Families living near a lake are furious after one of their neighbors built a bridge connecting the mainland to an island without a permit.

Residents said the bridge is causing issues for boaters trying to get around the lake.

“Flabbergasted,” said Denise Marks, neighbor.

Marks said there’s just one word that comes to mind when she looks out her backyard on Lobdell Lake and sees the bridge.

She said her neighbor took it upon himself to build a bridge that connects his property from the mainland to his island.

“Number one, someone could someone get away with putting in this type of monstrosity,” Marks said.

Argentine Township Supervisor Brian Saad told TV5 the bridge was put in by the property owner Brett DeGayner. He said the bridge was put in and no permits were pulled, but that’s not his only concern.

“This absolutely prevents the flow which is the only thing that we can find in our ordinance that he’s violating, that's preventing the traffic flow through the canal,” Saad said.

Saad said the township issued a stop-work order to prevent DeGayner from continuing construction, but Saad said he didn’t comply.

He said they will now have to go higher up and do something about it.

“This is clearly a state-level issue at this point because of the change in the water flow patterns, the destruction of the wetlands,” Saad said.

Saad said it’s not clear what repercussions are at the state level - if any - for putting in the structure.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) said most structures built in or over a wetland, lake, or stream requires a state permit.

EGLE said it did not receive a permit for this project and was not contacted by the property owner before the bridge was built.

The department said it referred the issued to its enforcement unit in Lansing for review and possible enforcement action, which could result in civil or criminal penalties. 

Neighbors said the construction of the bridge started on Monday, July 8.

TV5 tried speaking with the owner while he was working on the bridge, but he declined to comment.

Neighbors said they are most upset that the property owner didn’t go through the proper channels and are now concerned with the safety and property values.

“I would never take my pontoon through that draw bridge for fear that it would fall and kill someone,” said Judith Prout, neighbor.

“How is it going to affect property values, that’s a big one. Who’s going to want to buy a house with a big toll bridge,” Marks said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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