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It’s residents vs. AG over property rights

Friday, July 16, 2010

It’s residents vs. AG over property rights

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischkorn@News-Herald.com

Lakeshore property owners are squaring off against Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.

At issue is whether the state Attorney General’s Office has legal standing in bringing suit regarding public access to shoreline property along Lake Erie.

That includes property many owners say is theirs and thus is private.

The Ohio Supreme Court is being asked to render a decision on the matter.

This follows a decision by the 11th District Court of Appeals which said the attorney general has no standing in the matter.

That ruling pleased the Ohio Lakefront Property Group, but disappointed Cordray.

The state claims the public has the right to access shoreline property up to the high-water mark.

That position does not sit well with the Lakefront group, which claims the matter starts and stops at the water line.

“This case is not about public access or public rights to the waters of Lake Erie, all of which are secure and none of which are under attack,” Ohio Lakefront Group President Tony Yankel said.

“This case is about private property, and the unjust effort by the state to strip it away from thousands of Ohioans without compensation.”

Yankel charges that Cordray says he is attempting to protect the important resource of Lake Erie for the good of all.

“However, opening all of this privately held land along Lake Erie to uncontrolled public use — which means bonfires, litter and increased crime — will only harm Lake Erie, not protect it. The individuals who choose to live along Lake Erie have the strongest interest in protecting it, not bureaucrats in Columbus,” Yankel said.

Cordray’s brief before the Ohio Supreme Court discusses the legal authority and the traditional duty of the attorney general to defend the state of Ohio when it is sued, which dates back to the 19th century, Cordray says.

“The brief recognizes that private landowners have special rights that should not be unduly restricted by the state, but indicates that those rights should be balanced with the public’s overlapping rights in the territory of Lake Erie,” Cordray said.

Also filing amicus briefs were former Ohio Attorneys General Betty Montgomery, Jim Petro and Nancy Rogers. The former attorneys general outline in their briefs their agreement concerning the current attorney general’s authority and duty to represent the state of Ohio when it is sued.

Additional briefs were filed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the National Wildlife Federation and Ohio Environmental Council.

Additional amicus briefs were filed by the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania as well as by a coalition that includes several former directors of the ODNR and several conservation and sportsmen’s groups.

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Michigan Aids Cordray in Ohio Supreme Court Dispute Over Private Property Rights Along Lake Erie Shore

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MICHIGAN AIDS CORDRAY IN OHIO SUPREME COURT DISPUTE OVER PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS ALONG LAKE ERIE SHORE

Michigan and Pennsylvania have come to the aid of Attorney General Richard Cordray is his bid to overturn an appeals court ruling that said landowners along the 262 miles of Lake Erie shore hold title to property all the way to the water’s edge, a changing boundary.

Attorneys general in the two bordering states filed friend of the court briefs at the Ohio Supreme Court in support of Mr. Cordray’s position that private ownership extends to the lake’s ordinary high water mark, making the dry land to the water’s edge available for public use.

Michigan and Pennsylvania said that if the decision from the 11th District Court of Appeals were allowed to stand, it would place Ohio law at odds with that of the other Great Lakes states.

“While each of the Great Lakes states has a different way of describing the respective property interests of lakefront property owners and the public in the shoreline of the Great Lakes, each of the states recognizes the principle that the public has rights in the bottomlands of the Great Lakes below the ordinary high water mark,” they said.

The Supreme Court voted 5-2 in March to accept the case for review at the request of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Mr. Cordray, and two environmental groups.

Justices Paul Pfeifer and Terrence O’Donnell dissented from the decision to hear the case, effectively voting to let the appellate court decision stand. » Continue reading “Michigan Aids Cordray in Ohio Supreme Court Dispute Over Private Property Rights Along Lake Erie Shore”

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Lakefront group slams ODNR in high court case

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lakefront group slams ODNR in high court case

By RICHARD PAYERCHIN
rpayerchin@MorningJournal.com

COLUMBUS — An Ohio Lakefront Group slammed the state’s latest arguments in a shoreline property dispute that is pending at the Ohio Supreme Court.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is arguing Lake Erie and its shoreline should be open for the people of Ohio, according to a brief filed by Attorney General Richard Cordray.

However, the 7,000-member Ohio Lakefront Group said the case is about private property not public access.

“This case in Ohio is not about public access or public rights to the waters of Lake Erie, all of which are secure and none of which are under attack,” OLG President Tony Yankel said. “This case is about private property, and the unjust effort by the state to strip it away from thousands of Ohioans without compensation.” » Continue reading “Lakefront group slams ODNR in high court case”

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Ohio law spells out lakefront property owners’ rights

Cleveland Plain Dealer Letter to the Editor Published Monday, July 12, 2010

In a recent Plain Dealer article, environmental activists tried to connect a U.S. Supreme Court decision about property rights along Florida’s coast to an ongoing Ohio legal battle. They argued the court’s decision affects the property rights of Ohioans who own land along the Lake Erie shoreline.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that state law is paramount in matters of private property rights. The governing law and circumstances surrounding each case are different. » Continue reading “Ohio law spells out lakefront property owners’ rights”

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