Columbia Township passed the CURL ordinance tonight.  What’s CURL, and what does it have to do with Clark Lake?  CURL stands for “common use riparian lot”.  The CURL ordinance regulates how property on the water can be used by multiple owners of property not on the water.  This practice is commonly known as “funneling” or “keyholing.” 

Trustee Flip Reynolds pointed out that there were three properties on Clark Lake where this could take place.  The Township has no ordinance that outlines requirements for a CURL.  Because of that, the Township Board voted unanimously to create one.  Clerk Barry Marsh explains how a CURL might work and how this ordinance affects it.

The ordinance states “the minimum water frontage of a CURL shall be the greater of 120 feet or 60 feet for each dwelling…served by the CURL.  For example purposes, a CURL that serves four dwellings shall have a minimum water frontage of 240 feet.”  Further, “A CURL devoted solely to docking of boats shall have a minimum of 60 feet of water frontage for each 2 boats that may be docked on the CURL…” And, “…no dock, pier or similar device shall be closer than 50 feet to another dock, pier or similar device.”

To read the entire ordinance, please access this PDF.  (Please see the final paragraph in this article to note the change in the final version).

At the meeting of trustees, there was considerable discussion as to the process of how this ordinance was adopted.  It was pointed out by Flip Reynolds and others that this ordinance had not gone through the Township Planning Commission.  John Calhoun and others felt that this ordinance was needed now, and putting it through the planning commission might take up to a year.  This ordinance was not passed as a zoning ordinance, but as a police ordinance.  A police ordinance does not require the more elongated process of a zoning ordinance.

In recognition of the Planning Commission’s role, Flip Reynolds proposed a change that was adopted in the final form of the ordinance.  The final sentence in 6-A was altered to read the “Township shall refer a preliminary application to the Columbia Township Planning Commission for advisory comments.”  The word “shall” was substituted for “may.”