The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is telling lakefront owners on Lake Erie to sign a 50-year lease that requires payment for use of the shoreline, which in most cases, is deeded to the owners. They are also saying the beaches of Lake Erie are the government's and are public when owners clean, rake and pay taxes on it. Groups, such as The Ohio Lakefront, have sued ODNR and will battle it out in court.
ODNR says the land up to the water's ordinary high water mark is "shared use" when this mark wasn't established by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until after deeds were made. Why should property owners pay the ODNR for use of the land when it's the public's. And, why should owners pay taxes on the land when, according to the ODNR, it's not truly theirs? Questions also arise for lakeshore owners when things happen in this questionable zone. What will people be allowed to do on this land? Will the legislature enforce these laws, and how? Will they spend more money on hiring rangers to patrol the beaches? And what if someone gets hurt or is disruptive? Who would you call?
Should we be forced to give up the land that's deeded to us? Many beaches have been put aside for public use, so the public should use them instead of other people's property. The ODNR should not be allowed to make lakefront owners pay for the land they already own. Hopefully the courts will see the importance of deeds and make a righteous decision.