91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Judge turns down homeowner lawsuit challenging special assessment to rebuild Edenville and Sanford dams

Sanford Dam has undergone work to repair damage caused by 2020 failure (file photo)
Steve Carmody
Michigan Public
Sanford Dam has undergone work to repair damage caused by 2020 failure (file photo)

A judge has turned down a lawsuit brought by a group of Midland and Gladwin County homeowners fighting a special property assessment to pay to restore two dams. 

The Edenville and Sanford dams failed in May 2020, after days of heavy rain. Flood water inundated parts of Gladwin and Midland counties, forcing thousands of people to evacuate and causing millions of dollars in damages.

The dam failures also left many lakefront property owners without lakes.

To rebuild the dams and restore the lakes, county officials approved a special assessment to raise more than $200 million. An estimated 8,000 property owners would need to pay a portion of the assessment. But some property owners sued, claiming a lack of due process and that the assessment is too high.

This week, circuit court Judge Michael Beale ruled against the homeowners. Beale ruled the homeowners lacked “credible evidence” to challenge the validity of the special assessment district.

Attorney Michael Homier represents members of the Heron Cove Association. He said they are disappointed, but they will explore their options for appeal.

The Four Lakes Task Force, the group in charge of the restoration, has put the work on hold as the legal process plays out.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
Related Content