Establishing the Commonwealth of Belle Isle — do it with CC&Rs


A plan has been advanced, if you call it that, for the purchase of Belle Isle from Detroit, MI to be turned into another Hong Kong as the Commonwealth of Belle Isle. It would be a tax-free money machine without big government involvement so proclaims Roger Lockwood, the promoter of the Commonwealth of Belle Isle.

Puerto Rico, for example, is a US territory known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Legally, it is an organized, unincorporated territory of the US answerable to the Interior Department.  It was established not by the President, but by an enabling act of Congress known as the Territory of Puerto Rico Organic Act.  The organic act does not subject the Puerto Rico to the entire Constitution, but to certain aspects as determined by Congress.  It has no constitution as we know it.


The Virgin Islands of the United States is another US territory created by its own organic act. In 2010 Congress passed Public Law 111-194 authorizing the USVI constitutional committee to submit a constitution for review by Congress. It was rejected and the committee could not create a revised constitution.  So with this understanding, Belle Isle will not be entirely free from BIG government.

The only other case that has bearing on this proposal was the creation of West Virginia where the people had to secede from Virginia and then re-join the Union. It had to be decided by the US Supreme Court in Virginia v. West Virginia, 78 U.S. 39 (1870).  It was a messy affair that also included an organic act and the adoption of a new state constitution.

Belle Isle would be messy, too.  Purchase from Detroit, secede from Michigan, and be established as an independent principality/territory by an act of Congress. 

I would think it would be easier for Lockwood to adopt a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions after acquiring Belle Isle from Detroit and start shouting to the FEDs and Michigan, “no interference in contacts, no interference in contracts!”  With a Declaration there would be no need for government approval or compliance to laws or ordinances, etc.  And, so long as money flows back to the powers that be, anything can be included in the Declaration.  Robert Nelson proposed such a secessionist future in 2005. See HOA Secession from Local Government: The future of Planned Communities?


Go for it, Lockwood!

Published in: on August 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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