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Crystal Lake and Watershed Association

 

Crystal Lake &
Watershed Association
P.O. Box 89, Beulah, MI 49617
Phone: (231) 882-4001
FAX: (231) 882-7810
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CLWA Activities:
Zoning and Land Use


Preserving our Watershed through Environmental Regulation and Enforcement.


Annual Reports Zoning and Land Use Committee
Concerns and Issues
Health & Environmental Regulations
Crystal Lake Watershed Overlay District
Crystal Lake Boating Access Site (MDNR)
SBDNL Benzie Corridor
M-22 Highway Improvement (MDOT)

See also: About the CLWA



Annual Reports Zoning and Land Use Committee

The Annual Reports for the Zoning and Land Use Committee and the entire CLWA are available here.


Concerns and Issues

There are many ways that we may look at the Crystal Lake Watershed -as a student, a visitor, an owner of watershed property (a "lakie," a "townie,", a "fudgie," etc.). All of us have slightly different perspectives, but we all share the benefits -the use and enjoyment of our Watershed for fishing, boating, swimming, recreation, working, and living. We also share the same concerns for maintaining a proper balance between reasonable environmental protection and sustainable development. Together, we are all stewards of the environment that makes up Crystal Lake and its surrounding Watershed.

Concerns and Issues
- Web page includes a broad range of concerns for all involved and/or affected by the Crystal Lake Watershed.




Health & Environmental Regulations

The former Clean Water Committee of Crystal Lake (ad hoc Committee, now merged in the CLWF) was instrumental in supporting the Benzie/Leelanau Health Department in developing a model ordinance to ensure that septic systems in proximity to Crystal Lake and other water bodies in Benzie County comply with the latest standards in design and performance.

Environmental Health Regulations (including regulation of onsite treatment systems)

In 1989, Benzie County became one of the first counties in the U.S. to adopt a precedent-setting ordinance to require upgrading of onsite wastewater treatment systems comprised of septic tanks with drain fields, or holding tanks subject to periodic collection and disposal. Upgrading is now required prior to sale of any properties. Priority of enforcement was placed on upgrading those failed or poorly operating systems located near water bodies. To date, several hundred individual systems, in the Crystal Lake Watershed and elsewhere in Benzie County, have been upgraded. Environmental Health Regulations (PDF document, 2.9 mB. See here for details.)

"The purpose of this sanitary code and its regulations is to protect the public health, safety and welfare, including preventing the spread of disease, sources of contamination of property, surface waters and ground waters, the public health and the environment; this purpose included the implementation for carrying out of duties and functions vested in the Health Department by law, further, but not by way of limitation, this purpose includes the regulation of sewage and sewage disposal, water supplies, sanitation of habitable buildings, dwellings and property for protecting surface and ground water, drinking water and the environment from improper or malfunctioning sewage disposal facilities, systems and devices and from sewage or related liquids and wastes; finally, the purpose includes preventing or minimizing degradation of the environment as it relates to public health."

Alternative Treatment Units (ATUs)

Alternative Treatments Units (ATU's) using "innovative" or "advanced" treatment technologies are required to provide a higher degree of treatment to protect the water quality of lakes and groundwater. This provides a solution to the problem of holding tanks without outlets that must be pumped periodically and the contents properly disposed of in an approved treatment facility. Benzie and Leelanau Counties have adopted new standards allowing septic systems to be constructed on properties having soils that do not "perc", i.e. allow partially treated wastewater to percolate through the soil for further treatment. An advisory group formed to support the Benzie/Leelanau District Health Department in implementing these new regulations, is comprised of Walter Nielson and Dave Schmidtke, of Leelanau Co., and Stacy Daniels, of Benzie Co.

Alternative Treatment Systems (PDF document, 646 kB. See here for details.)

"This regulation applies to residential building sites requiring onsite sewage treatment and disposal for compliance under the Benzie County Environmental Health Regulations. The provisions of Section 2.459 Alternative Treatment Systems shall apply in the event that a site does not meet the minimum requirements of Section 2,458 Permit Denial."

A regional group, the Northwest Michigan Onsite Wastewater Task Force, a consortium of government, health, planning and wastewater officials, environmental groups, engineers and concerned individuals, was recently formed to document current wastewater practices; to become a central point of contact for the dissemination and promotion of information on the practical application of emerging, innovative, and current technologies.

Further details are available in a three-part publication:
Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (All are PDF documents see here for details.)


Onsite Wastewater Treatment Demonstration Project

The Benzie/Leelanau District Health Department was the recipient of a grant funded in May, 1995, by the U.S. EPA under the National Onsite Demonstration Project (NODP) and managed by the National Small Flows Clearinghouse at West Virginia University. The overall project focused on demonstration of technologies in a range of communities in various regions of the United States where environmental and site constraints favored the use of alternative and decentralized wastewater technologies. Water quality considerations included: close proximity to lakes; shallow water table; highly permeable, sandy soils; small lot sizes. The main concern was to provide pathogen and phosphorus removal.

In Benzie Co., seven systems were installed by the BLDHD, including iron oxide phosphorus removal horizontal barrier, recirculating sand filter followed by an upflow oxide-rich phosphorus removal filter, packed-bed filter, intermittent sand filter, open-cell foam biofilter, low-pressure shallow trenches, and low-pressure contour trenches. Systems have performed according to expectations with the upflow P-removal filter showing much promise. Regular system monitoring ceased in 1998 but local performance evaluation continues.

