Gun Lake Protective Association
The following Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are divided into four
categories as they pertain to Gun Lake:
1.Boating and Usage
2.Dock Regulations (including ‘funneling’ or ‘keyholing’)
3.Frontage and Bottomland (Riparian usage)
4.Marinas (including slips and expansion) Answers are supported by specific reference to state and/or local law or ordinance to lend weight and differentiate from ‘opinion’. Responses: red Barry County Sheriff Marine Division green DNR officer Gun Lake Area blue Yankee Springs Township Trustee
Laws and Ordinances
Answers are supported by specific reference to state and/or local law or ordinance to lend weight and differentiate from ‘opinion’. Responses:
Red Barry County Sheriff Marine Division
Green DNR officer Gun Lake Area
Blue Yankee Springs Township Trustee
Boating and usage laws as they pertain to Gun Lake:
Is there a speed limit?
324.80146(2) unless posted otherwise all inland lakes/waterways in the state of Michigan have a maximum speed limit of 55mp
Yankee Springs General Ordinance 147: Channel between Gun Lake and Robbins Bay – slow no wake.
DNR regulations mandate a slow no wake speed on all channels and canals of Gun Lake and entrance area to Robbins Bay east of island R281.708.8 WC-08-95-001 WC-08-99-002 R281.708.1
Is there a noise limit?
90 dB stationary and 75dB form shore, it is a difficult test to perform.
Is there a size of boat or motor limit?
Not that I am aware of.
How close can a cruising power boat come to my dock, lift, or swim plat-form?
100ft unless at a slow no wake speed./ 324.80149(1)
Can someone anchor their boat or pontoon out in front of my property and swim or party?
Yes, but it needs to be within reason. But, they cannot impede the use of the property. This would most like be handled case by case and the property owner should call if there is problems.
How far away do they have to be? See above
How many boats are allowed to anchor together to ‘hang out’ in any open part of the lake or off the islands?
Yes, They will need to be anchored in 4ft of water or deeper. This is my understanding from the Prosecutor’s Office with dealing with trespassing on Party Island in the past.
Outside of recreation trespass issues related to “party island” I am not aware of any state laws that prohibit people from anchoring together and socializing. To my knowledge there are no restrictions.
Is there an ‘open container’ law for beer or alcohol in a boat like in a car?
No, however, the operator of the vessel cannot be under the influence. 324.80176
What if a driver is seen consuming alcohol from an open container while navigating even if navigating safely?
I hesitate to say this but a boat operator can consume alcohol while driving a boat. They cannot be intoxicated while operating. It is always best to have a designated driver.
The operator of the vessel cannot be under the influence. 324.80176
Is there a littering law that pertains to throwing things like cans or bottles and such off a boat into the lake?
Yes, but we have tried to prosecute many times over the years and it does not usually get authorized.
MCL 324.8902(1): Shall not litter in state waters MCL 324.9502(1): Shall not place, deposit, throw litter into waters of state
How close can a fisherman come to my dock or shoreline?
There is no restriction for this as long as they are operating at a slow no wake speed. 324.80149(1)
Is a fisherman allowed to cast next to or under my dock or lift? Yes
Where can I find the fishing regulations on size, limit, and seasons? www.michigan.gov/dnr, as well as free fishing guides that are available at any DNR license sale facility (DNR Plainwell Office, BSGA HQ, Walmart, Bob’s Gun and Tackle, Meijer, etc)
Are the carp fisherman with the big bright spotlights that shine in my win-dows at night cruising my shore legal? Is there a curfew or any regulation?
They have to comply with marine law.
Yes, they are legal. They are only required to abide by all marine and fishing laws/regulations. There is no curfew for fishing, including bow fishing. The only restriction would be if a fisherman accessed the lake through a closed public launch.
Is there any regulations pertaining to snowmobile and studded tire motorcy-cle usage of Gun Lake?
On the Ice? Not that I am aware of. The DNR may know more on this.
As long as they legally access the ice, no. Snowmobiles must be registered and have snowmobile trail sticker. An ORV must have ORV registration sticker.
Dock regulations, laws, and ordinances as they pertain to Gun Lake:
What does ‘Riparian Rights’ mean? Do I ‘own’ my waterfront? http://www.olcplc.com/public/riparian_basics
How long can my dock be?
