HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Homeowners with property suffering from erosion begged the state for help at a meeting Wednesday night in Holland.
Dozens gathered at Holland City Hall to meet with state lawmakers and environmental leaders. The discussion centered around barriers they face in mitigating damage from erosion brought on by high water levels and recent storms.
Those in attendance complained that state regulations requiring permits have slowed their efforts to protect their property from erosion. Michigan regulations require homeowners get permits before installing seawalls or other barriers to prevent erosion. Even temporary measures require state approval.
Because of the high-water levels, the state has been inundated with requests, further slowing things down.
Residents say they don’t have time to wait and asked that the process be streamlined, and a hold be placed on enforcement surrounding the permit process.
“You don’t understand. I’m looking at my entire retirement falling into Lake Michigan,” Scott Hoffman said as he spoke at the meeting. “What we need is basically a moratorium on this critical dune law.”
State Sen. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville, and State Rep. Bradley Slagh, R-Zeeland, led the meeting along with officials from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, which oversees the state permit process.
A representative of Congressman Bill Huizenga’s office was also in attendance to hear concerns that rise to the federal level.
“My commitment is to continue to put pressure on EGLE and also work with EGLE to make sure we can expedite these permits and also see what temporary processes that we heard tonight that can start to be implemented,” Victory told News 8 after the meeting.
EGLE said it was working to expedite the permits process and provide avenues for residents to legally address immediate concerns with temporary measures such as the use of sand bags.
Still, some residents said they were concerned with the level of urgency, fearing that the changes needed might not come soon enough.