Lake Erie Ruling

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Nightprowler, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. Nightprowler

    Nightprowler Crappie Hunter

    Ruling makes state property all wet.

    According to a recent 77-page ruling from Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge Eugene Lucci, you can forget about ever walking along the shore of Lake Erie without having your feet in the water at all times. Otherwise you will be trespassing, unless you are at a state park or other publicly owned property.

    Lucci ruled that state property ends and private property begins where the water meets the land. His decision comes from a 2004 lawsuit by property owners to define the boundaries. Up to this ruling, the state had always owned any property up to the high water mark. With lake levels dropping in recent years, that could mean large amounts of land.

    As Larry Mitchell of the League of Ohio Sportsmen pointed out, "His decision is disappointing and without precedent in Ohio. It manages to hold against both the plaintiffs and the defendants. It says that the boundary for upland property adjoining the lake is neither the high water mark — the state's position — nor the low water mark — the upland owners' position. Instead, according to the ruling, the boundary is wherever the water meets the land, changing day by day and minute by minute.

    "And," he added, "There is something wrong when the people of Ohio can't walk along the edge of the lake."

    In other words, as long as your feet are wet, you can walk on the property. But a property owner cannot build a structure or fence on his property if the water occasionally goes past that area. A strong north wind certainly will change the boundary and quickly put the structure illegally on state property.

    One of the strange aspects of this case is Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has come out in favor of the upland property owners. That means he is going against this state's rights. It would also seem to be opposed to past policies by ODNR.
  2. I wonder if the land owners will have to pay additional propery taxes on their bonus land in dry rears and get a reductin in wet years? If the boundry is ever changing shouldn't the taxes?

  3. Wonder how this affects those dumping rock etc. near their shoreline to prevent erosion.

    There are houses in Huron that would fall into the lake if land owners did not protect them with some type of sheet piling or dikes.

    Will the Corps Of Engineers stop granting dock construction ?

    How about along rivers and near the mouth of rivers ? No more construction ?

    Bad decision I think.
  4. Along a navigable river you can operate your boat. OK with that.

    But you cannot walk along the shoreline OR set foot on the bottom of the river because the land under the river is owned by the private property owner.

    Along the lake now you can wade on what was private property ?

    I remember long ago someone telling me that Lake Erie is really a river.

    So let's consider the shoreline fisherman. What to do ? ?
  5. This is actually a big decision, which I'm certain is headed to the court of appeals. Judge Lucci released the decision on December 11th. You can find the decision at the following link:

    The name of the case is: State ex rel. Robert Merrill v. State of Ohio, Department of Natural Resources

    or here:'%20MFSJ%20and%20denying%20Defendants'%20MFSJ.pdf
  6. I would imagine it would be appealed... Doesn't make much sense... but that's never stopped folks in the past...
  7. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    Doesn't their plot maps show footages on them as do other people? I think thats a BIG crock, the shore line is the shoreline. It's not a private lake where the land under it is owned by the landowner. I believe if I do some research here, that judge has just made an unconstitutional ruling, thus violating her oath of office...whoops, I don't want to get into that.
  8. It's absolutely amazing to me that in 2007 there is not already some "legally accepted" definition of where private property ends and public or state property begins.

    Never really thought about this issue before. Is Lake Erie a lake......or is it part of a river .....that would include the entire St. Lawrence Seaway?

    No idea what is right or wrong. This will be an interesting one to follow.
  9. Leave it to a retard to mess things up even more than they are now.
  10. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    I would think that due to: "unless you are at a state park or other publicly owned property." The landowners property line goes to the distance on the plot map and that the shore line is other publicly owned property of the state. (taxpayers)
    This is screwed up!

    1901.023 Extension of jurisdiction for municipal courts on south shore of Lake Erie.

    In addition to the territorial jurisdiction conferred by section 1901.02 of the Revised Code, the municipal courts of Ashtabula, Avon Lake, Cleveland, Conneaut, Euclid, Huron, Lakewood, Lorain, Mentor, Oregon, Ottawa county, Painesville, Rocky River, Sandusky, Toledo, Vermilion, and Willoughby have jurisdiction within their respective counties northerly beyond the south shore of Lake Erie to the international boundary line between the United States and Canada, between the easterly and westerly boundary lines of the adjacent municipal or county courts. The municipal courts that are given jurisdiction in Lake Erie by this section have concurrent jurisdiction in Lake Erie with any adjacent county or municipal courts that borders on Lake Erie.

    Effective Date: 02-04-1994
  11. DarbyMan

    DarbyMan Seize the day

    This ruling stinks of politics and morons.

    Sad part is, in Michigan a judge upheld the rights of the public. Said everyone should be able to walk on the beach. This was mentioned in the Dispatch on Sunday.

    I don't live on Erie, but I visit it every year. And I will walk along the beach regardless of this ruling. Hopefully common sense will prevail in the end.
  12. My opinion is that the ruling is 100% correct. If you lived on Lake Erie or owned waterfront property there, would you want people walking thru it, fishing the shorline, jumpshooting ducks? I know I wouldn't and I doubt many others would, either. If Lake Erie was considered a river then you would be allowed to "navigate" it by boat but you couldn't legally walk the shore or wade. My opinion of the ruling is that it is very fair.


  13. Completely agree with Tim here. If you BOUGHT property on the lake - and paid a big premium to live on the lake, why should you have to deal with people using / crossing your property. This wouldn't be much different if you owned property that joined up to a state park on land or a public hunting area. People don't have the right to use / cross YOUR land to access the public property of the park / hunting area if we are talking about LAND, so why would someone think they should be able to do this on Lakefront property. Just common sense to me. Imagine you spent your hardearned money on a lakefront property and head down to the beach area and there a a bunch of people having a picnic on the beach in front of your house, or a campfire at night. Just doesn't make any sense.

  14. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    You can walk the beach from Fla to Maine. The rich condo owners have had problems for years with trying to block off "their" beach, they don't own the beach. I don't see anything different here.
  15. In arriving at the decision, the court felt it necessary to distinguish tidal vs. non-tidal water when characterizing private and public ownership rights on Lake Erie. That distinction may be the difference between property ownership on inland lakes and the ocean.

    On another note, I like that the government did not take property (for the most part) from the private landowners. (I say "for the most part" because I believe some of the plaintiffs had been deeded property with a metes and bounds description which actually went beyond the waterline.)

    From a sportsman's point of view, I like the fact that I can fish all the way to the waters edge (where ever it may be). And, that the Court stressed that the private propery owner can do nothing to substantially impair navigation, FISHING, and recreation.

    I think it was a tough decision for the judge... guess thats why they get paid the "big bucks".
  16. It would be cool to be able to walk the entire shoreline but I would have to agree with Freebyrd Steve and Toolman. There are public beaches you can go to. I think it is a fair ruling.
  17. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    Ya, I believe your right but if a person had to come to shore for an emergency, they should be exempt from the trespass. Still they have to have a boundary on the plot map, distance? how is that worded?
  18. K gonefishin

    K gonefishin Bit by Musky bug

    If you truly have an emergency and had to come to shore I would think the ruling would be the last thing on your mind, I'm sure the homeowner would understand as well, so would any authorities involved.
  19. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    I know, but the courts do what they want to do anymore. There seems to be no, or little compassion because it's all over money. I know I would come to shore with no problem!
  20. Actually, Ohio allows a defense of "necessity" which would seem to apply in such a situation.