public to the right of the parking area. If this is the area occupied by visitors, then there should be no problem if responsible behavior is displayed. The other crude acts (mentioned in the above posts) or other public nuisance behavior is unacceptable. With unacceptable behavior, any offended citizen can make a complaint, not only the nearest land owner. Is the beach in front of the land owners property public? It is a legal issue. So, my advice would be to "keep right."

So, the beach area to the right is public. If someone gripes and no laws have been broken, ignore them. Or, as suggested, tell them to call Grahm

Does that answer ttfn's original question or did I miss something?
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last summer, all of Snow Beach sub and Nicols pt was resurveyed. I was told the survey results were "right on the money" at least along the beach lots.

There was also some "discussion" ( and I am using this term loosely) that the property owner east of the snow beach access, contended that they owned the access, the boundary was off or something this effect. The resurvey proved the boundary lines were exactly where they were supposed to be. I used the term "discussion" because this is second hand information as far as the alleged contention.

The snow beach west boundary is along the road intersecting the curve on the main road ( heading toward the Rocky Road intersection) From the surveyor flags, it was easy to see a straight line all the way to the beach. The flags may still be there.

The landowner does not own the parking area.

Anyway, the beach is a public access. I don't know if it is truly public or intended only for snow beach property owners? There are 2-3 other beach accesses which correspond to roads heading into snow beach that actually cross the main road.

With all this said, the issue of legal trespass on beaches up to the high water mark has been somewhat legally defined. I don't think it means you can set up a tent in front of someones place and camp out. Beachfront property owners have the same rights as any others. If there is a disturbance , illegal activity, or nuisance going on, they have every right to file a complaint. Short of that, not.
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:10 pm    Post subject: beach Reply with quote

conis good to hear from you .. its been awhile ..

i think your info about snow beach is right on the money ..

guess no one wants to open the can of worms of all the problems about sand bay ......

i do know that many new people that are not new anymore but new to me do not even know about the wonderful sand bay we all used to enjoy many years ago ....... I am free to go there yet and enjoy as my cousin lives there at sand bay .. its sad to see things change but thats life ..to a point ..
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:03 pm    Post subject: beach Reply with quote

many many years ago when i lived on the island with my hubby and my 3 kids .... my hubby and I went to many beach parties on sand bay ... there were not any cottages real close by ..we would be there with close friends ,some we grew up with that would only come up during the summers ..
it was so enjoyable with the moon shining on the lake ... just sitting there around the fire with the sound of the waves washing up on the beach ..of course at times the wind would blow the smoke in our faces but we just moved around the fire until it stopped ...
it was fun with our toes in the sand enjoying our life long friends ...

One night though we made a terible mess with cans and bottles left all over .. we left it all but we were there in the morning picking everything up ..

I can honestly say we always cleaned up after our self ...
those memories are one of many i was blessed to enjoy and feel very RICH to have been one of a few to beable to live on bois blanc island year around ...

another memory comes to mind ..... i have a dear friend that would come up each year for the summers ...after she was married with children, she told me she never seen the sunrise ..she lived in detroit ..so i said okay tonights the night ..so her hubby and mine went to a beach ..can not remember which one now .... we built a fire and sat around talking ..as the night wore on it got very damp and cold but we hung in there ..she seen the sunrise ... her first ..... we then headed back to the pines .. i had a newborn about 2 months old and she had a little one too ..needless to say neither one of us got any sleep that day but my dear friend got to see the sunrise !!!!

[/u]
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Charlie Trie
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conis,

There's imprecision about defining the high water mark, but there seems to be little uncertainty about the private and public rights: ie, if a deed indicates that the property goes to the water's edge, then that property owner owns that property to the water's edge. That owner has been paying taxes on that property and appears to have the right to decide who 'loiters' there. The public has the right to walk along the entire shore, including over that private property within the constraints of the high water mark. They don't appear to have the right to stop, sit down, meet, dig, litter, party, etc. without the owner's permission.

