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Encroachment Resolution Initiative - What Is It?

On May 1, 2012, the DNR will launch an Encroachment Resolution Initiative (ERI), aimed at resolving many of these encroachment cases without fear of penalties. By resolving these cases, DNR staff can re-focus their efforts and resources on properly managing the public's land and the state's natural resources.

The application period for the ERI will be May 1 to Dec. 31, 2012. During that time, an individual may make an application to the DNR to resolve their encroachment case on public land. There is no fee to file an application.

How Will the ERI Work?

The ERI is intended to offer individuals with structural or historic encroachments a limited time to legally resolve their encroachments on public land at a minimum cost and without fear of penalties.

Once an individual makes an application, their case will be reviewed by DNR staff. If the encroachment is historic, meaning it can be documented to be in existence prior to March 1, 1973, the DNR staff will file a "quit claim" deed to transfer the property to the individual after a new survey and boundaries are determined.

Individuals with a structural encroachment involving a permanent structure on public land erected after March 1, 1973 will be able to purchase the land in dispute once the property research is complete and proof has been established. To speed up the resolution process during the ERI, the DNR will waive application fees and streamline its land sale process for the individuals seeking a resolution to their encroachment.

Individuals with non-structural encroachments, such as fences, gardens or other non-permanent structures, should remove the item(s) from public land.

After the application period closes on Dec. 31, any existing or new cases of encroachment that were not brought forward will be dealt with through DNR enforcement procedures. The ERI is meant to be an incentive program for property owners encroaching on public land to provide a streamlined and legal process to resolve their trespass issue.

Individuals with questions on the ERI should contact Lori Burford, the DNR's encroachment specialist, at 989-275-5151, ext. 2100 or via email at burfordl@michigan.gov.

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