The Walled Lake City Council unanimously voted Tuesday, Jan. 18 to adopt a pair of ordinances related to boat dock use and marine safety rules.
The council amended Chapter 51 of the city’s zoning and planning ordinance. The dock zoning ordinance amendment pertains to docks, mooring and shared dock use in single-family zoning districts with waterfront lots.
Some of the significant changes include eliminating special land use approval requirements for docks and boat launches in single-family districts, and expanding permitted uses in these districts by allowing limited non-commercial shared dock use by no more than two families.
The issue came on the heels of several residents exchanging dock space for money.
“Several lots were renting out dock spaces … for commercial purposes,” said Councilman Casey Ambrose.
Prior to the second reading of the ordinance, the council had voted to redline the provision that a second person who shares a dock requires deeded riparian rights.
Councilman John Owsinek said this restriction was lifted because dock owners should have the right to determine with whom they want to share a dock.
Sharing must be non-commercial, free of charge with no renting or exchange of valuable consideration. Any approved shared use expires at the end of the season or Oct. 31 of each year.
The change also impacts side yard setbacks for docks depending on the width of the lot.
For shared dock usage, a property owner must have a minimum of 40 feet of water frontage on their property.
The second ordinance amendment addresses the marine and water safety code. Individuals who want dock ownership must register with the city. The change moves registration requirements and decal display requirements from the dock ordinance to the water marine and safety code.
“This way, boats must register and have a sticker that indicates to the code enforcement officer whose boat (belongs there) and whose doesn’t belong there,” Ambrose said.
Registration and decal display pertains to all watercraft moored or docked at a city waterfront for three or more consecutive days. It does not apply to short-term docking by guests or visitors.
The council will establish a one-time registration fee via resolution at a later date.
“Both ordinance amendments give the code enforcement officer a means of governing them,” Ambrose said.
The ordinance changes will be effective Feb. 16, 21 days after publication as pursuant to City Charter.