At Snow Beach, there is a public access and a public beach to the right (south) of the access across from Rocky Road. Seems to me that all this nonsense goes away if folks accept that fact.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has been a while since I read the ruling on the beach trespass issue. I don't remember if it applied only to great lakes or was more general. I do recall there were a lot of gray areas: High water mark at the current time or highest mark?

You are right on loitering: The decision doesn't give walkers the privledge of plopping down in lawn chairs in front of someones cottage. Swmming may be a different subject.. I have been told the beach /water (snow beach) is much cleaner east of the access so I suppose that is the attraction for swimming.

In a similar but slightly different situation: At Devoe (public) beach, Burt lake/Indian river stands a new very large home right next to it. It is fenced between the public beach and private property. On the other side of the private property is a public easement /road dead ending at the lake so there is public access both sides.

For years, boaters have come in and anchored to use either the beach or public access and walk into town. Boat traffic can be substantial on a summer day.

A number of boats typically anchor in front of the private property due to limited space either side. The property owner got all bent out of shape about it, tried to sue the twp and went as far as building a fence out of bouys strung together in an attempt to prevent boats from anchoring directly in front.

The DNR reminded him he doesn't own Burt lake and gave him 10 days to remove the bouy-fence which he didn't, so they did, for him.

This happened 5-6 years ago and has nothing to do with the snow beach situation except it is similar with private property adjoining public property and where the boundaries and legal limits are.
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Ron Petersen
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charlie - I'm kinda thinking that even if a deed shows you own to the water's edge, it probably doesn't make any difference - you probably only have control to the average high water mark - A deed normally shows that you own property to the middle of a road too and pay taxes on it, and you have about the same control of that as you do the beach - Most people would have the sense not to camp in front of someones house without permission and Most wouldn't want to anyway
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boisblancgirl
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Connie Faye,

You said:
Quote:
there were not any cottages real close by
. In fact when we were growing up and using Sand Bay for beach parties or just going swimming there during the day, ALL the cottages were there with the exception of Mike & Lani's, or Albers'. So there were several cottages there then, but the people just didn't come up that often and when they did, it was for just a short period of time.
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Charlie Trie
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conis and Ron -

The Burt Lake thing may be totally different because it may be controlled by riparian rights, not littoral rights. If riparian, my understanding is that the adjacent property owner may own to the middle of the lake.

But at this point I'm drowning in legal minutae. And I'm coming back onto common ground - whoever owns it.


I think that we're all in basic agreement - use common sense and treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated.

Ciao
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EGADS!

Mighigan has a hodgepodge of assorted riparian laws for streams and lakes. Lets just say Lake Huron and Burt are both natural lakes. Property owners own the high water mark. They don't own the water or the land under it.

I brought the Burt Lake example into play not because it has an iota to do with snow beach but because the same rules apply. Natural lakes, the water and land under them are owned, for the most part, by the state.
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IslandDeer
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:01 am    Post subject: clover Reply with quote

First off this is THEEISLANDGIRL using my moms lap top.....

Clover.. yes you are right ..there were cottages there but we were not in front of them ..we were more to the right facing the water ... by the old dock ..what was left of it ... guess really did not think too much of them because like you said they were not up much ... Is there 3 to the left of mike and lani or 2 ??
anyway ... it was alot of fun .....
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boisblancgirl
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I knew it was you Connie Faye. there were 4 cottages beyond Mike and lani's and they're still there.
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:22 am    Post subject: sandbay Reply with quote

First closest to the left of the road to the beach was James. Next was Duley (sp?). That place was previously Harnden's and where Lani first knew the island. Next was Pinneys. Last is/was Goodins.

In the opposite direction, to the right, there was absolutely no one for a long way. I recall walking to Stony Point [now called Zela] and there were no homes.

It will be a shame to see the Pinney cottage go.

