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Thread: Public access to shorelines

  1. #1

    Public access to shorelines

    Interested in any comments as they pertain to a local gov't requiring a developer to provide public access to a shoreline owned by the public as part of a platting process. More specifically, if a developer owns land adjoining a shoreline that is publically owned, he/she submitts a preliminary plat, is it out of line for a local govt to require as part of that process that the developer either dedicate an area for public access, or identify on the final plat the area as an "easement for future access purposes". With this said, it is understandable that this type of requirement may vary from state to state but was curious about folks perspectives concerning the the legality such practices.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    It is not unusual. We have, at times, required an easement for public access across the entire shoreline of a development, required land as park land dedication (1,042 square feet per d.u. in our case), and required dedication of public rights of way.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    It's law in Wisconsin - our state's constitution has a "public trust doctrine" which indicates in part that all navigiable waterways belong to the People of the state. Developers are required to dedicate at least 60' of frontage at intervals of no less than one half mile. The Statute is 236.16(3). Annotated statutes can be viewed by acessing www.wisconsin.gov

  4. #4
    One must start with principles in supreme court takings cases like Nollan. But I agree that many places generally can negotatiate or exact public access reservations. It is routine to get shoreline access in Washington by local governments because of its Shoreline Management Act, as a condition of issuing permits, but because that is a stated objective of the act. I'm sure other places exact public access rights in other states, too, despite the inherent legal risks.

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