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Sailing club starting to move, slowly, on master plan
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Lanier Sailing Club Commodore Mike Stewart looks at a set of detailed drawings at the club’s property Wednesday afternoon. After years of preparation, the club is preparing to make several improvements on the property including improving parking and campground improvements.

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Mike Stewart, commodore of Lake Lanier Sailing Club in Flowery Branch, talks about what may lie ahead in a master plan for the club.

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Lake Lanier Sailing Club’s master site plan could launch this year, at least partially, after enduring some choppy waters in recent years.

“With the board (of directors) in session this year, this is really the first time that we’ve had an opportunity to look at doing anything on the master plan,” said Mike Stewart, the club’s commodore, in an interview at the club last week.

“For the last two years, our finances haven’t supported it. Now, the lake’s back up (in elevation), and we’re starting to see a little bit of rise in membership.”

The club was founded in 1959 and has been at its present site off Old Federal Road since 1960.

Initial structures included a boat storage area and ramp, with the main clubhouse, or pavilion, built mainly by club members between 1963 and 1967, according to the group’s Web site.

Later additions included parking lots, sailboat docks, a camping area and swimming beach.

“One of the things that spawned (the master plan) was the growth we were seeing,” Stewart said.

Club membership increased from 2004 until a two-year drought began throttling the area in 2007, bumping against the membership cap of 275.

“We had to expand some facilities, and parking was a problem. We started looking at some (improvements).”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which leases 16 acres to the club, pushed for the master plan.

“We started that process and that went about three years, and we finally got (corps) approval last year,” Stewart said.

At one point, the plans unexpectedly had to be reviewed for environmental impact, which added six to eight months to the process.

“There were a lot of new regulations that came up and came out that we weren’t aware of, and they just kind of appeared to pop up in the middle of the process,” Stewart said.

By study’s end, the club ended up spending $35,000 for the plan.

“And a lot of the work was done by volunteers, so there was a lot of money we didn’t have to spend,” said Stewart, who owns Lawn Doctor in Marietta. “... It’s not a cheap process.”

A few improvements include:

  • Installing buried power and low-impact lampposts at the campground.
  • Building a bathhouse “that would be convenient to future parking areas and the campground,” Stewart said.
  • Adding much-needed parking areas.

In addition to accommodating rising membership, “we host quite a few large regattas during the year,” Stewart said. “When you have those kind of events, parking becomes quite an issue.”

Adding a second story to the clubhouse, featuring space for meeting rooms, a lounge area, bathrooms with showers and covered porches.

Add a 25-slip floating dock featuring “a concrete block that will stand up to the storms and the southwest and west winds that we have,” Stewart said.

Overall, the improvements are “things we may consider doing — not necessarily will do — in the future,” Stewart said.

Campground and parking efforts are high-priority and could get attention sooner than later.

“We’re getting ready to pull together a survey of the membership to see what their priorities are and get an idea of where we go,” Stewart said.

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