South Haven homeowners losing land to rising waters

Southwest Michigan

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s no secret Lake Michigan water levels are high. The lake is so high; however, several South Haven homeowners are losing their land to the lake. 

When Terry Caveney moved to South Haven nine years ago, things at her lakefront home looked a little different than they do now.

“That was all a huge beach,” she said, pointing to water below.

She bought her house for its view of Lake Michigan, but the water has become an enemy.

Now, Caveney and other neighbors like her, are hopeful South Haven will approve plans to rebuild the bluff and beach below. Part of the work will include installing features that are designed to mitigate future damage.

South Haven’s Harbor Commission called a special meeting for Dec. 3 to discuss the work. That commission will make a recommendation to the city’s planning commission, which meets Dec. 6. 

If the work is approved, work can begin Dec. 7, said South Haven Assistant City Manager Kate Hosier.

“But you can see the more it creeps up we have a lot to lose here, and it’s possible, it’s possible it could take this … whole bluff out,” Caveney told 24 Hour News 8.

She doesn’t want to move away from what she describes as her dream home.

“Property value is certainly an issue at this point,” Caveney said. “If we did try to sell, this would be a real mess. We would lose a lot of money.”

Homeowners, not the city, would pay for all the work. 

“It’s very expensive,” said Caveney. “I’m hopeful that (South Haven) will understand the magnitude of the land that we’ve lost and everything that’s going on.”

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