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Muskegon area home collapses into Lake Michigan

A western Michigan lakefront home has fallen down a sandy bluff in an area plagued by erosion.

Muskegon County officials had been monitoring the condition of the White River Township home which toppled over about 11 p.m. Tuesday. A number of neighboring homes are also teetering on the edge of collapse.

The home's owner was at another property when it fell. She wanted neighbors to pitch in for a shoreline rock wall to slow erosion but ran out of time.

Construction crews are active up and down the Lake Michigan shore trying to save homes that are threatened by shoreline erosion. 

In some places, massive sandbags rest at the bottom of dunes. Other places, huge excavators pile up rocks to hold the sand in place.

Some homeowners have just decided to lift their entire home to move it away from the shore.

Greg Windemuller is a contractor in the Holland area. He’s already moved one home, with more waiting to be moved. He says the state has sped up the permitting process.

"This one took about a month, this first one that we worked on. The last one took a week, so that was the fastest we’ve ever seen a permit come out of EGLE.”

But Windemuller adds that not every home will be saved. 

“There are some customers that are going to have decide whether to just demo their house or what … cause they don’t have anywhere to move, they’ll end up with an empty lot that they can’t do anything with.”

The state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy says it processed 13 permits to move homes in 2019.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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