Protect Lake Charlevoix Shoreland A dining and event facility proposed for a corporate resort A commercial building Excavation of shoreland is prohibited
Protect Lake Charlevoix Shoreland
Stop the Law "boathouse"/dining and event facility, boat basin and channel
A dining and event facility proposed for a corporate resort
Over the waters of Lake Charlevoix
A commercial building
is prohibited in a residential zone
Excavation of shoreland is prohibited

A corporate resort plan threatens Lake Charlevoix’s shoreland

Hayes Township’s zoning ordinance protects Lake Charlevoix by requiring a 50-foot “shoreland protection strip.”

But Scott and Debra Law are ignoring that mandate. They want to excavate the shoreland at their residential property at 10034 Anglers Cove to construct an artificial boat basin, channel, and a two-story, 60′ x 90′ “boathouse.” The huge building would be a dining and event facility intended for large events for their company employees (Zotec Partners). It is commercial in design and intended use. This is not allowable in a quiet residentially-zoned area. Hayes Township’s Zoning Administrator has stated he will grant them permission despite the obvious violation. In August 2022, the Hayes Township Zoning Board of Appeals made a decision that the Zoning Ordinance protects the Shoreland Protection Strip and prohibits its excavation. In October 2022, the Laws sued the Township over that decision. 

The Laws’ project violates the Hayes Township Zoning Ordinance in these ways and more:


* Commercial building not allowed in residential zone.

* “All of the land” of the Shoreland Protection Strip, 50 feet landward from the Ordinary High Water Mark of the lake is protected and must be in place to filter contaminants from reaching the lake. The Hayes Township Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-1 on August 22, 2022 that the ordinance (Section 3.14 subsections 2-4 and 8) prohibits excavation of the Shoreland Protection Strip for a boat basin or channel.

*Boathouses specifically not allowed since 1979.

* Excavating into the shoreland to a depth of 570′ (IGLD 1985) is by definition below the Ordinary High Water Mark, and converts uplands into bottomlands. According to the federal and state governments, and the Laws’ own application for permits, the proposed building would be placed below and straddling the OHWM, violating the ordinance that requires a 100 foot setback for buildings. The majority of the building would be over the waters of Lake Charlevoix after expanding the lake into an artificial basin. However, the Hayes Township Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-1 on August 29, 2022 that the OHWM would not move into an artificial boat basin and channel, defying logic, reality, and the expertise of both US Army Corps and State of Michigan who both say, it would. 

* Only 20% of vegetation is allowed to be removed from the 50 foot- Shoreland Protection Strip, not the land itself. This is repeated throughout the ordinance by requiring that if trees are removed, ‘root systems shall remain in place for shoreline stabilization” and requiring repair of the shoreland if docks or stored boats damage it.

The Laws' property on Lake Charlevoix

How We Stop the Project

Cases before the ZBA

Residents filed two cases in 2021 and one case in 2022 for the Zoning Board of Appeals to hear. The ZBA made decisions on the first two cases on August 15, 22 and 29, 2022. The Interpretation case about the boathouse was heard on October 3, 2022. See the results here, and watch the Litigation page for challenges to those decisions.


New lawsuit filed by resident to protect the shoreland challenges ZBA decision on Ordinary High Water Mark.

Several previous lawsuits were initiated by individuals. Some just to get Hayes Township to hold legal Zoning Board of Appeals public hearings. Another to stop the Laws from digging.

Stop Zoning Ordinance Changes

Hayes Township's Planning Commission is rewriting the entire zoning ordinance, gutting protections for the Shoreland. Here's how to stop them.

A natural shoreline nearby the Law property
Public trust waters

State permit was issued “in error”

The State of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) issued a permit for the Laws’ “boathouse”/basin/channel project in December 2020. But in early 2022, an EGLE district supervisor reviewed the file and determined the permit was issued “in error.” It was a “bad permit,” he said, that he would “not be able to defend” and EGLE should not be putting “structures over PT [public trust] waters.” He had deep concerns that the project would require dredging in Lake Charlevoix in perpetuity.

The Strength of an Ordinance to Protect the Lake: the story of how some residents are defending it, and others are gutting it.

See Protect Lake Charlevoix Shoreland’s presentation to the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association annual conference on May 5, 2023, detailing how Hayes Township Planning Commission is gutting the waterfront protections in the zoning ordinance. The changes would permit the Laws’ project and allow excavation of shoreland if a waterfront owner has permits from the state and federal governments.

Resident files lawsuit against Hayes Township challenging ZBA erroneous decision on Ordinary High Water Mark and Structure Setbacks. Go to "Litigation" menu.

A WIN at the ZBA! Hayes Township rules on Aug 22, the zoning ordinance prohibits excavation of the Shoreland Protection Strip for boat basins and channels. Go to "ZBA Cases" menu.
Scott and Debra Law drop their case against the Township, so the ZBA decision stands. For now!

Read the feature story in Northern Express, Dredging in Paradise: Controversy brews around a proposed waterfront property on Lake Charlevoix (click on photo)

Protect Lake Charlevoix Shoreland

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