I once defended my "private beach" when a bunch of young guys decided to have a fire and beer party right in front of my place. This is how I handled it. I went down to the party and told them that they could have my permission to continue as long as I could join them and drink their beer. They gave me a beer and I joined in, but not being of their age group, it was a little uncomfortable for them. It kind of took the fun out of their party. I told them after a couple of beers that I needed to go to the bathroom and went up to the house. I peeked out the window and they were packing up and leaving so they wouldn't have to put up with some senior drinking their beer and spoiling their fun.
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject: beaches Reply with quote

Through the grapevine, Mike, I've heard that you'd do anything for a free beer. Now which is it...were you crashing the party or just looking for some free beer?
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IslandDeer
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:21 pm    Post subject: beach Reply with quote

In anwer to the people on BB IS site, in just plain words-How many mons do summer people stay? or how many summer people use the beach? I questionwhy the township or the assoctation hasn't put something out for people to put trash in. And what I dont understand is why the D.N.R years ago took the picnic table, toilets and barrels, they had off the Island. Being State land why couldn't they have just left them. And closeing the dump where people could use and the cans could be sorted and they spent more money on the dump that would forever pay for taking it to town. Now the subdiviton of Pointe Aux Pins contract, I am sure had down about the people owning lots and could use the beach only. I was told by Gene Babcock who at that time was the supervisor and had checked the infornation. There should have been a place which could have been Sand Bay for the public to use, the Township should made agreement with the county long ago. Besides Snow Beach, which is stony, the old dock is the only place, all but at the end of the rd on the west end, faceing Round Island. Also by the cross. A place we need to swim and take your lunch and injoy the fresh water of the Great Lake. WE always used Sand Bay in the winter to cross- on the ice .
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Weena Fritzer
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:56 am    Post subject: Confused-Public Beach Reply with quote

I am truely confused after reading all the entries as if Sand Bay Beach is Public or Not. My family and I have not seen that portion of the island and would like to check it out. Another question, we have yet to see the lighthouse. Are the roads leading up to the lighthouse on the East End accessible? and how accessible? Any information would be appreciated. We will be there tomorrow morning bright and early and would like to start exploring various parts we have not yet seen in our other visits. It is strange to own property and make many visits and yet not see everything there is to see. Very Happy
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Ron Petersen
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weena - I think it comes down to that all the beaches are usuable to the public to the average high water mark, but the problem is that you might have to go across private property to get to them - If it is on state ground, their shouldn't be any problem.
A lot of times it just makes sense to ask if you can sit or swim at somebodies beach and most will let you if you approach it that way.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:50 pm    Post subject: bay Reply with quote

yes, Sand Bay is still public, people on the right side, first house wants you to believe it isn't, they are still in court. You turn just pass their place. Wish people would find out more about it and help. by writting letters. The lite house is on the north shore, have to go on the firetower rd. should ask someone who knows how to get there. The cross [s on the west end endof the Bible rd. thanks for being interested.
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Weena Fritzer
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Thank you Reply with quote

I didn't recieve your replys until after we returned. However, we did get to see Sand Beach and how it has houses in front of it. We did not go on the beach. We did see Snow Beach and had a great day there with the kids. And best of all we did find our way to the lighthouse and enjoyed the rocky hillside of the lighthouse beach as well. Thank you all for your replys.. While at Mary's lake we met quite a few nice people just passing by and stopping for a look see. We caught plenty of fish but it was a catch and release day for us and quite fun. We were curious at the survey stakes and pinks flags galour.. and the bull dozing of the trees making a circle parking area now. The people passing had said that Mary's lake is getting a new dock is this true? That would be great. But what of the survey flags? Is all this chopped up surveyed land going up for sale around the lake?
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Erin Gilligan
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:25 am    Post subject: island beaches Reply with quote

Hey all Smile

I've been going to the island since I was about 15 - I am 43 now and wish I could live there year round. I mss it so much when I am not there! I've been caring for my mom for the past 2 years and so have missed my summer escape to what I consider heaven, but! I will be there in about a week, and really have appreciated reading about the beaches and so on. I used to LOVE Sand bay, and miss it terribly. I remember sitting there, watching the sun set... Snow beach is very nice, however, and I can't wait to get my butt out there for some sun and smell - I wish I could bottle the smell of the island... I know, I am nuts Rolling Eyes anyhow, thanks for all the info!

