Oroville considers Sandalia dock extension

OROVILLE – Representatives of the Sandalia Resort on Lake Osoyoos appeared before the Oroville City Council at their July 1 meeting seeking an extension of their boat dock.

Sandalia is asking to move the existing finger float, main walk float, swim float and boat lifts approximately 60 feet “waterward” and adding a 60 foot long pier section. They also want to add six new finger pier sections to the shoreward side of the relocated/converted main walk float/pier, as well as installing 12 new ground-based boat lifts. In addition they want to elevate the existing gangway and permitting the existing swim float which is not currently permited.

The new dock would have 24 slips for the 34 residents of the resort. The request is for the piers to remain over the winter with the decks being removed and stored on land.

“The Shoreline Master Program encourages community docks over multiple docks. The staff recommends approval with conditions,” said permit administrator Christian Johnson.

These conditions include:

  • Securing a DNR lease;
  • Hydrological lifts must be suitable;
  • Deck needs to be stored in a non-shoreline site; and
  • If it gets to the point that safety lights are needed then they will be added.

Representatives of the resort said they were requesting the dock be further out in the lake due to boats hitting bottom where the current dock is. That dock was approved five years ago.

“We’d like to get to a depth were we can actually launch our boats,” said one resident.

Forde Waterstrat, with the Lake Osoyoos Association (LOA), a lake stewardship group, suggested that the length of the dock should be kept at a minimum.

“The Lake Osoyoos Association believes the request is excessive. We visited the site and feel that a 40 foot addition would be adequate,” he said.

There was also disagreement between the proponents and some of those who made public comments about what would be adequate depth, especially in light of newer model boats which they said required less draft.

About the depth, Johnson said that the lake level is regulated at Zosel Dam as set by the International Joint Commission.

“I was out there today and it was four feet, seven inches about 60 feet out. I talked to the irrigation company and they say we have to keep the lake level between (elevation) 911 and 912 and that’s the way it stays until September,” said Richard Hansen, in his public comments.

The Oroville-Tonasket Irrigation District manages Zosel Dam for the state Department of Ecology which must abide by the terms set in an international treaty between the U.S. and Canada.

“You just have to go slow (in your boats), I have to do that at my house too. You have to deal with what you own,” added Hansen.

“For what God and Mother Nature gave us we need to use boats and rafts that are suitable for the lake,” said Mike Cantwell, former president of the LOA.

“There are some wonderful homes going in, but in areas where it is hard to launch a raft or inner tube. People have got to realize these things when they buy on the lake. I’d hate to see a precedent set.”

Waterstrat said the resort was doubling the number of boats and that to keep the impact to the rest of the lake down, the dock should be pulled in towards shore a ways from where they are requesting.

“That’s the fair way to do it,” he said.

Diane Hansen asked what the cut off would be if the resort added more units, would they then want a bigger dock with more slips?

“The plat allows for a maximum of 34 units. They’re capped at 34 and currently they have 24,” Johnson replied.

The lake narrows considerably near the resort where it goes back into the river channel. Diane Hansen also voiced concerns that a bigger dock would have an impact on the city’s Veterans Memorial Park just across the lake.

“We also have a no wake zone that begins near there,” she said.

About the question of depth, Councilman Jon Neal asked the resort representatives if they had entertained the idea of dredging.

“Have you checked into getting a permit to dredge?” asked Neal.

The answer was that they hadn’t as there was concern about the costs above what the permitting process was for the dock expansion.

“I use the lake quite a bit and would hat to see another ‘finger’ stuck out there,” said Neal.

Councilman Ed Naillon said he didn’t have adequate information to make a decision based on the Shorelines Master Plan.

“There has been some concern from the community about big docks accumulating on the lake. One thing to consider is these multi-family developments and the desire for community docks over several single docks,” said said Chris Branch, Oroville’s director of Community Development. “If you look at Google Earth and at some of the lakes around the state that are much smaller… there is definitely a cumulative impact.”

“The city annexed the site a few years ago and implemented the Shoreline Master Program. This gives us a chance to take and administrative decision, but we felt we should give it to the council for a public hearing,” said Branch.

He suggested the hearing remain open until the next meeting in order to get further public comment and that the mayor and council refrain from discussing the matter outside of the public hearing.

“If there is further testimony at the next hearing we would just hope that it is not repetitive of what’s been said tonight, especially the things that are not factual – like rumors of additional development,” said Branch. “We have to deal with factual information.”

Councilman Naillon said the people who are going to make the right decision have to be comfortable with the data.

“I’m going to get my hands wet and do some measuring myself,” he said.

The public hearing will resume at the Tuesday, July 21 council meeting which begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 1308 Ironwood.