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Judge denies stay of order to remove docks and other items from Lake Chemung “greenbelt”

A Livingston County judge has denied a motion to stay his decision regarding shared park land on Lake Chemung in Genoa Township.

Certain residents in the Glen Echo subdivision were ordered in March by Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty to remove docks, boats, fire pits, kayaks and any other semi-permanent items from the established common area that fronts the southeast portion of the lake.

The issue began when a resident, Matthew Ikle, sought a legal order in 2018 to prevent other residents who had legal access to use the lake but do not live directly adjacent to the lake, otherwise referred to as backlot owners, from obstructing his view. Judge Hatty’s ruling in favor of Ikle stated that those owners whose property abuts the lake, referred to as front lot owners, had the sole riparian rights to maintain semi-permanent structures like docks while other residents had access for “walking, sunbathing, picnicking, barbecues, and reasonable pit fires.”

The so-called backlot owners objected, saying that the ruling upended more than a century of practice and artificially created two classes of ownership where none existed before and that they pay the exact same taxes and assessments as the front lot owners.

They filed a motion to stay Judge Hatty’s decision while they sought an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals. However, Judge Hatty denied that in court Thursday, saying that the legal merits of the decision were strong and he saw no reason to issue a stay.

The group of residents seeking the stay say they will still file their appeal next week.

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