The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works, SmithGroup, and our lakefront communities are embarking on a project to determine where public access to Lake Erie can be expanded. This page is dedicated to information directly for owners and associations whose property directly abuts Lake Erie. As part of a vision for improved lakefront access, the input and buy-in of lakefront property owners is vital before any steps can be taken.
Information and Input
We are at the very beginning of this planning process and no decisions have been made. Our very first step is speaking with you as property owners and gauging your interest in participating in this discussion. To do so, we have set up two meetings specifically for lakefront property owners to share information about the planning process and what it means for you. We have also set up a short survey for property owners that will help us determine where along the shoreline there is interest.
Property Owners Meetings
Two virtual property owners meetings were held on January 12 and January 14, 2021. If you were unable to attend those meetings, please join us for a similar general public meeting to be held virtually on January 28, 2021. Information about that meeting can be found on the main project page.
Video recordings of the Lakefront Property Owners Meetings, meeting materials, and additional answers to FAQs will be posted on this page shortly. Please take the Lakefront Property Owners Survey below, and submit any questions or comment using the form at the bottom of this page
Property Owners Survey
Lakefront property owners are also encouraged to complete a survey. It will close on February 1, 2021.
Property owners in Euclid may have already completed a similar survey conducted by the City. If so, you do not need to fill out this survey.
Property Owner FAQs
Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding erosion and lakefront access, and what it might mean for property owners.
- Why am I being sent this survey?
The Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan seeks to expand public access to and along the lakefront by establishing public-private agreements that support new public access points and trails while enhancing shoreline resilience and erosion protection. As much of the lakefront is privately owned, the survey will help the County identify where private landowners may be interested in such a partnership.
- How will my survey responses be used?
The responses will help identify where there is potential interest from individuals, as well as groups of lakefront landowners, in partnering with the County and allowing public access as part of shoreline protection.
- Will my responses be confidential?
Individual owner survey responses will be confidential. Recommendations for trail routing as part of the Lakefront Public Access Plan will be based on initial landowner feedback and the potential receptivity of a group of landowners.
- What if I choose not to respond to the survey?
The County encourages landowners to participate. Doing so will help the County and its consultants best identify where landowner receptivity may be greatest and direct additional investments of resources.
- Can I change my mind? How long will an agreement be with the County if I allow public access?
Survey feedback cannot be changed. However, this is the beginning of a process and there will be many additional opportunities to evaluate whether participation is of interest and to work through specific details. Your response to this survey does not commit you to participating nor does it exclude your participation in the future. More formal agreements will be established as the project advances and investment increases.
- What if I do not want to allow public access on my property or along my shoreline? Will my property be condemned or taken by eminent domain?
The County seeks to partner with lakefront property owners and has no intent of taking land from private landowners. The use of eminent domain is not applicable for this type of project and the County seeks to partner with interested landowners.
- I own a condo or am part of a private beach club or association. What if not all members agree?
Different perspectives and responses are anticipated. Feedback from this survey will help identify where there is the greatest level of landowner interest in permitting public access as part of the installation of erosion control measures. Future detailed discussion will be held with individual and groups of lakefront property owners in areas where survey results indicate a high level of potential owner interest.
- Will I be allowed to have private access to the lakefront?
The intent of the Lakefront Public Access Plan is to provide expanded lakefront public access. Detailed discussions with landowners will be needed during future phases where private access exists and would need to be changed to accommodate improvements, or where there is interest by the private landowner in gaining private access. Private and public access can be accommodated in many instances.
- If I am trying to sell my property, should I participate?
Yes. Survey responses are not binding. Please respond as the current landowner as the County understands that changes in landownership will occur and there will be multiple opportunities to engage with current and new landowners as the project advances.
If Public Access Were Allowed Along My Shoreline…
- Who would be responsible if someone were injured while walking the shoreline trail along my property?
Details on maintenance and liability will be addressed in future specific agreements worked out with private landowners. However, private landowners would not be responsible for maintenance and liability.
- Would I give up ownership of my shoreline property?
Private landowners do not need to give up their property to allow for development of public access and shoreline protection. In some instances, private landowners may elect to donate lakefront property. However, we anticipate that a majority of the improvements would be built on lakefront easements.
- Do my neighbors have to allow public access too?
No. However, investment in public access and shoreline stabilization on a parcel by parcel scale is not typically overly effective, can be costly, and can make it more difficult to construct. Investment is likely to be directed to areas of shoreline where multiple property owners are interested in potential public-private partnership toward expanded public access and shoreline stabilization.
- I have improvements like a boathouse or dock along my shoreline, what would happen with those?
Public access and private shoreline improvements may occur on the same parcel. Detailed discussions with individual landowners will occur as part of future project phases to address unique situations.
- Who would pay for the cost of the erosion control and public access improvements?
As noted in the General FAQ , funding for recommendations identified in the Lakefront Public Access Plan is likely to include a variety of different sources.
- How long would the public access and shoreline protection improvements remain on my property?
The length or term of the agreement would be established as the project advances. Shoreline improvements typically require approvals by state and federal agencies and come with a fifty (50) year duration. Allowances for modification to the duration to either lengthen or shorten the term would be set forth in specific agreements with landowners as part of future project phases.