Residents in the Lake Evergreen area of Dayton Township went to the community’s board of trustees Monday for help in keeping unwanted visitors identified as “trespassers” off their properties.
Dayton Township Board approved a motion to contact the Tuscola County Road Commission via letter requesting “no parking” signage near Lake Evergreen, located at Murray Road south of M-46.
The signs would be intended to ward off trespassers on the property.
Supervisor Bob Cook said the request will go to the road commission that will get in contact with Michigan State Police. The MSP will research the issue and get back to the road commission but to get approved, two of those three government offices must OK the request, Cook added.
The signs that the township will purchase are $50 apiece.
Dayton Township would pay for them and at least eight would be needed.
Cook told The Advertiser there isn’t a specific time limit when the road commission would expedite the request but hopes it is soon. He estimated there are about 20 residents in the area.
The issue came forward to the board from Richard Peter, a member of the Lake Evergreen Homeowners Association, who told The Advertiser after the meeting this has been a problem for the past 20 years after he made the lake by putting in a dam near Lee Hill Road.
After the water came in it was divided and sold into parcels. Peter is a licensed real estate broker but also had a background in civil engineering and was a licensed contractor.
“A lot of people use it as a recreation area over the weekend — fishing, swimming and water skiing,” said Peter. “From our point of view we don’t like the trash we gotta pick up, a couple of fish lines around the lake, this concern about the exotic plants, we don’t know what kind of fish they’re bringing in, we don’t know what they’re using for bait.”
Peter told the board the other issues besides introducing invasive or exotic species to the lake is the liability of trespassers creating a nuisance.
Michigan Penal Code describes trespassing as entering “the lands or premises of another without lawful authority after having been forbidden to do so by the owner or occupant or the agent of the owner or occupant.” It also describes it as to remain without lawful authority or to enter or remain without lawful authority on fenced or posted farm property without consent.
This year Peter estimated there were 15 to 20 incidents of trespassing on the lake.
When a person would trespass, Peter said the group would call the Tuscola County Sheriff’s Office or MSP to stop the suspect, but on Saturdays the police are not as available to check on trespassers because the crime isn’t as urgent.
This was not the first time Peter addressed the board with this issue. Twenty years ago, he addressed the same issues but nothing came of it.
John Porath, another group member said his main concern is the congestion trespassing could cause.
“One of the things we’re also concerned about is there is no shoulder on these roads from the property owner to across from Murray Road and Lake Evergreen,” said Porath. “So you’re parkin on the road, if you’re coming off M-46 and you’re coming down that hill at any type of speed — we all drive country roads, we’re all from these areas — and they’re fishing and a kid walks out, you’ve got a recipe for disaster.”
Treasurer Eleanor Kilmer said the last time it was brought to the board the request involved policing the area. She said the board had no way of policing the location without personnel or resources, and dosn+’t have the time either.
Cook said if Peter or anyone in the group says a problem persists with trespassing to let him know.
“If there’s something that you feel you can’t get through whenever, I am not afraid to take a call to help our people out — I always have and I always will,” Cook said.
Debanina Seaton is a reporter with The Advertiser and can be reached at a email@example.com