The Grand Haven Township Board approved the measure Monday night, but it will take the Spring Lake Township Board coming on board at its next meeting to make it official.
Both townships have jurisdiction over that portion of the river, which flows from the mouth of Pottawattomie Bayou north toward Robbins Road. Both townships' municipal rights extend to the center of the waterway.
If Spring Lake Township also approves the change, the new legislation would make it illegal for boats 26 feet and longer to operate faster than a "no-wake" speed. Violators would be subject to fines.
All of Spring Lake is no-wake for vessels 26 feet and more. Many of the bayous and stretches of the river are no-wake for all watercraft.
Last year, some riverfront residents approached both boards to express concern over the high speed of vessels in that mostly residential stretch of river.
Unless there is a posted no-wake zone, or boats are within 100 feet of a dock or moored boat, watercraft is allowed to go 55 mph on Michigan's inland waters. The residents said it is not uncommon for vessels to travel that fast past their homes.
In August, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources concluded that “significant conditions exist that support establishment of controls more restrictive than those currently” in place.
Residents who live along the south side of the river responded enthusiastically after Grand Haven Township's 6-0 vote.
“The residents have been asking for this for a couple of decades,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said. “It's been a long time coming. For people who don't want to go no wake, they also have the north channel they can navigate.”
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