The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is proposing a new “minor project” category for docks on public land.
The minor project categories are for activities that are similar in nature, will only cause minimal adverse effects on the environment when performed separately, and will only have minimal cumulative effects on the environment, according to the DEQ.
Permit applications for these types of activities will be able to be processed in an accelerated manner without the issuance of an individual public notice or public hearing.
Minor project category permits are issued for a five-year period. The ones outlined in the current proposal, if approved, would expire on Aug. 11, 2017 if not revoked before then.
According to the DEQ’s Water Resources Division, by listing certain projects as minor projects, that serves as a public notice telling the public what the impact may be, depending on the category.
An individual applies for a certain category, and if the project meets all the listed requirements, it is approved. This allows for a quicker decision.
The proposal calls for considering as a minor project the installation of a single seasonal public dock at a public road end to facilitate launching and loading of boats as long as the project meets the following stipulations:
• The structure cannot be used for mooring or docking of a vessel between midnight and sunrise;
• The dock is authorized by the local unit of government;
• The structure will not unreasonably interfere with the navigability or boatability of the water involved or interfere with the riparian rights or use of the waters by others;
• The structure shall be a linear single pier with no perpendicular extensions;
• The structure shall not have roofs, elevated sides, platforms, or decks;
• The structure shall allow for the flowage of littoral materials and water;
• The structure shall be placed in the center of the property or at least 1.5 times the dock length from any property lines, unless it is not feasible based on site conditions;
• For Great Lakes and Section 10 waters under the federal Rivers and Harbors Act, the length or size of the proposed structure is not greater than the length or size of similar structures in the vicinity and on the body of water;
• For inland lakes and streams, the structure shall be of reasonable length to boatable water or at a length from the shoreline that is not greater than the length of similar structures in the vicinity and on the waterbody, whichever is the minimum necessary; and
• The structure shall not exceed a width of 4 feet unless the applicant demonstrates their need for construction of a wider dock.
The Michigan Lakes and Stream Associations urged its followers to speak out against the measure on its Facebook page. Calls to the association for comment were not returned prior to press time.