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Hundreds expected for Lakeshore erosion forum in Holland

Posted at 4:40 AM, Feb 27, 2020

HOLLAND, Mich. — Hundreds of people expected to attend a meeting Thursday about how to handle erosion along the Lakeshore. The meeting will be at the Holland Civic Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Organizers say they hope their educational panel will give residents some relief that they can take steps to protect their homes.

"We have a panel that is capable of answering questions such as, Should I move my home back? Should I establish a seawall? Why does it take so long to get permitting in order to put in protection?'" said panel organizer Jack Bouman, president of the Southwest Region of Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt.

"There’s two things that we kind of set as a stage for this," Bouman said, "and one is to establish what it is: the historic water conditions and levels and what effect that has on Lake Michigan and the waterways up to this point. Then, what are the predictions to water level is moving forward?"

Homeowners along Lake Michigan have been dealing with the effects of water erosion for the last several months. According to the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, water levels in Michigan are the highest since 1986.

Strong waves and heavy precipitation are causing erosion of properties that threaten houses and other buildings along the shorelines.

Just last week, the Michigan Senate passed a bill that would allow homeowners along shorelines to protect their property from erosion without first obtaining a permit when water levels become dangerously high. It still has to get approval by the House before it's passed.

That is why this group of experts is coming together today to offer some guidance and information to impacted residents.

There are a total of nine people on tonight's panel, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, a member of the EGLE, members of emergency management, along with State Representative Bradley Slagh.

We're told there are already 575 people signed up for today's event which is open to the public.