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Army Corps doubling cost of a new boat dock permit on Lake Lanier
Almost five-fold increase to the cost of renewing a permit
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Doug Spiron walks from his dock to his new home on Lake Ranch Court on Friday.

Dock owners will be charged a flat $835 fee for dock permits on Lake Lanier beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Thursday, June 6.

The new, more expensive fee is intended to cover the cost of administering the permits, which involve site visits, inspections and paperwork connected to “dock anchorage, lighting, walkways, and steps to improve access to permitted boat docks and similar facilities,” according to the corps.

Dock permits and other permits around the lake are tightly controlled and regulated by the federal agency. Inspections are detailed, and the approval process for a new or renewed permit can take many months. Permits last for five years.

The new fee is a significant increase over the current cost of permits:

  • New Permit (or new owner of existing facility): $400

  • Re-issue Permit  (to same owner of existing facility): $175

  • Permit Modification (additions/changes to existing facility): $90

  • Vegetative Modification (non-disruptive): $10

  • Erosion Control: $0

With the new fee schedule, both a new permit and renewal costs the same $835. The fee includes a $35 shoreline permit and an $800 fee for the real estate license tied to the dock or other property. Details information about the new fee is available online from the corps.

John Barker, president of the Lake Lanier Association, was surprised by the fee increase.

“Bottom line is: wow,” he said. “The increase is unexpected, and I’m trying to understand what warrants that kind of an increase. I’m hoping maybe there’s some thoughts about increasing goods and services around the lake, like removal of abandoned and derelict docks and boats.

“But I’m not sure that’s the case.”

The new fee must be paid up front and represents the first increase to permit costs since 2006.

With the new fee, there will no longer be a fee charged for fair market value of docks and other permitted items, according to the corps.

Fair market value fees were generally small, ranging from $20-67 for each piece of permitted equipment, according to the corps.

Along with Lake Lanier, the new fee applies to several other lakes and waterways:  Okeechobee Waterway, Florida.; Allatoona Lake, Georgia; Walter F. George Lake and West Point Lake on the Georgia-Alabama border; Lake Seminole on the Georgia-Florida border; Hartwell Lake and J. Strom Thurmond Lake on the Georgia-South Carolina border; Philpott Lake, Virginia; W. Kerr Scott Lake, North Carolina; and John H. Kerr Lake on the North Carolina-Virginia border, according to the corps.

If your permit expires before Dec. 31, 2019, the corps will renew the permit under the current fee schedule “if the corps receives all paperwork and payment from an existing license holder,” according to the corps.

A request for comment to the corps was not returned by deadline.

This report has been updated from its original version.

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