2017 Ohio Lakefront Group Annual Meeting Report

The 2017 Ohio Lakefront Group Annual meeting was held on Thursday May 25 at the Emerald Events Center in Avon. Approximately 120 people were in attendance.

OLG Chairman Greg Baeppler opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.

He gave a brief review of OLG, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization incorporated in 1999 for Lake Erie shoreline owners. OLG is a grassroots volunteer organization with no paid board members. At present there are over 7000 members and 14,000 to 15,000 parcels along lake Erie in Ohio.

Our purpose has been and is to prevent governmental entities from taking shoreline property from deeded owners. We protect the use of Lake Erie and the environment.

OLG is not anti-environment. Our primary purpose is to have our deeds honored by the State,

Chairman Baeppler then presented the slate of candidates for this year’s Board of Directors. He asked for additional nominations from the floor (3 times according to Robert’s Rules of Order). Hearing none he asked for a motion to elect the slate of nominees by acclamation. Motion was made by Kent Kemmerer and Seconded by Mike Prout. Motion passed unanimously by voice vote.

Greg then turned the meeting over to Treasurer, Rick Rennell who presented the treasurer’s  report. The report is in the attached presentation. Mike Prout made a motion to accept the report and seconded by Bob Bunsey. The motion was approved unanimously by voice vote.

Rick then reviewed a change in the annual dues structure. General Membership dues are $50 with no additional request for lawsuit support. Gold Members (who have given $1000 or more since inception) dues are $25.

The meeting was then turned over to OLG President Tony Yankel. He gave a short history of the lawsuit, which was filed 13 years ago. We won in all courts including Federal Court, trial Court (2 times), Appeals Court (2 times) and the Ohio Supreme Court (2 times).

Tony stated that we have won the battle but not the war. The Courts established that the State does not own to the Ordinary High Water Mark, which the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has given up, but it is using its own definition of the Natural Shoreline using its own aerial photographs. ODNR has still not stopped billing for submerged lands leases for deeded property, even though it returned the money collected from 1998.

He reviewed where the $6.1 million won in the settlement was distributed, as well as the actual cost of the lawsuit. In the future OLG will continue to fight against inappropriate bureaucratic treatment, getting ODNR to recognize the property deeds as stipulated by the Court, and get all governmental entities to abide to the spirit of Judge Lucci’s decision. President Yankel’s full presentation of the current situation versus what the Court’s stipulated in the final settlement can be viewed as a PowerPoint file by clicking the following Link: 2017 May 25 Annual Meeting

Tony then introduced Ken Tatter from the Ohio Shoreline Preservation group. Ken explained that his efforts grew out of the OLG lawsuit with goals similar to OLG. His initial efforts will be the education of local governments regarding the Court’s decision and to develop visibility in our local communities. The group will cooperate with and attend events regarding Lake Erie. The Ohio Shoreline Preservation group is a nonprofit 501 (C) (3) organization that can receive tax-deductible contributions. He hopes to receive funding by the end of the year.

Tony then introduced Rick Graham of the Lake Erie Foundation. This organization is focusing on green/blue algae in Lake Erie. Their purpose is to bring more attention and action to reducing and eliminating toxic algae from Lake Erie, such as contaminated Toledo’s water supply. The group is currently planning two studies to take place this year to identify pollutant sources and then to take action to have those sources removed.

In closing Tony remarked that we won, won big, but ODNR is still misbehaving and that our vigilance is needed to align their actions with the Court decisions.

After Q and A with the speakers, the meeting was adjourned.

Some pictures from the meeting.