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Snyder vetoes private harbor bill

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday vetoed legislation that would have reduced permit fees for Great Lakes property owners to lease adjacent harbors for exclusive personal use, saying the legislation is “overly broad” and could slow the permit process.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, would have capped the maximum fee at $10 for a non-commercial lease of a private harbor. It would have required the state Department of Environmental Quality waive the fee if the property owner agreed to allow general public use as a harbor of last refuge during storms.

In a letter to the Legislature, Snyder said he supports “the efforts of this legislation to address what some considers excessive fees for single family residential harbors,” indicating he will direct the department to review its fee structure and recommend appropriate changes.

But the bill sent to his desk moved beyond that original intent, the governor wrote, and could “adversely impact” the DEQ’s “ability to process permits in the timely manner that we have come to expect.”

The veto is Snyder’s first since early 2015, when he rejected a series of bills that had been approved late in 2014 during the Legislature’s so-called lame-duck session.

“The bottomlands of the Great Lakes are held in trust for all Michiganders to enjoy,” the Republican governor wrote Monday. “Any change that allows for their private, exclusive use needs careful consideration.”

joosting@detroitnews.com