CADILLAC — This time of year it is not unusual for people to begin thinking about warmer weather and summer.

For some that means boating.

In Cadillac, that also has included the annual placing of docks along the shores of Lake Cadillac. The way dock space is obtained was the result of a settlement between the city of Cadillac and the Kenwood Plat Association. As a result, the North Boulevard Marina Association formed as an agent of the city, to oversee docking and to administer permits.

For residents who dock, a fee is paid, which reimburses the marina association for the costs related to marking the slips, obtaining liability insurance and paying for a marina permit. All of this was required by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

An individual wanting one of the dock spaces must take the information from the stake at the marked space and contact the North Boulevard Marina Association permit issuer within 24 hours to claim that space.

A check or money order for the permit fee, as well as proof of at least $500,000 of liability insurance, must be presented to a permit issuer within five business days to receive the permit. The user has until June 1 to place a dock at the reserved space. Structures in violation of this Article may be removed and impounded by the city at the owner’s expense.

Like many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered that plan.

Dan McKeown is a member of the marina association and he said the docking process, which annually occurs on the second Saturday of April has been postponed until the first Saturday in May. That means instead of docks being put out on April 11, they will not be placed until 10 a.m. on May 2.

McKeown said originally the marina association was planning on still going through with the process on April 11 but would take precautions including the use of social distancing measures. That remained the plan until Gov. Gretchen Whitmers executive order instructing Michiganders to stay at home.

He said if the state of Michigan is still under the current guidelines on May 2, the marina association will still lease out the dock spaces but they will use the list from 2019. Each person who had a space last season will be allowed to have that same spot for 2020. If there are spaces that go unclaimed then they will be available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to McKeown.

He also said if there are not any flags placed on the dock spaces by 6 p.m. on May 1 that signifies the marina association is utilizing the alternate plan.

"We are aware this is not the normal practice but these are extraordinary times," he said. "We want people to be able to use their boats and enjoy the lake. We also want them to stay safe from the virus that's causing all this worry and sickness."

Chapter 26, Article IV of the City Code of the City of Cadillac permits the placement of docks and boat hoists between Seneca Place and Kenwood Park on certain public lands, but not including road ends. The name and address of the owner or owners of any dock, boat hoist or related apparatus on public property must be permanently affixed to the structure in letters not less than 2 inches in height. The letters should be clearly visible from the street or road.

No docks are allowed on city park property. No dock or boat hoist shall be placed or constructed in such a manner as to interfere with the normal and customary use of other similar structures in the immediate area. Docks and boat hoists and similar apparatus will be allowed between 10 a.m. on the second Saturday in April and Nov. 15 of each year. 

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