Family plans to demolish lakeshore home nearing bluff

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Homeowners along the lakeshore are racing against the calendar as fall approaches and beachfront properties continues to erode.

Last fall, homeowners along the lake say they lost some of the largest portions of land after storms made big waves and caused extensive erosion.

“This is the second time I’ve gone through this,” said Lisa Hinrichs-Hodgini whose parents live in a Grand Haven Township home nearing the edge of the bluff. “Rebuilding is the only option and just honestly whatever people are doing to the beach, in 35 years, it won’t matter. Lake Michigan has a mind of her own.”

Hinrichs-Hodgini says her family has been at the property since the 70s. She says she and her siblings grew up there.

“My dad drove back and forth to Steelcase everyday for 45 years for the pleasure of being able to live here,” said Hinrichs-Hodgini. “Just a special place to grow up. Not very many people get to say they grew up on Lake Michigan.”

Hinrichs-Hodgini says last October, the sand dune behind the home essentially collapsed and is now severely eroded. She estimates the dune now rests at about 70 degrees.

Erosion that brought a home in Grand Haven Township close to the edge of the bluff. (July 20, 2020)

Hinrichs-Hodgini says engineers have predicted the erosion will continue past the point of the home.

“The 35-year set back goes right through the middle of the house. The 100-year set back is at the back edge of the house,” she said as she pointed to a map.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Rising Waters

Hinrichs-Hodgini’s parents, who are elderly and currently live in the home, looked into adding a seawall, sandbags, rock wall revetments and moving the home back. None of the options were feasible.

After decades at the home, the family is now planning to demolish it in the coming months and rebuild further away from the shoreline. In the meantime, Hinrichs-Hodgini’s parents will move to a nearby home.

Ottawa County is watching a number of homes along the lakeshore that are inching closer to the lake’s shoreline.

Homeowners say they’re working as quickly as they can to prevent disaster. They say they hope legislators will be able to help them with relief funds soon.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links