MCL 324.30102(1)(b): Person shall not place structure on bottomlands w/o a permit (Permit application/review required for permanent dock placement, (Permit acquired through EGLE) MCL 324.30103(1)(b): Exceptions: A seasonal structure placed on bottom-land to facilitate private noncommercial recreational use of the water if it does not unreasonably interfere with the use of the water by others entitled to use the water or interfere with water flow. (Seasonal struc-tures, docks, and mooring structures can be placed w/o a permit if not un-reasonably interfering with use of water by others)
How wide or deep can my dock be? MCL 324.30103(1)(b): “not unreasonably interfere…”
How many docks or what configuration regulations are there? MCL 324.30103(1)(b): “not unreasonably interfere…” How far out can my swimming platform be and what size can it be? MCL 324.30103(1)(b): “not unreasonably interfere…”
Are there any lighting /requirements/regulations for dock, swim platform, boat lifts that stick out in the lake? (like lifts way out off Elmwood Beach Duffey’s Pt.)
As long as the items are reasonably placed and not impeding boat traffic there are no laws requiring them to have lights. MCL 324.30103(1)(b):
How many craft can be docked on a single property? Does it change based on amount of frontage I have? No state regulations over how many watercraft on a single property only on the docks/mooring structures if not classified as a marina. MCL 324.30103(1)(b) MCL 324.30101(j): “Marina” means a facility that is owned or operated by a person, extends into or over an inland lake or stream, and offers service to the public or members of the marina for docking, loading, or other servicing of recreational watercraft. MCL 324.30106a Construction, expansion, or reconfiguration of marina; issuance of permit; conditions; definitions.
How many boats or craft can an individual landowner have on the lake?
No state regulations over how many watercraft on a single property - only on the docks/mooring structures if not classified as a marina. MCL 324.30103(1)(b) MCL 324.30101(j): “Marina” means a facility that is owned or operated by a person, extends into or over an inland lake or stream, and offers service to the public or members of the marina for docking, loading, or other servicing of recreational watercraft.
What is considered a ‘craft’? Obviously a pontoon, speedboat, motor powered fishing boat. But do jet skis count? Small sailboat? Rowboat? Kayak? Can my brother-in-law keep his boat docked at my house all summer? For a week?
Yes the brother in law can park their boat/vessel/personal watercraft/etc. at their in-laws house. Again if someone is running a marina then they need to be properly licensed. 324.30101(j) "Vessel" means every description of watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water. Personal watercraft is a jet-ski/ wave runner.
I rent my cottage during the summer, can my renters dock their boat(s) at my dock? Can friends of my renter dock their boats at my dock?
The renters or renter’s friend would have access to the dock under the seasonal structures statute MCL 324.30103(1)(b) A seasonal structure placed on bottomland to facilitate private noncommercial recreational use of the water if it does not unreasonably interfere with the use of the water by others entitled to use the water or interfere with water flow. MCL 324.30106a
Can my neighbor across the street who doesn’t have lake access keep his boat at my dock for free? For pay?
MCL 324.30101(j): “Marina” means a facility that is owned or operated by a person, extends into or over an inland lake or stream, and offers service to
the public or members of the marina for docking, loading, or other servicing of recreational watercraft. MCL 324.30102(1)(c) Shall not Construct, reconfigure, or expand a marina without a permit. MCL 324.30106a Can I rent space on my dock to anyone?
Can I rent space on my dock to anyone?
No, that would constitute as being a marina, because you are receiving money, and therefore would require being licensed as one through EGLE. If you comply with permitting requirements for a marina. MCL 324.30101(j): “Marina” means a facility that is owned or operated by a person, extends into or over an inland lake or stream, and offers service to the public or members of the marina for docking, loading, or other servicing of recreational watercraft MCL 324.30102(1)(b): Shall not w/o a permit construct, reconfigure, or expand a marina. (Permit acquired through EGLE) MCL 324.30106a
What does ‘funneling’ actually mean by definition and what are the current ordinances/laws relating to it?
I am not aware of a legal definition of “funneling”. A google search indicated that it is allowing a large number of people to access the lake through a small private access. As for state law I am not aware of any laws/regulations for this and believe this is a civil issue.
I am not aware of a legal definition of “Funneling”. The process for deter-mining if property owners not on the water have riparian rights is a civil process. After a civil suit is filed a judge would determine if the people in question have riparian rights and what those riparian rights allow the person in question to do or not do on the riparian zone in question
Yankee Springs Zoning Ordinance: ARTICLE XVIII - RIPARIAN LOT USE REGULATIONS – 100ft of frontage required per dwelling. http://www.olcplc.com/public/riparian_keyholing
Can I defeat dock regulation by mooring craft instead? How far out can I moor? How many craft can I moor? How spaced must they be?
