Clark Hill PLC is an entrepreneurial full-service law firm serving clients in all areas of  real estate, business legal services, litigation, and personal legal services. For more information on Clark Hill's practice areas, professionals, and office locations, please visit clarkhill.com








Stephon B. Bagne

Member, Clark Hill PLC

Phone: (313) 965-8897

Fax: (313) 309-6897

Email: sbagne@clarkhill.com


Stephon B. Bagne’s expertise in representing property owners in condemnation cases is widely recognized. Stephon has represented all types of property owners in a variety of situations including vacant and improved property, partial and total takings, easement and fee acquisitions, involving commercial and residential properties. He has won jury trials in courts throughout the State of Michigan and successfully defended those verdicts before the Michigan Court of Appeals. Stephon has prevailed in challenges of the necessity of takings and negotiated less onerous acquisitions in partial taking matters. He regularly speaks and writes about eminent domain and other real estate law issues for a variety of professional organizations. For a more complete bio, please click here.





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Would the Proposed Dredging of the Grand River Require Acquisition of Property Rights from Adjacent Owners?

This post is about questions rather than answers, but a proposed dredging project has me wondering about the property rights of adjacent owners.

A proposal has been touted seeking to dredge 23 miles of the Grand River, from Eastmanville Township to Grand Rapids, to allow powerboats to travel from Grand Rapids to Lake Michigan. The Grand River travels through Ottawa County, including Spring Lake, Tallmadge, Allendale, and Georgetown Townships as well as through Wyoming.

This MLive article discusses the various pros and cons of the project, including the added ability to use the river as a link to Lake Michigan, the potential of stirring contamination at the bottom of the river, and the noise impacts on quieter activities around the river.

When I read the article, I wondered about the rights of adjacent property owners. The legal descriptions and title to many riverfront properties include the bottom land of the river. Could a project that involves making physical alterations to that bottom land require the consent of the property owners who may hold fee title in it? If that consent were not provided, could it be condemned? And how would compensation be measured?

As noted, this post is more about questions than answers, since the substance of the issue would need to be evaluated. But if I represented a property owner along the Grand River in the impacted area, I would want to know whether their title includes the bottom land and seek an explanation about how work could be undertaken to permanently alter their property without my consent and appropriate just compensation.

Please feel free to contact me about these issues.

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