Controversy erupts over bridge built on Lobdell Lake

By  | 

ARGENTINE TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (7/9/2019) - Controversy is bubbling up on Lobdell Lake in Genesee County after a homeowner built a bridge to connect the mainland to his island.

Neighbors say crews installed the whole bridge Monday. The bridge goes over water, some wetlands and blocks off a pathway to the lake.

"I just couldn't believe it," neighbor Colleen Billington said.

People are shocked about a bridge that now connects Turtle Island to Whitehead Drive in Argentine Township.

"They closed this off and this is a waterway you're supposed to get through," Dennis Wolverton said.

There appears to be a drawbridge to allow boaters to pass by, but that could push people right into some wetlands.

"I believe so. I haven't really seen it up yet," Billington said

One boater passing by already had some trouble getting through.

"This is narrow in here too. So, you have to get back around to get back out for one thing," Wolverton said.

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy official Christopher Clampitt said the homeowner on the island didn't get a permit to install the bridge. He came right away to see if this is legal.

"What the purpose of the structure is and our respective opinions of whether or not state permits are required," Clampitt said.

Brett DeGayner owns the home on the island. He offers the place as a private paradise on a vacation rental website.

But his solution to ease access to the island could cost him thousands of dollars a day.

"The statute does allow for a fine up to $10,000 a day, but that will be decided by attorneys and judges," Clampitt said.

He said the issue could take time to get resolved.

Steve Billington said while that's going on, this bridge could cost his view outside his home.

"The boats coming through actually would keep the weeds cleared out. But now they are going to stop the flow of that. You can see in the lake this could cause lily pads growing all the way across," he said.

DeGayner was by the bridge speaking with state investigators Tuesday, but declined to comment for this story.