Council undecided on issuing Sandalia dock permit

OROVILLE – Oroville’s city leaders struggled over whetherSandalia Resorts should be issued a permit to place a 206 foot private dock onLake Osoyoos at a closed record hearing Tuesday, March 17.

In the end, the city council sent the issue back to the OrovillePlanning Commission, which had recommended approval with ten conditions. Thecouncil asked the planning commission to take another look at the proposeddock’s environmental impact, as it would be very close to where Osoyoos Lakejoins the Okanogan River and the impact on recreational use of the lake by others.

The discussion was a”closed-record” hearing because public testimony had already been taken at anOroville Planning Commission hearing – no further public testimony is thenallowed. The issue was then sent to the council for final approval based on theplanning commission’s recommendations and conditions.

Conditions included aone-year review of the docks and the ability to reduce the dock by one or twosections depending on the projected conditions of the lake for the upcomingyear, such as drought conditions. The dock would also have to be taken out ofthe lake at an approved boat launch and stored during the winter, according toChris Branch, the city’s director of Planning and Community Development.

Currently standards fordocks are not well defined under either the county’s or Oroville’s ShorelineMaster Program. Both entities are in the middle of rewriting their plans.

“The Shoreline MasterProgram does not address standards well, especially for big docks,” saidBranch.

Clay Warnstaff, Oroville’sChief of Police, asked if the city was getting ready to set a precedent thatwould allow other people to place big docks on the lake if it approved theSandalia request.

“Each permit will have tobe site specific. Before not many people could afford to put a dock on thelake, with the new developments that is changing,” said Branch.

“I really hate to see thishappen on the lake. There is a potential that it will be overused and this willjust contribute to that,” said Councilman Jon Neal.

Councilman Ed Naillonadded, “My personal feeling is we really have to give consideration to what thelake will be like in 20 years. Do we want the lake to be a public lake or aprivate lake?”

Naillon expressed concernabout having boats that would be fueled by people carrying gas to their crafton the dock and worried about the possibility of fuel spills. He and the othersalso expressed concern about the additional spread of milfoil in the lakethrough propellers cutting the noxious weed into pieces that could grow intonew plants.

The council members saidthey would not move to approve the permit as it stood.

Branch told the councilthat the dock was included in the Sandalia planned development and if the dockpermit was denied it would effect the developments plans to build anothertownhouse at the site.

The council asked Branchif they could approve the parts of the permit that were specific to theconstruction of the townhouse, without making a decision on the dock thatnight.

After learning that theycould, Neysa Roley made a motion to send the dock permit back to the planningcommission to consider the fuel, milfoil and recreational impacts. The motionalso allowed those parts of the permit that would allow the construction ofanother townhouse. The motion was approved and the permit issue was sent to theplanning commission to look at during their Wednesday, March 18 meeting (seerelated story in this week’s issue).