Erin Hurst (Gilligan)
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:51 am    Post subject: glad you are her with us Reply with quote

glad you are here with us on this great site !!

I did spend some time at sand bay but not as much as I could have .. I sat with my most wonderful cousin mike white on the beach and had a very good deep chat .. it was fun hes such a good guy ... and i think he did get a beer from someone who happened along to where we were .. Ha Ha .. just kidding mike .. really can not remember if you were drinking all I know is we were in a good converstation ..!!!
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STATE OF MICHIGAN

COURT OF APPEALS

_______________________________________________
GERALD G. ALBERS, and CAROLYN J. ALBERS,
UNPUBLISHED
July 14, 2000

Plaintiffs/Counterdefendants-Appellees/Cross-Appellants,
v

MACKINAC COUNTY ROAD COMMISSION,
No. 213478
Mackinac Circuit Court
LC No. 94-003695-CH

Defendant/Counterplaintiff/Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
v
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES,
R. H. GOODIN, Trustee, ELIZABETH J.
GOODIN, Trustee, MICHAEL R. GAHN, SUSAN
GAHN, a/k/a SUSAN VANVOORHEES, a/k/a
SUSAN BEGLE, F.L. VANVOORHEES,
BARBARA L. VANVOORHEES, WILLIAM O.
MITCHELL, ANGELINE R. MITCHELL,
CITIZENS NATIONAL BANK, ANNA
MARGARET DEVLIN, a/k/a ANNA DEVLIN,
CARL WHITE, a/k/a CARL P. WHITE, ESTHER
L. WHITE, MICHAEL J. WHITE, LANITA
WHITE, MAURICE VICTOR DELOFF,
PRESQUE ISLE ELECTRIC & GAS COOP,
INC., ISLAND TELEPHONE COMPANY, and
BOIS BLANC TOWNSHIP,

Third-Party Defendants.
_______________________________________________
Before: Hood, P.J., and Saad and O'Connell, JJ.
PER CURIAM.

