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Lawmakers Introduce Major Improvements to Critical Dunes Act

Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-Olive Township) and Representative Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo) have introduced legislation, Senate Bill 1130 and House Bill 5647 respectively, aimed at applying a less subjective approach to critical dune regulation. REALTORS®, builders, and property owners living and working within the critical dunes can attest to the fact that the application of the Critical Dunes Act has been inconsistent and frustrating for many years.
The changes proposed by Senator Meekhof and Representative Bumstead, supported by both the MAR and the Michigan Association of Home Builders, are the product of lengthy negotiation and agreement with the Department of Environmental Quality. Heretofore, the private property within the critical dunes area has been subject to significant red tape, inconsistent treatment, and often outright prohibition in terms of development and the exercise of private property rights. Efforts as simple as permitting driveway access to an owner’s property have been stifled due to a lack of clarity on how the law should be applied.
Protecting the dunes is in the best interest of property owners as it is one of Michigan’s most unique natural resources, adding both aesthetic and marketing value. However, a property owner and the Department of Environment Quality should have a common understanding on the balance between preservation and property rights. These bills restore that balance and add clarity to the permitting process.
Senate Bill 1130 has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee chaired by State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba). House Bill 5647 has been referred to the House Natural Resources, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee chaired by State Representative Frank Foster (R-Petoskey). Copies of the bills (which are identical) may be found by clicking on the links below.


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