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Additional Distribution Checks for Damages- from President Tony Yankel

Dear Fellow Lakefront Property Owner:
The Ohio Lakefront Group has been working to ensure that all members of OLG class action lawsuit receive as much money as possible from the settlement.  There is a provision in the Settlement that calls for the Administrator to distribute unclaimed funds to Class Members that originally filed a claim.
There were unclaimed funds, so a second distribution is in order.  To qualify for the second distribution you had to have previously put in a claim for damages (not about leases), and you had to have cashed the check.  If the check you got was $100 or less, you will not be getting a second check.  In order to save administrative costs, the Court Stipulation provided that the Administrator did not have to send out check for $20.00 or less.
If you qualified for the second distribution, you should have received a check by now for approximately 20% of the first check you received.
The generous support of OLG by our Members has allowed us to advocate on your behalf for not only the first compensation check you received, but also for this second check as well.  As long as OLG is financially viable, we hope to keep fighting for your property rights and against inappropriate governmental behavior.
Tony Yankel
Ohio Lakefront Group President

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Latest in Private Property seizure by ODNR

This article is from the Columbus Dispatch:

State tells some Buckeye Lake residents to dismantle parts of homes

By Mary Beth Lane
The Columbus Dispatch

Posted Jan 31, 2018 at 8:02 PM Updated at 5:51 AM

Some Buckeye Lake waterfront homeowners say they were shocked to receive a letter from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources informing them that parts of their property encroach on state land and must be removed.

The letters, sent by certified mail last week, are arriving as the department works to finish its estimated $110 million dam project by the end of the year, about a year ahead of schedule.

The new dam will replace the nearly 200-year-old earthen dam, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found was at significant risk of failure.

But some residents who live along the 4.1-mile dam route said they are finding out only now that the project carries ramifications they didn’t foresee.

Stephen Schilling said he was left “very concerned and stunned” to receive a letter telling him surveyors for the state determined that “a portion” of his two-story house, including the awning as well as his concrete steps and fence, must be removed.

“I have lived here my whole life in that house,” said Schilling, who lives along the lake’s north bank. “I had it surveyed 40 years ago, and the sidewalk was the designated line.”

West bank resident Greg Brewer said he was “devastated” to receive a letter telling him that parts of his house, including some of his roof, his porch and its steps and a stamped concrete pad, were on state property and have to be removed.

 “I would have to tear off the front of my home. I’m probably looking at $150,000 to $200,000” in remodeling, said Brewer, who said he paid $650,000 for the house less than a year ago. “I’ve been sick over it.”

The letters told homeowners they have one year to remove structures encroaching on state land. Alternatively, the letters said, they may pay a one-time, $1,000 fee to lease the state property from the state for five years — but then they must remove the encroachment.

Plans call for the new dam top to be clad in a concrete cap and topped with both grass and a paved path. The path will provide access for dam-safety inspectors and recreation for walkers, joggers and bicyclists.

The design also includes removing the old sidewalk in front of the houses and replacing it with a new one about four feet from the state property line. The new sidewalk is under construction.

The department has sent 12 encroachment notification letters so far and anticipates sending more as officials continue to review property lines, spokesman Matt Eiselstein said. Most of the 12 are in the way of the new sidewalk, he said. 

“We just finished the final survey recently. We got those letters out as quickly as we could,” Eiselstein said.

Rumors are spreading through the area that hundreds of waterfront residents will be told their homes are encroaching on state land. Eiselstein said he didn’t want to guess how many more letters will go out, but he suggested it will not be nearly as many as rumored.

Brewer is among the waterfront homeowners who say they would happily accept an easement or even buy land from the state to have their own front yard.

That is not likely to happen, Eiselstein said.

“They are on state property,” he said. “They built onto a dam. We can’t grant easements or sell property, for dam-safety reasons. It’s important that dam-safety inspectors have access to the whole dam.”

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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.

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Checks have all been Distributed for all valid Claims – Update

Update: We have been advised that there are still checks being distributed. If you filed a claim that was initially denied, you may receive a check if you updated your information properly.
Original Report:
Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge Lucci approved the settlement reached between the Ohio Lakefront Group and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources upon the October 21, 2016 hearing. The Court appointed Administrator was then given approval to finalize claims approvals and begin to refund Lake Erie lakeshore property owners who filed claims and whose claims were approved. There are two classes of claims: those who paid submerged lands leases; and damages to all lakeshore property owners. Those with submerged lands leases were also eligible for separate damage claims.
Checks for $1,088,448.84 in lease refunds were recently mailed to property owners who submitted valid claims for submerged lands leases.
Checks for damages were sent on May 12. Approximately 1500 claims were filed for damages.

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