More details are available from pages 10-11 of this document:
www.nesc.wvu.edu/nsfc/pdf/sf/SFf99.pdf (PDF document see here for details.)




Crystal Lake Watershed Overlay District (Sustainable Development)

The Crystal Lake Watershed Overlay District (CLWOD) is a geographical area subject to special zoning regulations transcending typical political boundaries. Created to protect and manage the valuable natural resources of the Crystal Lake Watershed, it contains certain provisions for planning and zoning.

Crystal Lake Watershed Overlay District - Article XXIV of Benzie County Zoning Ordinance. (PDF document, 646 kB. See here for details.)

"The purpose of this Article is to protect the environmental quality of Crystal Lake, the Crystal Lake shoreline, and the Crystal Lake Watershed through appropriate land use and design regulations. The protection of the Crystal Lake Watershed is deemed a public purpose in order to preserve important environmental, historical, residential, recreational, cultural, scenic, and economic attributes of the region."

"More specifically, the purpose of this Article is to protect the public heath, safety, and welfare; to prevent and control water pollution; to protect fish spawning grounds, aquatic life, bird, and other wildlife habitat; to protect buildings and lands from accelerated erosion; to protect wetlands; to control building sites, placement of structures, and land uses; to conserve shore cover; to conserve natural beauty and open space; and to anticipate and respond to the impacts of development in shoreland areas."

The Article contains certain provisions for planning and zoning that are more restrictive than conventional county-wide zoning. It is enforced in association with other ordinances governing land use, road building, residential and commercial construction, onsite wastewater treatment systems, and vegetative buffer.

"The purpose of the design requirements of this section (24.6) are to slow the rate of stormwater runoff, to reduce erosion and sedimentation, to protect water quality, to keep nutrients from entering lakes and streams, to maintain water temperatures at natural levels, to preserve fish and wildlife habitat, and to preserve aesthetic and scenic values of the watershed environment."

All new development, including additions or extensions to existing buildings, shall meet design requirements for: setbacks, vegetative buffer, development on steep slopes, development on ridge lines, private roads, general design standards, and construction guidelines.

The Crystal Lake Watershed Overlay District is described in Crystal Whitecaps Vol. 3, No. 1 (Fall/Winter 2006)

Several issues also have been described in past issues of Crystal Shorelines (CLWF):

Update 13.5 (Spring 2001) - PDF document, 20 kB
Update 15 (December 2002) - PDF document, 42 kB

Note
:
See here for details on working with PDF documents.




New Crystal Lake Boating Access Site (MDNR)

New MDNR Crystal Lake Boating Access Site - This page includes Settlement Letter; Launch Area Alternative Design; Revised Parking Area Site Plan; Previous Status Reports; Issues, Concerns, Proposed Alternative, Precedents, Alternative Stormwater and Wastewater Treatment Comments with Map, Permit Application & Permit Granted, additional observations and viewpoints, etc.




SBDNL Benzie Corridor

Background: The Benzie Corridor was proposed in the original legislation creating the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 1970 to be an 8-mile "parkway" from M-22 to US-31 along the high ridge between the Crystal Lake and Platte River Watersheds. It would affect the viewsheds of both lakes and encompass ~ 1,200 Acres, or about 7% of the total land area of the Crystal Lake Watershed. Further acquisition of lands in the Corridor by SBDNL allows for some coordinated "protection" of land use. This is contrasted with potential piecemeal development of private properties already subject to the zoning regulations of the Crystal Lake Watershed Overlay District (CLWOD). The Benzie Corridor is considered within four alternatives of the General Management Plan / Wilderness Study / Environmental Impact Statement (GMP/WS/EIS) currently under development by the NPS: (1) continued purchase of lands; (2) cease acquisition of lands; (3) continued purchase for development of a scenic road; or (4) continued purchased with development of a hike/bike trail. Other issues associated with the GMP are how to balance wilderness protection with vehicle access. To settle any debate over possible closures of existing roads, the SBDNL has worked closely with the county road commissions and is proposing that all county roads remain open.

Left unaffected by the 1982 relegislation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Public Law 97-361) was the proposed six and a half-mile scenic road corridor through the Crystal Highlands in Benzie County. A feasibility study established that there would be no serious environmental side effects from the road, (other than impacting the viewshed of Crystal Lake), but that it would be very costly ($18.7 million), and based on current park visitation rates the road was not necessary.


Click on image for a much larger view

Click on image for a much larger view


M-22 Highway Improvement (MDOT)

Roadway improvements are being planned by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for the 2005 construction season on M-22 from South Shore Drive to Crystal Drive (at Herdsman Bay). These improvements involve no basic widening of the road and are desirable from the standpoint of safety. They may require, however, certain changes in the drainage pattern by additions of ditches and underdrains, and the selective removal of encroaching trees and other vegetation. Informational sessions will continue to be held.

Notice letter from MDOT on M-22 improvements (PDF document, 109 kB. See here for details.)


HOME

About the Watershed

Watershed FAQ

Concerns & Issues


Management Plan
s

MDNR Boat Launch
About the CLWA

Water Quality

Education & Communications

Zoning & Land Use

Financial Development
Calendar

Membership Form

Newsletters

References

Watershedware
Selected Web Links

Photographs

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(at this site)