Would the Proposed Dredging of the Grand River Require Acquisition of Property Rights from Adjacent Owners?
Monday, April 8, 2019 at 4:12PM
Clark Hill

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.

Article originally appeared on Clark Hill Property Owner Condemnation Services (http://michigancondemnationblog.com/).
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