For private use it is legal to moor a boat on your property/riparian lands and is not impeding boating traffic. If running a marina, please contact EGLE. A permit may still be required depending on if anchoring structure is season-al or permanent. MCL 324.30103(1)(b) MCL 324.30106a
Who is in charge of enforcing dock regulation? Who do I call with a com-plaint? If a seasonal dock/swim platform is unreasonably placed, then any law enforcement officer can require the dock/swim platform to be moved, 324.30103(1)(b). You may contact the RAP line at 1800-292-7800. As for “dock regulations” related to a marina/permanent docks the complainant can contact EGLE. Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Kelsey Krupp (Environmental Quality Analyst) EGLE Grand Rapids District Office, Water Resource Division State Office Building 5th Floor, 350 Ottawa Ave. NW, Unit 10, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. (616) 401-1201 email@example.com Complaints can be entered online at https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us/ miwaters/external/home
Are dock regulations the same on Gun Lake no matter what township I live in?
Unless there is a local ordinance, per state law, yes. A dock may be reason-ably placed as long as it does not interfere with boating traffic. 324.30103(1)(b).
How close can my neighbor’s dock be to my projected property line out into the water?
Your neighbor’s dock must remain on bottomlands under your neighbor’s riparian rights. This is not a projected line into the water from your shoreline. A licensed surveyor would need to be hired to conduct a riparian interest area estimate survey to determine what riparian interest you or your neighbor have. It is then a civil process (not criminal) where one party sues the other for encroachment into their riparian interest area and a judge deter-mines the outcome. Refer to EGLE Water Resource Division for clarification on case by case basis. A permitted structure cannot interfere with neighboring riparian access or navigation.
Can boats docked at his dock or lift be across my projected property line?
The judge would determine outcome of civil suit.
By ordinance or law, is there such a thing as grandfathered arrangements? In other words, can any of the above situations break ordinance, law, or cur-rent regulation and be acceptable or unenforceable simply because they’ve done it for a certain period of time even if years?
Actions requiring a permit by EGLE for construction/placement if left unattested for the statute of limitations (7 years) cannot be criminally charged. All other state laws would still apply (Can’t unreasonably interfere with others use) Check with EGLE WRD staff for clarification on timeframe for civil enforcement actions.
This topic is actually about Nonconforming Uses. There are legal and illegal nonconforming uses. A legal nonconforming use is considered grandfather-ing. A legal nonconforming use is when a property was used for a use prior to new zoning not allowing the use. Simply by using a property for a certain time doesn’t make it legal, the use had to be in place prior to zoning. When a property owner claims an activity has been done for 10 years so it should be grandfathered, they are really saying they have been breaking the law for ten years. Yankee Springs Zoning Ordinance - Article 16 states: Lawful nonconforming uses in existence on the effective date of this ordinance shall be allowed to continue under the following conditions:
1. The nonconforming use shall not be expanded, added to or altered unless such expansion, alteration or addition is in conformity with the provisions of this ordinance.
2. If a nonconforming use is changed to a permitted use, in the zoning district in which it is located, it shall not revert or be changed back to a nonconforming use.
3. If a nonconforming use is terminated for a continuous period of twelve (12) months or more the use shall not be reestablished and all future use of the land shall be in conformity with the provisions of this ordinance. Barry County Section 402 NONCONFORMING USES OF LAND Where, at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this ordinance lawful use of land exists that is made no longer permissible under the terms of this ordinance as enacted or amended, such use may be continued, so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
A. No such nonconforming use shall be enlarged or increased, nor extended to occupy a greater area of land than was occupied at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Chapter.
B. No such nonconforming use shall be moved in whole or in part to any other portion of the lot or parcel occupied by such use at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this ordinance, unless doing so shall make said use less nonconforming with the terms hereof.
C. If such nonconforming use of land ceases for any reason for a period of more than twelve (12) months, any subsequent use of such land shall conform to the regulations specified by this Chapter for the district in which such land is located.
Frontage: Bottom land
My frontage is mucky. Can I dump and spread sand into my frontage? No, any modification to bottom lands has to be permitted by Environmental Great Lake Enforcement Unit (EGLE). MCL 324.30102(1)(a): (1) Except as provided in this part, a person without a permit from the department shall not do any of the following:(a) Dredge or fill bottomland. (Dumping of sand would be considered filling a bottomland and require a permit from EGLE)
My frontage is weedy. Can I use chemicals to kill the weeds
Can I use mechanical swinging devices to keep weeds out and disperse muck?