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Defendant/counterplaintiff, Mackinac County Road Commission (hereinafter defendant) appeals as of right, following a bench trial, from the trial court's judgment adjudicating disputed portions of a roadway designated as Sand Bay Road, a/k/a County Road 295, in Bois Blanc Township, Mackinac County. The court ruled that portions of Sand Bay Road were parts of a public roadway pursuant to the highway by user statute, MCL 221.20; MSA 9.21. On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in determining that the width of the roadway would be limited to twenty-four feet. Plaintiffs/counterdefendants, Gerald Albers and Carolyn Albers (hereinafter plaintiffs), cross-appeal, challenging the trial court's determination that the elements for establishing a highway by user were satisfied. They also challenge the trial court's determination of the width of the roadway. We reverse and remand for a new trial.
Plaintiffs purchased a parcel of property in August 1993, from David A. Barnett. Plaintiffs alleged that there was an access road to their property as well as a private drive consisting of a one-hundred foot parcel that extended from the access road to the Straits of Mackinac. Plaintiffs requested injunctive relief to prevent defendant from maintaining and extending the private drive. Defendant filed a countercomplaint alleging that the private drive had become a highway by user. After two days of trial testimony, the trial court concluded that all necessary parties were not present for an adjudication. That is, if defendant was given its requested relief of the grant of a highway by user in accordance with the presumed width of four rods or sixty-six feet, the ordered roadway would require the use of property owned by neighboring landowners who were not named in the action. Accordingly, a third-party complaint was filed by defendants, and trial resumed a year and a half later. At the conclusion of trial, the court concluded that a roadway had been established by highway by user, MCL 221.20; MSA 9.21, but was limited to the fourteen feet of use with an additional five feet on either side for, essentially, safety purposes.
Plaintiff first argues that the trial court clearly erred in concluding that the defendant met its burden of proof regarding the elements of highway by user. We agree. While a trial court's findings of fact in a bench trial are reviewed for clear error, Featherstone v Steinhoff, 226 Mich App 584, 588; 575 NW2d 6 (1997), the trial court's conclusions of law are reviewed de novo for error. Omnicom v Giannetti Investment Co, 221 Mich App 341, 348; 561 NW2d 138 (1997). Where an error of law has occurred in the proceedings, a new trial is appropriate. Schellenberg v Rochester, Michigan, Lodge No. 2225, 228 Mich App 20, 31; 577 NW2d 163 (1998). Highway by user describes how the public acquires title to a highway by a sort of prescription where no formal dedication has ever been made. Rigoni v Michigan Power Co, 131 Mich App 336, 343; 345 NW2d 918 (1984). The elements of highway by user are: (1) defined line of travel with definite boundaries; (2) use and maintenance by public authorities; (3) travel upon the road by the public; (4) for ten consecutive years without interruption; and (5) the use occurs in an open, notorious and exclusive manner. Kent County Road Commission v Hunting, 170 Mich App 222, 231; 428 NW2d 353 (1988). Once the elements are established, the statute operates to raise a rebuttable presumption that the road is four rods or sixty-six feet wide. Id. In the present case, the trial court held that there was a period of use for in excess of sixty years in light of the fact that mail delivery had been received along the private road asserted by plaintiffs. However, the trial court failed to delineate and the parties failed to present title of ownership for the parcels surrounding the private drive. That is, it would be inappropriate to deprive plaintiffs of the use of the property based on a period of time wherein there was no owner of the property adjoining the private drive. Highway by user allows the public the use of another's property as a road because

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the owner acquiesces or donates the use of the land and cannot be heard to object later. City of Kentwood v Sommerdyke Estate, 458 Mich 642, 657; 581 NW2d 670 (1998), citing Bumpus v Miller, 4 Mich 159 (1856). If there was no property owner during a significant period of time during that sixty year period, there could be no acquiescence or donation of property by an owner. Rather, it seems that if defendant is relying on its use from a period of time prior to the existence an ownership interest, defendant should have condemned the property rather than deprive a later purchaser of a portion of property. Kentwood, supra.
While there was a period of ownership established, it was unclear whether that ownership involved the parcels neighboring the private drive in dispute. Barnett testified that he bought lakefront property in 1985 from Henry Caulkins. However, he did not specify whether this property involved the disputed property bordering the private drive. Rather, Barnett testified that he also purchased property in 1991, from two elderly women. In 1993, Barnett's properties were sold to plaintiffs. Because the trial's conclusion of law is based on the lack of clarity in the record regarding whether the property neighboring the private drive was held in ownership interest for a continuous ten year period wherein the owner had the ability to object to defendant's use, we must reverse and remand for a new trial. Schellenberg, supra.
Even assuming that the parties had presented sufficient evidence to satisfy the elements of highway by user, we note that it appears that additional third party defendants were denied procedural due process by being added to the trial after two days of testimony had taken place. Constitutional issues are reviewed de novo as questions of law. Kampf v Kampf, 237 Mich App 377, 381; 603 NW2d 295 (1999). It is fundamental that both state and federal constitutions provide that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law. Rental Property Association v Grand Rapids, 455 Mich 246, 271; 566 NW2d 514 (1997). Due process enforces the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and includes both substantive and procedural due process. Kampf, supra at 381-382. Procedural due process serves as a limitation on government action and requires it to institute safeguards in proceedings that affect those rights protected by due process, including life, liberty, or property. Id. at 382. Due process is a flexible concept that applies to any adjudication of important rights. Dobrzenski v Dobrzenski, 208 Mich App 514, 515; 528 NW2d 827 (1995). It calls for procedural protections as the situation demands including fundamental fairness. Id. Fundamental fairness includes consideration of the private interest at stake, the risk of an erroneous deprivation of such interest through the procedures used, the probable value of additional or substitute procedures, and the state or government interest, including the function involved and the fiscal or administrative burdens imposed by substitute procedures. Id.
In the present case, the denial of procedural due process precludes us from addressing defendant's issue on appeal. Id. at 515-516. The trial court concluded after two days of trial that highway by user had been established and the only issue in dispute was the width of the roadway. However, when the third-party defendants were added to the litigation, trial did not begin anew, but rather, was merely resumed. A third-party defendant, appearing in propria persona, asked for clarification regarding an issue that had been developed during the first part of trial and also asked for clarification regarding the exhibit representing the portions of the disputed road as divided into sections A, B, and C. Counsel for the parties refused to answer the question because of a "procedural problem," although it is questionable whether counsel could have answered the

