Johnson's Island Road Commission


Please note these are PDF files (ranging between 4 and 7 MB). You can right-click and hit 'Save Target As' to save the PDFs to your hard drive for access later, or just click on a section, wait awhile, and the PDF will either pop up in its own window or display within your browser window.

2 3 4 Map of Johnson's Island

Depicted above is a topographical view of our island identifying the 26 or so natural drainage areas along the perimeter roads which are denoted by letters.  Each of these areas needs to be drained to the lake through either an existing or new drain.  When you click on a detailed section… Red highlights show existing drains.  Yellow highlights show locations identified where additional drains need to be added.  Green shows areas in right of ways or on association property we plan on draining from.  Both existing and our planned new drains need to be placed under our drainage agreement which is discussed in the following section.

The right to drain and addressing homeowner concerns about easements

The term easement causes most homeowners to cringe.  The concern about our property use and future entanglements is, very valid.  Easements can create set-back restrictions which could encumber future development regarding building, septic and water.   In order to address these concerns the Road Commission has done extensive research with Marblehead and Ottawa county regarding the implications of placing public drainage on our fellow islanders property.  The results of our research were very positive from our perspective and do not require easements!

Placement of Drains – Only in the 5 foot non-buildable portion along a homeowners property.  None of us can build anything, place septic or wells there.   We will place them as close to the property line as possible to eliminate “overhang concerns.”  In consulting Marblehead officials this method should have no impact regarding building permits in the future development of the property.   Our drainage agreement – described later, will be recorded but will not represent a physical easement which could encumber adjacent property through set-back restrictions.  We encourage any islander to confirm this by contacting the Marblehead Zoning inspector.

Type of Drains – In consultation with The Ottawa county board of health, use of perforated pipe can interfere with water and septic plans in certain circumstances by creating set-back restrictions.  Anyone with a current perforated drain who signs the drainage agreement in addition to the rights of relocation, will be placing the burden of replacing these perforated pipes on the RC if needed in the future.  Our intended use of non-perforated pipe in the 5 foot setback areas we each have on our property does not have any impact on these set-back restrictions and are considered “invisible” to planning of water or septic development.   We encourage homeowners to confirm this understanding with the Ottawa County board of health. (They are the permitting body for wells and septic).

Drainage Agreement – We have drafted a “drainage agreement” which is in the link below.  It’s intent is to serve the needs of the island by granting a permanent right to drain on a homeowners property.  It is balanced by our methods described above and by granting the homeowner a permanent right to have the drain moved to accommodate future changes to their property development.  This is not an easement which is an important consideration for each of us. 

Drainage Agreement

Summary of what this all means:

  1. No Easement is asked for or granted
  2. Drains are solid and placed on the non-buildable (5ft) edge of homeowners property as near the property line as possible
  3. Homeowners have a permanent and recorded right to have the RC pay for drain relocation if it interferes with their future development
  4. The RC has a permanent right to drain and can plan road drainage in reconstruction phases
  5. Building, Septic and water set-back requirements are not impacted by the placement of these drains

We will be approaching homeowners requesting drainage agreements to complete each intended construction phase.  It is our sincere hope that the above communication and use of “Drainage Agreements” vs. easements alleviates concerns and creates a spirit of cooperation and goodwill which will enable all islanders to benefit from our good efforts in road and drainage construction, without placing any undue burdens on homeowners involved in drainage solutions.

We have requested opinion from the Ottawa County Engineer regarding this issue whose response you can find here:

Ottawa County Engineer Letter

All images and content Copyright © 2012, Johnson's Island Road Commission