Please refer to https://www.michigan.gov/egle/ 0,9429,7-135-3313_3681_3710---,00.html for clarification on when chemical treatments are allowed. (Look under FAQs (pdf document) MCL 324.3303(1)(a) (1) Subject to subsections (2), (4), and (5), a person shall not chemically treat either of the following for purposes of aquatic nuisance control unless the person has obtained from the department an individual permit or a certificate of coverage under this part: (a) Any waters of the state, if water is visibly present or contained in the area of impact at the time of chemical treatment. (use of chemicals would most likely require a permit from EGLE) MCL 324.30103(1)(o) & (p) (o) Removal, by the riparian owner or a person authorized by the riparian owner, of plants that are an aquatic nuisance as defined in section 3301, if the removal is accomplished by hand-pulling without us-ing a powered or mechanized tool and all plant fragments are removed from the water and properly disposed of on land above the ordinary high-water mark as defined in section 30101. (p) Raking of lake bottomlands by the riparian owner or a person authorized by the riparian owner. To minimize effects on the lake bottom-lands, the areas raked shall be un-vegetated before raking and predominantly composed of sand or pebbles, and the raking shall be per-formed without using a powered or mechanized tool. For the purposes of this subdivision, the pulling of a non-powered, non-mechanized tool with a boat is not the use of a powered or mechanized tool. (Must cut vegetation above the bottomlands. Cannot disturb the bottomlands (muck)).
Can I put down mats to kill and keep weeds down?
MCL 324.30102(1)(b) (1) Except as provided in this part, a person without a permit from the department shall not do any of the following: (b) Construct, enlarge, extend, remove, or place a structure on bottomland. (Placing a mat on the bottomlands would be considered a structure and re-quire a permit from EGLE, a mat would not fall under the definition of seasonal structure)
Can I put permanent piers in the water?
MCL 324.30102(1)(b) (1) Except as provided in this part, a person without a permit from the department shall not do any of the following: (b) Construct, enlarge, extend, remove, or place a structure on bottomland. (Placing a permanent pier would be considered a structure and would require a permit from EGLE)
What are the rules about bubblers? Refer to EGLE WRD staff for clarification.
Marinas: What is the legal definition of a marina on Gun Lake?
MCL 324.30101(j) "Marina" means a facility that is owned or operated by a person, extends into or over an inland lake or stream, and offers service to the public or members of the marina for docking, loading, or other servicing of recreational watercraft. Please also read https://www.michigan.gov/egle/ 0,9429,7-135-3313_3681_3711-17921--,00.html for clarification on EGLE’s interpretation of what classifies as a marina.
Yankee Springs Zoning Ordinance - Article 2 & Barry County Zoning Ordinance - Section 214 Marina: A commercial facility, including three (3) or more waterfront boat slips, which provides for the servicing, storing, fueling, berthing, and/ or securing of boats and that may include eating, sleeping, and retail facilities intended primarily for the owners, crews, and guests of boat owners using the marina, provided there are three (3) or more waterfront slips under a single control.
How many marina licenses are there on Gun Lake either active or grandfathered?
Any marinas permitted and/or marinas who have applied for a permit are available for public viewing at any time on the MiWaters website provided by EGLE. https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us/nsite/map/help This website allows for viewing of all documents associated with each individual permit.
Who/Where are they? How many slips is each granted? See 28, All information is available for public viewing at any time on MiWa-ters.
Gun Lake Rentals (the old Leaders Marine next to the Allegan Park) 10 slips Roughy's Resort 8 slips Shady Shores 165 slips Bayview Condos 19 slips Boardwalk Condos (the old Baughman marina) 26 slips Circle Inn trailer park 40 slips Mattesons 18 slips The Landing Marina next to Lakeside pizza 20 slips Ross' Resort/England Point 64 slips *Whispering Pines Condos 21 slips Citgo Station (southside) 10 slips *Gun Lake Rentals (now Leanne Neal's house on Marsh Rd) 6 slips 12 marinas total: 397 slips *= marinas that don't generally rent to the pub-lic What is the correct process by which a marina may be expanded (docks and slips)? Is it the same no matter the township?
