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277 homeowners vie for 174 docks
Lottery set for Oct. 28 to hand out remaining permits on Lake Lanier
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You can bet Bill and Diane Felder of West Hall have Oct. 28 circled on their calendar.

That’s when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers holds a random drawing to determine the order for reviewing requests for the remaining Lake Lanier boat dock permits.

"This is our last-ditch effort," Diane Felder said from her home Thursday. "If this doesn’t work out, then I don’t know what we’re going to do.

"I don’t know if we’ll just put this house on the market and see what else we can find that has a dock."

The Felders have tried for five years to get a dock but, for various reasons, haven’t succeeded. One major obstacle was a two-year moratorium on additional docks imposed by the corps because of the wrenching drought that drained Lanier to an all-time low.

All is rosy now on Lanier, which is several inches above its full pool of 1,071 feet above sea level.

The corps, which lifted the moratorium earlier in the year, has 277 applicants for 174 remaining permits, having closed the 90-day submission period on Tuesday, said spokeswoman Lisa Coghlan.

Initially, the corps received 302 applications, but 25 were rejected for various reasons, including the omission of a tax number, Coghlan said.

"It hasn’t been thrown out," Felder said of the couple’s application.

Possibly next week, a final list will be published at showing the requests that have been confirmed for the lottery drawing.

The Oct. 28 lottery will be shown on the Web site as well as by video feed at the Spring Hill Suites Hotel across from the Mall of Georgia in Buford. The lottery also will be shown on

The request letters will be evaluated in the order that they were randomly selected to determine if they meet the complete site and eligibility requirements, as outlined in the Shoreline Management Plan.

"I hope they do that," Felder said. "I hope that on each one, they do take the opportunity to go and look at the situation."

The Felders moved five years ago to Habersham Walk off Goddards Ford Road. Like their neighbors, they wanted a dock to launch a boat from a neighborhood cove into Lake Lanier, at a crossing of the Chattahoochee and Chestatee rivers.

Trouble was they didn’t have the sufficient space needed between neighbors’ docks to wedge in one of their own.

The corps says final decisions will be furnished in writing.

"Once we have issued the remaining available permits, we will then go back to the first-come, first-served procedures outlined in the (management plan) for any future permits, if a space becomes available," Coghlan said.

Prospects for that, however, are slim, she said.

"We rarely have a homeowner release the permit back to us," Coghlan said. "The bottom line: It increases their home’s value."

The management plan and an accompanying Environmental Impact Statement completed in 2004 set the limit of boat docks available on the lake at 10,615.