Beach bummer for LaPorte Co. landowners
A walk on the beach might not seem too attractive today, but next summer you might appreciate a LaPorte Circuit Court judges ruling that the Lake Michigan shoreline is open to the public.
The ruling is in response to a civil suit filed by two property owners and the Long Beach Lakefront Homeowners Association. They claimed the town of Long Beach had illegally asserted ownership of private lakefront properties, which the homeowners believed extended to the waters edge.
Property owner Don Gunderson said in written arguments that people in large numbers gather just off the waters edge, taking away from the ambiance of owning and enjoying lakefront property.
Tough luck, according to Judge Thomas Alevizos. He cited court rulings dating to the late 1800s and as recently as the 1970s that designate the state as owner of the land between the ordinary high water mark and the waters edge. He also ruled the town did not take or steal anyones property, noting that the question of ownership was best left to the legislature or a court of appeals.
The judges ruling also reflects the policy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that its jurisdiction runs from the water to the ordinary high water mark.