Why do I need an Easement?

Drainage easements are obtained for specific uses such as storm water conveyance, in open ditches, underground tiles, a floodplain or as access routes for operating, maintaining or repairing a County Drain. Drainage easements are not to be considered public areas and are not open to the public.

Property owners retain land ownership, but are restricted from building permanent structures that may interfere with or reduce drainage and/or temporary storage capacity or may impede drain maintenance of surface or subsurface systems within the easement area. This includes, but is not limited to; swimming pools, sheds, garages, patios, decks, fences or other permanent structures or landscaping features.

Easement width varies from drain to drain depending on the drain’s size and type. Some easements are of an unspecified width.

Easements obtained prior to 1956 were not required by law to be recorded with the Berrien County Register of Deeds office and are considered properly recorded if they are on file in the County Drain Commissioner’s office. It is important to check with both offices to determine if a drainage easement exists on your property.

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1. What is a Drain Assessment?
2. How are assessments determined?
3. Where is the drain located for which I am being assessed?
4. Do all property owners pay drain assessments?
5. What is a Drainage District?
6. I recently purchased my property. Why am I being billed for work done prior to my ownership?
7. What is a Petitioned Project?
8. How does a petition get started?
9. What is a Board of Determination?
10. What is the purpose of a Board of Determination?
11. Does the Board of Determination decide what work gets done?
12. Does the decision of the Board of Determination have to be unanimous?
13. What if I am unable to attend the Board of Determination meeting?
14. Can the decision of the Board of Determination be appealed?
15. Why do I need an Easement?
16. What are the Statutes and Regulations Effecting the Activities of the Drain Commissioner?
17. What is an Illicit Discharge or Connection?
18. How do I identify an Illicit Discharge or Connection?
19. How do I make a FOIA Request?