QUEENSBURY — Residents are expressing concern over a proposal by Harris Bay Yacht Club to expand and reconfigure their docks.
The club on Route 9L wants to replace its floating dock complex with a larger one. The docks would be increased by 17 to 41 linear feet and there would be an additional 150 to 270 feet jutting out into the lake. It also would add a second gasoline dock, improve the lighting and replace the pilings with a screw anchor-and-cable system to support the wharfs, according to the application.
The Lake George Park Commission will take up the proposal at its meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Fort William Henry Conference Center. A variance is also required because the height of the gas hut is more than allowed.
Representatives of the Harris Bay Yacht Club said in the application that the bigger footprint is needed because boats are larger and there is not a lot of room between the docks, which poses a risk for collisions.
The existing docks are made of cedar and are more than 30 years old. They would be replaced by docks made of aluminum and composite materials. There would be separate utility space for electrical and plumbing utilities, according to the application.
A second fuel station would alleviate the problem of wait times of 30 minutes or more at a single facility. The fuel pumps would be housed internally so there would be no more hoses on the dock. The new fuel stations would be of an architecture that is more fitting with Lake George, the application states.
The Harris Bay Yacht Club did not return a message seeking further comment on their plans.
The applicants state that they are not trying to attract bigger boats, but they are trying to accommodate the size of the boat that is there now.
Residents fear otherwise. About 90 public comments have been received on the plan, and more than 70 percent are in opposition.
Among the concerns in the comments are that large boats are already causing an issue in Lake George because they cause bigger wakes, posing a threat to kayakers, swimmers and smaller boats. They also contribute to shoreline erosion.
Hague resident Al Rider said if the commission approves the project, it will be a tipping point for Lake George. The boats are continuing to get bigger and bigger without limit.
“It can’t continue to grow. It’s not Lake Champlain. It’s not the ocean. These boats have no business up here,” he said.
Rider worried about sewage from the boats and said the commission is understaffed to check the boats the lake currently has. Another concern is the increased traffic on the lake.
Rider also said he is concerned that the decision would set a precedent.
“If it’s approved, every marina on the lake is going to be doing the same thing,” he said.
Barbara Bryant Taylor, who spends summers in Hague, said she is worried about degradation of the shoreline of Lake George.
“Larger boats cause not only bigger wakes that hit the shoreline and thus degrade the shoreline, but they also cause more disturbance at the bottom of the lake. It actually causes wave action down there, which interferes with fish,” she said.
In addition, Taylor said the larger vessels pose risks to other people enjoying the lake.
“I don’t think it’s good for these large boats to be in the same vicinity as kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, other much smaller craft,” she said.
Taylor said she understands the need for the yacht club to replace the aging docks and upgrade the lighting. However, she said the real reason behind the proposal is financial.
“I just feel they’re trying to make more money at the expense of the pristine quality of our lake,” she said.