New boat dock planned for Greenwood
June 07, 2007 -
The final vote will be taken at the next Planning Board meeting on June 18, but it appears that Don Lawrence will get the okay to build a 12 boat dock on a Round Pond.
At the Planning Board hearing held on June 4 and 13th, residents, abutters and members of the Community Lakes Association, discussed the proposed boat dock.
"What I am proposing is a private dock space for 12 boats off of Howe Hill Road, adjacent to the public boat ramp," said Lawrence. "There will only be a parking area and docks and nothing else. No structures, no running water and no sewer. The docks are to facilitate people in the area that have boats and no longer have places to launch them due to the loss of family camps and the like."
Lawrence says he has his boat at a dock and he uses it much more because he can go from his truck to his boat, without launching the boat each time he uses it.
"I don't have to go home and hook up my trailer, trailer it over and launch the boat," he said. "The questions are going to be what are the benefits to the community and what are the deficits? The benefits are going to be that anybody who has a boat on a trailer probably launches it in a different place every week. This could be a problem for our area because of milfoil. Once the boat goes on a dock slip, nine times out of 10, it stays there," he told the Planning Board.
Then Lawrence asked if anyone had questions.
One of the concerns raised was the possible disruption of the beauty and the serenity of the area. A letter sent to the Planning Board from a resident who lives close to the area supported that thought by saying the area is residential and the proposed development will change the character of the neighborhood.
"They have one at Norway Lake," said Rodney Westleigh, board chairman. "And it doesn't look to me like it's an eyesore."
"We have absolutely no intention of cutting any more trees than what we absolutely need for the 4 feet that it takes for the two stairwells down to the docks," Lawrence said. "All this is, is a place where people would get out of their car and walk to their boat. And it's not like you're going to have 12 people there every weekend. When you drive by the docks at Norway Lake, it's usually only half full.
"The chances are slim to none for families around here to buy waterfront land. If you didn't have that waterfront property 25 years ago and you're on a Maine salary, you're not likely to have it in your future. My dock is probably one of the only ways that regular people can put a boat in the water."
Lawrence was asked if the dock will have lighting at night.
"What we are proposing today is for sunrise to sunset operation. There are no lights at the parking lot or on the dock," Lawrence said. "For any further development, I will have to come back to the Planning Board and it would be another hearing."
One member of the audience called it an incremental increase in usage of the ponds, one which would increase pollution, erosion and upset the ecology. He recommended caution in allowing something like this development. The letter from the absent resident added that the dock will create unnecessary traffic in the area -- 12 large vehicles moving in and out twice a day would be 24 trips with as many as 48 people.
But another resident, who also lives close to the proposed dock area, said that Memorial Day weekend there were 80% fewer boats on the pond and he attributed that to the price of gasoline.
"Well, if I fail in business, it's my business," Lawrence said. "I've spoken to half a dozen of my friends and they told me that they would love to put their boat in and leave it there all summer. I'm not proposing a hundred slips, what I need is 12 slips to make it profitable. Half have been spoken for. And I cannot expand the number of slips without coming back to the planning Board."
"I know that people have some problems with the ecological side of this," Lawrence continued. "And I think it should be heard that this can actually be more beneficial than it is damaging, because when most folks put a boat on a dock, it stays there. The boat doesn't get taken out and go to another body of water where it may pickup milfoil or some kind of snail. Every time a boat is launched, a truck and trailer must back into the pond. In this case it only happens once and the boat stays there."
Another citizen voiced concern about lavatory facilities.
"If you go to other dock facilities, none of them provide bathrooms," Lawrence said. "They had a big sign that says 'Carry and and carry out, don't leave your trash here'. People will not be there or hang out there, just go from their car to their boat, get off of the boat and into the car. I'm not selling them food or anything to drink. That's not an issue for a marina."
Lawrence was asked if the boundaries of the proposed site would allow expansion to expand to 50 boat slips.
"Actually, no," said Lawrence. "The proposed area is the fat part of the channel. To go beyond 100 feet past the public boat launch, the channel narrows. It would not allow adequate space for boats to traverse the channel with other boats docked on the right-hand side and beyond that they are stumps and trees which cannot be pulled out. There is a physical limitation to expansion. To speculate, if there was an expansion proposed down the road, it couldn't be for more than five slips because there is not space for more."
"It seems like it will be the same people using the dock that are using the boat launch now," said Westleigh. "There should not be any more noise than there is now. We have a town constable and the game warden handles any problems on the water."
Planning Board members said they had to compile a finding of fact from the hearing and proceeded to do so after closing the hearing and entering into their regular planning Board meeting.
They included that there would be no structures, no lights, no bathrooms and no trash containers. It would be 12 boat slips and a maximum of 12 parking spaces. No activity would take place after dark and a natural basin would nullify the threat of phosphorus runoff. Officials recorded that there was concern about increased boat traffic. Concern was voiced about the environmental impact, but officials agreed that there would be no appreciable impact. And they said that they offer access for residents who don't own property on the water.
Officials said that they will vote at their next meeting and speculated that they would approve Lawrence's application.
"Everything looks good," said Westley. "Unless something comes up."
This article appeared in its original form in the Advertiser Democrat, June 7, 2007.
Lakes: Round Pond
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