LAKE GEORGE — A proposal to reconfigure the docks at the Harris Bay Yacht Club was tabled at the request of the applicant, after club officials heard negative feedback Tuesday from the Lake George Park Commission and the public.
The club on Route 9L in Queensbury wants to replace its wooden floating dock complex with a larger one made from aluminum and composite materials. It also would add a second gasoline dock, improve the lighting and replace its pilings with a screw anchor-and-cable system to support the wharfs.
Among the major concerns from the commission and public is that the renovated dock would take up a larger footprint than the existing one.
Cindy Quade, commodore for the Harris Bay Yacht Club, attempted to combat comments that the club wants more room between the slips to accommodate larger boats.
“I want to stress that this is not an application for larger boats,” she said at the meeting held at the Fort William Henry Conference Center.
Quade said no change would be made in traffic to the site. The project could alleviate traffic with the addition of the second gas pump, she said. The existing wooden docks have exceeded their useful life, she said.
Architect Tim Gallagher explained that the club wants to use a fabricated dock system and has to work within the framework of what the company offers.
Attempting to customize it to fit different dock lengths would increase the cost of the project by 24 percent, Quade said.
“We’re trying to match the current layout as much as possible with a modernized system of components,” she said.
Commission member Joe Stanek said he had not seen any documentation to support the claim that customizing the docks to stay within the footprint would increase the cost by 24 percent.
The commission asked whether the club could match the current dock configuration, even if some of the existing slips had to be removed.
Gallagher said it is not as simple to remove slips.
“We can’t eliminate owners from the club,” he said.
Commission Vice Chairman Kenneth Parker, who was running the meeting, also worried about the precedent that could be set for other marinas and properties around the lake to seek to expand their footprints.
“Whatever we do here as a commission, somebody else is going to ask us the exact same question down the road,” he said.
The public also weighed in on the issue. Jim Beaty of Queensbury said this is a self-created hardship. Back in the late 1950s, an 18-foot boat is all you needed on Lake George to be comfortable. Now, the standard has crept up to 26- and 28-foot boats.
“I think these boats didn’t get wider in storage,” he said.
Beverly Pozzi of Lake George agreed that boats have gotten too big, which causes soil erosion and disturbance to the bottom of the lake. There is also a safety issue because the larger boats create larger wakes, especially when people drive too fast.
John Caffry, who co-owns a home on Harris Bay, said the application does not meet the criteria for a variance.
“If they have problems with the docks getting older, they should just replace them in kind. If they cost more, that’s life. Everything costs more,” he said.
Boat owner Karen Casper spoke in favor of the application. She said she would like to have a little more room for maneuvering.
“That extra couple of feet is just safety for me. I can’t increase the size of my boat,” she said.
The Yacht Club agreed to postpone the application to refine it with commission staff.
“What we’re looking from the board today is not a decision, it’s guidance. What can we do that is acceptable? I don’t believe that replacing in kind is good for the lake,” Quade said.