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question in light of the lack of specificity of the documentary evidence presented in the exhibit evidencing the disputed property.
Furthermore, while defendant seeks a reversal of the trial court's order awarding twenty-four feet for the roadway established by highway by user, defendant fails to cite authority in support of taking property belonging to third-parties who did not authorize public use. That is, defendant's request, that the highway by user be granted to the full extent of the presumptive four rods, fails to delineate how property may be taken from neighboring landowners who have not authorized public use of their property. A party may not leave it to this Court to search for authority to sustain or reject its position. City of Troy v Papadelis (On Remand), 226 Mich App 90, 95; 572 NW2d 246 (1997).1 Due to the lack of procedural due process afforded third-party plaintiffs by their addition midtrial, the trial court's conclusion prior to their addition that highway by user had been established, and the failure to cite authority that allows defendant's use of property within the four rods that does not belong to plaintiffs, we reverse and remand for a new trial.
However, we question the parties' motives for proceeding with this litigation. It seems common knowledge that the private drive was used by various residents and visitors to the island for years. In fact, plaintiff Geraldine Albers testified regarding her use of the private drive on visits to the island as a child. There is no indication that the common use of the private drive by residents required additional footage be added to the private drive. While defendant asserted at oral argument that additional footage was required because of maintenance vehicles, testimony regarding additional width for vehicles is not preserved in the record. By the same token, representatives of defendant indicated that they wished to reach an amicable settlement and did not need to extend the width of the roadway. Although original photographs were not preserved in the record on appeal, a black and white copy of a photograph contained at the end of a deposition provided in the record on appeal indicates that there are trees in an area nearby the private road. Additionally, there was testimony that alternative means of access were questionable because of nearby wetlands. The parties failed to specify whether a statutory presumption would cause the destruction of wetlands, while the photograph indicates that destruction or removal of the trees would be mandated by an order granting the statutory width.
_______________________
1 In fact, 12 Michigan Civil Jurisprudence, Highways and Streets, § 101, p 144, provides that a dedication, "when not expressly or impliedly restricted by the owner, is not confined to the mere track that is beaten by travelers in passing along, but includes and carries with it the four rods in width as provided by the statute." In Kentwood, supra, the Supreme Court, citing Bumpus, supra, explained the constitutionality of allowing property to be taken for public purposes that does not amount to a taking. Specifically, the court acknowledged that a taking does not occur where the "owner actually gives or dedicates his property to the public for their use, or where, from his long acquiescence in the use of it by the public, a donation or dedication is presumed by law ..." In the present case, an award of the statutory presumption of four rods would extend onto the property of third party defendants. However, there is no indication in the record that third party defendants had knowledge that their property could be dedicated for public use allowed by a neighboring landowner. One could argue that, because there was no public dedication or donation by third party defendants, defendant's attempt to take the property via the presumptive four rods amounts to a taking of their property.

