From the dock-permit waiting list to who has jurisdiction for various matters on and around Lake Lanier, the mid-February “Ask the Corps” virtual town hall meeting hosted by Lake Lanier Association was filled with information for lake residents, constituents, stakeholders and the public.
Lake Lanier Project Operations Manager Tim Rainey fielded questions about these and other issues from stakeholders and lake residents.
“The webinar’s purpose is to help improve communications between our constituents and the Corps of Engineers,” Rainey said during the 90-minute event. “This webinar has been an excellent way to inform the public.
“We have divided Lake Lanier into six areas and designated a ranger as the specific contact for each of these,” Rainey said. “Each area’s contact information includes an email address and a direct phone number. Our shoreline rangers are working in partnership with our help desk to manage shoreline issues for lake residents.”
During the webinar, Rainey discussed dock permits and renewal/change of owner processes.
“Dock permits are one of our most-asked-about issues,” he said. “From change of owner to making modifications to your dock, it is important to contact your area ranger before taking any action.”
For instance, when a resident sells their home located adjacent to the public lands, the new owner should contact the Corps as soon as possible to make an application for the permit to be issued in their name.
“The dock permit must be reissued in the name of the new owner, and this will require a site visit,” he said. “And if the new owner wants to make modifications to the dock, it is more efficient to request those modifications at the same time as the new-owner permit is issued.”
Examples include wanting to get a bigger dock, the desire to dispose of the old dock and build a new one, and adding new steps across the public lands.
“It can save both the new homeowner and our staff time and make the process more efficient and timely to request any modifications at the same time as the change-of-ownership documentation is completed,” he said.
“When a permit is due for renewal, your area ranger will reach out to you,” he said. “Don’t worry if your permit renewal date may pass; as we adopt this new system, you may not be called before the permit expires, but you won’t be at risk of losing your permit for not renewing on time.
In the question-and-answer format of the webinar, several participants asked about when it’s acceptable to remove dead trees on public lands that may affect their own property.
“Any tree removal on public lands requires a site visit, and the best place to start is to contact your area ranger,” Rainey said. “We have added shoreline staff to help expedite the response and processing time.
“Documentation is crucial in these matters and we advise property owners to take photos of the current situation in preparation for the site visit. If there is imminent risk of severe damage to personal property before a ranger can visit, this documentation is especially important to avoid fees or fines for the homeowner.”
If extreme storm-water runoff and erosion is taking place on private property adjacent to public lands, the Corps recommends that a ranger be asked to make a site visit to discuss possible solutions.
“We’ve seen developers run gutter extensions or creek beds to the edge of the private property that dump onto public lands, and this creates increased siltation and a reduction in water quality,” Rainey said. “All of us – the Corps, lake water-quality advocates and the public – want to protect and improve our water quality in Lake Lanier. Siltation and storm-water runoff are a major issue that we can help reduce by each doing our part.”
In addition to processing dock permit renewals, request for modifications and site visits, the Corps’ shoreline management staff is currently working through the waiting list for dock permits.
“Right now we have about 100 available permits, but our waiting list is nearly 700 requests long,” Rainey said. “We are slowly working through the waiting list.”
He explained that the number of permits proscribed in the Shoreline Management Plan will not exceed 10,615; however, these newly available permits are the result of abandoned docks, non-renewals by property owners and the conversion of formerly approved community docks.
“As developers built subdivisions, they requested and were permitted community docks. The number of slips in a community dock in relation to the number of permits is 2:1, two slips in a community dock are the equivalent of one permit. So, if a developer had requested 40 slips for a community dock and only built out 20 when the subdivision was complete, those excess slips were returned to the permit inventory at a rate of one permit for each two community dock slips.
“The premise behind community docks is to greatly reduce the impact to the lake and the shoreline because of less contact with the shoreline, among other things,” he said. “As a result of developers building fewer slips than they requested, private owners are benefitting.”
Each of the requests requires an individual review and a site visit.” “We ask people to please be patient. When your name comes up on the list, your area ranger will contact you,” he said.
The Lake Lanier Association, sponsors of the “Ask the Corps” webinar will hold a second webinar this summer.
For information or to join the organization, visit www.lakelanier.org.
For information about the Lake Lanier Project Management Office call 770 945-9531.
Lake Lanier COE Ranger area contact info (see Map at top of story):
AREA 1 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AREA 2 – Email: email@example.com
AREA 3 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AREA 4 – Email: email@example.com
AREA 5 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AREA 6 – Email: email@example.com