Founded in 1962, by philanthropist landowner William Erby Smith, the Lake Michigan Shore Association was created to protect, preserve and enhance the aesthetic qualities of the area and the property values of our lakeshore community.
Over its 60 year history, the Association has made notable contributions to the area through the use of strategic lobbying, informative communication, governmental interaction, door-to-door canvassing, and other practical efforts by the Association’s Officers, Directors, and members.
Some of the successes achieved have been:
- Protected the tree-lined ambiance of Lakeshore Drive when Allegan County and state regulations required clear-cutting and re-grading the 66-foot right-of-way to meet highway standards.
- Lobbied the county to maintain “Lakeshore Drive” when they wanted to rename it “70th Street.”
- Supported the local concern to withhold zoning approval of proposed intensive-use turkey farms next to the lakeshore area.
- Fought to withhold zoning changes, specific approval uses and variances sought to construct a travel plaza at Exit 34 of I-196 that would have included a large refueling facility, restaurant, convenience store and car wash on M-89.
- Provided a voice for protecting watershed and private well water, regularly interacting with the county health department and state.
- Worked to improve zoning language and local efforts to restrict inappropriate and/or oversized development, resulting in new planned unit development (PUD) and anti-funneling regulations.
- Reduced excessive clear-cutting of utility right-of-ways.
- Presented insights into how to preserve family cottages and provided contact information for professional assistance.
- Monitored wind energy initiatives and their potential impact on Lake Michigan and surrounding municipalities.
- Supported passage of HB 4753, which would keep the taxable value of residences transferred to first-level relatives (parents, spouses, siblings or children) from popping up to the then current market value.
- Supported the International Joint Commission technical report on the St. Clair River with regard to lakes Michigan/Huron water levels.
- Contested a county plan that would have put about 30 RV campsites, a general store, expanded parking and restrooms on the 7-acre West Side County Park, all without staffing or policing. The county’s new park master plan, created with local impact, may be seen on the association’s website, www.LMSA.us.
- Worked with Ganges Township and the county to improve parking, sanitation and safety at Pier Cove Beach.
- Investigated the proposed Walker Drain District and proliferation of algae in local waterways.
- Remained advised regarding state fireworks laws and identified the need for some limitations or restrictions.
- Developed a list of guidelines for protecting our shoreline community and its ecosystems directed at visitors who may not be aware of the fragile nature of our natural environment and our casual society. These Guidelines were shared with local inns, realtors, and rental property owners.
- Recognized a threat to our beach environment from the phragmites invasive plant species and enlisted government agencies to aid our organization in developing a plan to combat its aggression.