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Township adopts 11 ordinances for all 10 lakes

By Dana Casadei

The Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees voted approval of adoption of 11 lake ordinances at their meeting on Monday, May 13.

Voting for the ordinances started with Ordinance 679, the purpose of which was to repeal the existing and unenforceable local watercraft controls on various lakes within Bloomfield Township. Those ordinances, to prohibit all motorized watercraft, had been in place for decades, but recently it was discovered they had obtained no actual approval from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), making them obsolete.

The other 10 ordinances passed each amended Chapter 40, Waterways, Division 1, and added a new section 40-22, to provide a slow-no wake speed for vessels on each on the lakes, including Wing Lake, Gilbert Lake, Chalmers Lake, Wabeek Lake, Orange Lake, Sodon Lake, Forest Lake, Lower Long Lake, Meadow Lake,and Island Lake.

Having the lakes be “slow-no wake speed” means that the wake or wash created by a vessel would have to be minimal, only caused by a very slow speed at which the vessel was being driven.

While the ordinances have passed, there is even more work for the township to get done now, all of which they are hoping to complete by the end of May, and on track to do so according to township clerk Martin Brook. 

In order for the ordinances to become effective ,the board will have to publish the ordinances after adoptions, which was completed at their May 13 meeting, and have already provided notice to DNR – another step in the process.

Next, they will have to post the signs around the 10 lakes for the ordinances to be effective. The signs have already been ordered and approved by the DNR.

If the township is successful in itsplanned appeal to the DNR, they will have to replace the signs with new ones, indicating an ordinance requirement of no motorboats on the lakes.

This all comes after some lengthy board meetings, including the meeting on April 8, where it was shared that the DNR had determined that local watercraft control was not warranted, permitting only slow no-wake ordinances to be adopted on the lakes. 

At that meeting, township attorney Derk Beckerleg advised that while he did not agree with the DNR's ruling, he felt an appeal would be “futile.” He also advised trustees to adopt the current ordinances in order to get them in place for this summer's boat season, which they have now done. 

At the trustees meeting on Wednesday, April 24, a unanimous decision was reached to appeal the DNR’s finding on local watercraft control, where it was determined that the township's 10 lakes can have slow no-wake lake ordinances, but not no motorboats, as has been followed by the lakes since 1970. Brook said it was determined they would not appeal to the DNR for Chalmers, Meadow, Orange Sodon or Wabeek lakes, as they are all smaller than 40 acres in size with no launch or natural launch, meaning it was very unlikely a motorized boat could be launched on one of the lakes. The focus of the township's appeal will be on the five larger lakes in the township – Wing, Gilbert, Lower Long, Island and Forest lakes. Brook said, “and we'll continue to pursue a 'no motor boat' ordinance via a second petition for all the lakes,” with the DNR.

It was confirmed at their Monday night meeting that the township’s appeal to the DNR has been received by the DNR director.


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