Friday, September 16, 2011

ODNR Puts On Best Face After Losing State Supreme Court Case

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is trying to wear the best face after being placed on the losing end of a state Supreme Court decision.

On Wednesday the state’s seven Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled that private property owners hold deed and title to where their dry land meets Lake Erie.

Ohio and a cadre of environmental groups had fought all the way up to the State Supreme Court that the state owned land up to the high-water mark.

Such a position meant that private property owners could not restrict access to their beaches and were compelled to lease submerged land in order to construct things like erosion control devices, piers and boat slips.

Now, at least, these private property owners can post “No Trespassing” signs and keep people from wandering up and down the beach, sometime partying and sometimes littering.

“We welcome the court’s clarification and ruling in the case,” said Natural Resources Department spokeswoman Laura Jones. “We look forward to renewing our efforts to improve and streamline the permitting process as it relates to submerged lands.”

Jones said the agency does acknowledge private property rights and also desires to work cooperatively with the business community.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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