Amendments to the Critical Dune Area Statute
On August 7, 2012, Governor Snyder signed SB 1130 which amends Part 353, Sand Dune Protection and Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (Part 353). The amendments took immediate effect. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Water Resources Division is working to develop guidance on how the new regulations will apply to proposed development within Critical Dune Areas (CDA).
The amendments require balancing preserving, restoring & enhancing the diversity, quality & functions of the CDA with the benefits of economic development and multiple human uses of the CDA and the benefits of public access to and enjoyment of the CDA. The permit review criteria include determining whether the proposed project is more likely than not to increase erosion or decrease the stability of the CDA and whether will be significant or unreasonable depletion or degradation of the diversity, quality or functions of the CDA. These assessments are done in the context of entirety of the CDA in the local unit of government (city, village or township) where the project site is located.
The link to the amended Part 353 is http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-451-1994-iii-1-land-habitats-353.
Following is a partial list of changes to Part 353:
1. Clarification on driveway and accessibility measures for access to structures in CDA.
2. Allowance for maintenance, repair, and replacement of existing utility lines, pipelines, or other utility facilities in a CDA.
3. Limits on who can request a public hearing and contest a DEQ permit decision.
4. Eliminated involvement of local Conservation Districts.
5. Local government may still administer Part 353, however the local ordinance cannot be more restrictive.
6. DEQ may appoint a team to review and update "atlas of Critical Dune Areas" and recommend changes to the Legislature.
Please note: A permit is still required from the DEQ for most construction, excavation, filling and vegetation removal project in a CDA. The DEQ will provide more information on all the changes to Part 353, as soon as they are developed. The DEQ is working on a checklist of information required for applications submitted for projects proposed in a CDA.
If you have questions regarding these changes, contact Mr. Jim Milne at 517-284-5559 or email@example.com.