Shared from the 5/29/2019 Sandusky Register eEdition

Ohio Lakefront Group to host annual meeting Thursday

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Register file photo/WANDA CHANDLER

Historically high water floods the Jefferson Street Pier near the Port Clinton Yacht Club recently. A state of emergency was declared as high water and erosion threaten infrastructure across Ottawa County.

The group representing property owners along the Lake Erie shore will focus on high water levels and erosion when it hosts its annual meeting Thursday. The Ohio Lakefront Group’s annual meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Catawba Island Club, not far from Port Clinton. Officials from the Buffalo office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will discuss high water levels and steps property owners can take to protect their land from erosion. The meeting will also feature a discussion on water quality, including a presentation from Jim Stouffer, president of the Lake Erie Foundation. The group said that one official from the Army Corps will discuss historic high water levels in the lake while another will discuss shoreline protection and the agency’s simple process for obtaining a permit. “The Army Corps’ permitting process is far simpler than that required by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources,” said Tony Yankel, president of the Ohio Lakefront Group. “Although we have been talking about ODNR’s onerous permitting process, those talks have not yet yielded any change on the part of the state. We are experiencing historic high waters resulting in erosion and destruction of the existing structures along the shore,” Yankel said. “ODNR’s policies appear to turn a deaf ear to the loss of property and property values that is occurring along the entire lake shore. We are not at the peak of this year’s water levels, so things will only get worse.” Ohio’s Office of Coastal Management contends it has tried to address the permitting problem by issuing temporary permits to anyone in Ohio willing to fill out a short form, allowing property owners to take immediate action to address erosion. Yankel told the Register he believes that isn’t good enough. “The temporary permit is just that. You get the permit very quickly, but within two years you need to do all of the engineering that was originally required,” Yankel said. “There is no provision to accept what was built, so after going through all of the hassle and cost of the engineering within two years, there is no guarantee that you will not have to make changes after things have been built.”

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