-4-

It might be prudent to consider settling this matter in lieu of suffering through another trial when the motivation appears to be based on vindication rather than use, convenience, or the common good.
Reversed and remanded for a new trial. We do not retain jurisdiction.

/s/ Harold Hood
/s/ Henry William Saad
/s/ Peter D. O'Connell

-5-



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emmet County Buys Lot To Settle Dispute
County Calls It a Win for Public Access at Headlands Road
By Paul Gingras

To help ensure continued public access to lakes and streams via road ends, and to avoid a potentially lengthy and costly lawsuit, Emmet County has agreed to purchase waterfront property owned by Ralph Reisinger, who sued other landowners for control of a popular public access site next to his parcel at the end of Headlands Road, near Mackinaw City.
To settle the dispute, Mr. Reisinger offered his land, next to the Headlands Road access point, to the county for $50,000. The county board of commissioners agreed to purchase Mr. Reisinger's parcel at its April 10 meeting to avoid any future private landowners there from raising the same issue later.
The case has been delayed while the details of the purchase are worked out.
The dispute pitted Mr. Reisinger against several entities, including the Michigan attorney general's office.
"Basically, I am just tired of this whole mess," Mr. Reisinger told The St. Ignace News. "It was apparent that the county was going to fight me on everything I was going to do with that property. It doesn't seem worth it, given the position of the county."
The county's position is that, no matter how the case was resolved, the property should remain in public use, said Jim Tamlyn, who chairs the Emmet County Board of Commissioners.
Mr. Reisinger sought to control illegal partying and littering at the end of the road, which he contends carried over to his parcel in Mackinaw Headlands Subdivision. Denying public access was never his goal, he said.
Mr. Reisinger has owned his plot since 2000 but has not built on it. He will likely purchase property elsewhere.
Residents and many visitors from across the state are familiar with the site and its open view of the Straits of Mackinac. With public access in question, letters and telephone calls flooded Emmet County demanding continued public ownership of the land, Mr. Tamlyn said.
The county board's stated policy is to oppose closing road ends when doing so would deny public access to lakes or streams, said Emmet County civil attorney Kathleen Abbott.
"If the township, county, and state were to sit by and not pursue this aggressively, not only would this road end close, what would happen when the next [similar case] comes along?" she asked.
The lawsuit was unlikely to be decided in Mr. Reisinger's favor, Mr. Tamlyn said, and if it had, the county would have sought to take over the land through the law of eminent domain.
Eminent domain gives governments the right to take over property when doing so is in the public's best interest.
If the settlement is agreed to by all six parties in the land dispute, the county will maintain public access, ensure proper policing of the property, incorporate it into its park system, and probably place a historical marker there, Mr. Tamlyn said.
"One thing I found out in this matter was the historical value of the property," he noted. "We will keep that history alive."
References to the spot can be found in historical French, English, and American documents, some of which reference longstanding Native American use of the site.
Emmet County already has one deputy sheriff whose primary duty is to police county parks, such as where Mackinaw Historic Village is, and extending the patrol should not be a problem, Mr. Tamlyn said.
Headlands Road forms part of the village's western border, and the nearby Mackinaw City Police Department will continue oversight of the area, said Chief Patrick Wyman.
In response to the allegations of illegal activity at the site, Mr. Wyman combed 9-1-1 files dating back 10 years. There has never been a call to the police complaining about activity at end of Headland's Road during that time, he told The St. Ignace News. Mr. Wyman, who lives nearby, said he has not encountered excessive littering or partying there in the past 18 years.
"We're hopeful that the case can be settled quickly," Mrs. Abbott.
Even with the purchase agreement, a speedy conclusion to the case is in question. All parties must be satisfied, and there are six attorneys involved, representing Wawatam Township, Emmet County, the Department of Natural Resources, the county road commission, Mr. Reisinger, and other property owners in the subdivision.




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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:23 am    Post subject: I Reply with quote

By the way the Sand Bay issue is still in litigation in Emmet county, maybe the judge would be interested in peoples opinions
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