Ohio Department of Natural Resources Settles on Damages on Lake Erie Properties
Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources said the boundaries of privately owned on the Lake Erie Shore stopped at the water’s edge of the high-water mark of the lake. That was regardless of where deeds showed property lines to have been before erosion or water level changes. In 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against ODNR. But four more years have passed as another aspect of the case played out.
Tony Yankel is a leader of the Ohio Lakefront Group--that includes thousands of affected property owners. “The Supreme Court made an interpretation; but, what kind of damages have occurred? So that’s the phase we were in. And, we’ve come up with a settlement with respect to damages. There is no settlement with respect to ownership. That was already decided in 2012.”
The proposed settlement involves ODNR paying a little over $6-million in damages and legal fees. Eric Heis is an agency spokesman. “The State and ODNR deny any wrong-doing or liability. But, the parties have agreed to a settlement, because it eliminates risk of adverse outcomes at trial for either party. At the same time it also provides opportunity for payment to members of the settlement class. And, the resolution, and end of the lawsuit basically.”
Back to court
The settlement still must be approved in Erie County Common Pleas Court where the original suit was filed. A hearing on it is expected there in October.