BOLTON LANDING — Tiki Tours got a mixed bag of feedback Tuesday at the Lake George Park Commission meeting, ultimately leading to temporary approval to operate two Tiki-style boats this summer, plus a new 26-foot Lyman-style boat.
Gregory Teresi, a lawyer and partner in the charter boat company, had originally asked commissioners to approve a permit for two Tiki-style boats and one Adirondack-style octagonal boat, in addition to the Lyman-style boat. Commissioners did not approve the third slow-moving boat and made the company’s permit probationary for one year.
The tours are generally 60 to 90 minutes, and the Tiki boats move at speeds less than 10 mph. They hold about six people each, and the motor boat, Teresi said, will hold a maximum of nine people. The tours allow customers to bring food and drinks on board.
Commissioners appeared generally in support of the charter company and its future business plans. Several businesses and members of the public expressed support of the company’s expansion, including the Lake George Planning Board and the village.
Short swims will be allowed in no-wake zones off the Tiki boats at the discretion of the captains, and Teresi hopes to get permits to allow lake shore lunches on the state islands some day.
But some commissioners were still concerned about public complaints made, including an allegation that a patron had urinated in the lake. Teresi said captains will continue to ask patrons to use public restrooms before climbing on board. There is a porta-potty on the vessel, but according to Tiki Tours’ website, customers should “keep in mind the boat is 15.5 feet by 15.5 feet and space is limited.” Manager Dylan Pasco said captains can hang up a shower curtain for privacy.
Chairman Bruce Young was also concerned that Teresi had docked the third octagonal boat, this one Adirondack-style, at the Lake George Beach Club and operated it without getting the commission’s permission.
“If we went from two to four, we’re doubling the capacity of your operation that’s still proving its worth, and I’m not saying you haven’t done that,” he said. “You seem to be serious and running a good operation, and there’s nothing that’s happened that demonstrates otherwise, other than the fact that you didn’t ask us to increase by 50 percent.”
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Teresi said he had conferred with another attorney last year and thought the rules and regulations gave him the authority to operate a third boat.
“It looks, on the surface, like ‘We’ll just see what happens,’ “ Young said about Teresi’s decision to run the third boat.
Teresi said as soon as he was told he did not have permission, he stopped. Several times throughout Tuesday’s meeting he emphasized that he thought he had the right permissions to operate it.
Commissioner James Kneeshaw said he didn’t feel the existing probationary agreement was fulfilled because of the third boat violating the permit, and then suggested a “redo,” with the addition of the 26-foot motor boat. Commissioners agreed.
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Representative Marc Migliore said he believed all permits are probationary, as they can be suspended or revoked. He also supported the business allowing dips into the lake. Teresi said the boats have life jackets, noodles and other flotation devices on board.
“You can’t go out on Lake George and not swim,” Migliore said. “I find it hard, and if there are substantial violations, they should be addressed.”
Young encouraged Teresi to come back before the commission and request the third octagonal boat should he have proof it is needed.
“Sure it’s a business plan, it’s a hope,” he said about the additional boat. “You have to demonstrate a need for it when you’re doing something new. And you realize you’re under a microscope.”