Contact EGLE Water Resource Division out of the Grand Rapids District Office for explanation for marina permit application/amendment process through MiWaters. A marina expansion or reconfiguration requires a permit under Part 301, it does not matter what township the project is located in.
I have heard that a permit from the DEQ (EGLE) is needed and if you receive one – you get to expand. Not true, you need to satisfy all Fed, State & Local laws including County and Township.
Yankee Springs adopted an ordinance that is the same as the existing Barry County ordinance:
Yankee Springs Zoning Ordinance – Article 4.5,L & Barry County Zoning Ordinance - Section 2347 Both
1. Marinas: Prior to approval, by the Planning Commission, of a special exception use permit for a marina within the township, the planning commission shall make certain the following regulations and conditions are strictly complied with.(Only YST not BC)
2. Definition. A commercial facility, including three (3) or more water-front boat slips, which provides for the servicing, storing, fueling, berthing, and/or securing of boats and that may include eating, sleeping, and retail facilities intended primarily for the owners, crews, and guests of boat owners using the marina, provided there are three (3) or more waterfront slips under a single control.
3. Regulations and Conditions.
a. Such facilities shall maintain, at all times, all required state and local licenses and permits.
b. Marinas shall be located only on parcels contiguous to, and with direct access to, navigable water.
c. Marinas shall not interfere with riparian interests or the integrity and quality of the water body.
d. Vehicular ingress and egress to the marina shall be within the riparian owner's interest area, or written authorization shall be secured from an adjacent property owner granting such access.
e. A Marina shall be similar in scale and character to adjacent structures and activities in the vicinity.
f. The increased use of the water body associated with the marina shall not create congestion, reduce safety, or aggravate existing congestion and safety problems currently recognized. Marinas shall not constitute any navigational hazards, as determined by the Planning Commission.
g. All Marinas shall provide watercraft sanitary holding tank pump out services, per Section 5 of Act 167 of 1970.
h. Onshore storage of boats and/or trailers may only be incorporated in a Marina special use approval where the Planning Commission is satisfied that such storage will be effectively screened from view from adjoining properties and rights-of-way. i. A recreation carrying capacity analysis shall be required for the body of water where the marina is proposed. The analysis shall be conducted by a firm, organization, or group approved by the Yankee Springs Township Planning Commission, and shall include the following information:
i. Estimated number of motorized boats that would utilize the proposed marina.
ii. Number of motor boats greater than twenty-five (25) horsepower that would utilize the proposed marina,
iii.The lake use rate as determined by an aerial flyover done on both a Saturday and a Sunday, with at least fourteen (14) days between the two (2) flyovers, done during the months of June, July, or August, and with the outside ground temperature above seventy (70) degrees and the weather not raining or overcast. One (1) of these flyovers shall be conducted between 10:00 a.m. and Noon, the other flyover shall be conducted between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Color photos shall be used to illustrate the survey of both flyovers.
v. Plant biomass.
vi.Usable lake area.
vii.Boat density per lake acreage.
viii.Topographic map of the lake.
ix.Total shoreline length.
x. Unimproved shoreline footage for each parcel owner with ten (10) acres or more of land on the lake.
j. Such recreation carrying capacity shall demonstrate to the satis-faction of the Planning Commission that the proposed marina with the number of motorized boats proposed shall not exceed the carrying capacity of the lake.
k. All signs shall be in compliance with the provisions of Article 17 of this Ordinance. All signs shall be in compliance with the provisions of Article 25 of this Ordinance.
l. All off-street parking shall be in compliance with Section 12.10 of this Ordinance. All off-street parking shall be in compliance with Section 521 of this Ordinance.
m.Landscaping shall be provided in accordance with Section 5.10.1.c.(3) of this Ordinance.
n. Landscaping shall be provided in accordance with Section 521 of this Ordinance.
o. Any failure on the part of the operator to maintain proper licensing shall be grounds for the revocation of a Special Use permit for a Marina.
p. All exterior lighting shall be in accordance with Section 523 hereof.
q. Any dumpsters on site shall be enclosed on four (4) sides with an opaque fence equipped with a lockable gate and shall not be visible from any lot line.
r. A Marina that includes eating and drinking facilities shall also comply with the requirements of Section 2328 hereof.
s. A Detailed Site Plan pursuant to Section 5.7, shall be required.
t. A Detailed Site Plan pursuant to Section 2328, shall be required.
u. Approved Marina SEU to be issued for a specific number of boats, only approved slips will be used for the securing of boats, no additional boats to be moored at the property.