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Dock permit change is proposed
Hearings set for May 24 and June 14
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Public hearings

What: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing policy changes concerning community docks on Lake Lanier.
When, where: 6-8 p.m. May 24 at West Hall High School, 5500 McEver Road, Oakwood, and June 14 at Dawson County Middle School, 332 Highway 9 North, Dawsonville.
Contact: 770-945-9531

Residential developers who have let or are about to let community dock permits expire could catch a break from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The corps is proposing a change to Lake Lanier's 2004 Shoreline Management Plan that would give developers with permits that have lapsed or will lapse by 2013 until Dec. 1, 2014, to submit a final residential plat that has been approved by the "local issuing authority" or government.

"Community dock permits have been issued prior to the permittees receiving final plat approval from the governing municipality," said Tim Rainey, Lanier's operations project manager, in an April memo.

"A few of these developments have not pursued final plat approval and are now approaching or beyond the expiration date of their shoreline use permit."

A government-approved plat must be submitted for the permit to be reissued, under the proposed policy change.

Further, "community dock construction and installation must not be performed until the final plat has been approved and the corps has completed the required permit reconciliation," Rainey said.

Chief Ranger Ernest Noe, who has overseen a process of issuing remaining dock permits on Lanier, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

In a previous interview, he talked about how the economic downturn hasn't spared lakefront developers.

He likened some properties to "PVC jungles," or "dead subdivisions with just a bunch of PVC pipes sticking out of the ground."

Rainey said "allowing community dock permits to be reissued without their corresponding residential development and subsequent use of facilities could cause concern among adjacent landowners who were denied permits."

The corps held a public hearing on the changes April 25 at Forsyth Central High School.

Other hearings are set for May 24 at West Hall High School, 5500 McEver Road, Oakwood, and June 14 at Dawson County Middle School, 332 Ga. Highway 9 North, Dawsonville.

Both are set for 6-8 p.m.

Copies of the present Shoreline Management Plan and the proposed changes will be available.

In addition, the corps proposes a procedure for when the cap of 10,615 dock permits on Lanier is reached.

If permits become available, such as through revocation, the corps "will publicly announce their availability and issue new permits based on a first-come, first-served basis until the maximum number is reached," Rainey said in the memo.

"This process will be repeated annually as needed beginning on the second Monday in March."