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Residents calling for changes in rafting ordinance

The Lake Norman Marine Commission heard from concerned residents from The Point Lake and Golf Club about making revisions to its rafting safety ordinance at Monday night’s meeting.
A public hearing will be held in July on the rafting ordinance with a decision being made Aug. 1.
Rafting is defined as “anchoring, mooring, tying, fastening, linking or joining of any combination of six or more vessels together in close proximity with one another,” according to the current Lake Norman Marine Commission rafting ordinance.
The rafting is allowed only when conducted 50 yards from the main inhabited shoreline or permanent structures.
There was one exception made for an area off Shearwater Point in Mecklenburg County known as the Sandbar. Rafting of more than two boats is not permitted unless conducted at least 300 yards from the main shoreline.
This exception was made after complaints from neighbors who said there was noise and partying.
Now the party place for boaters is Cocktail Cove, near The Point, off Brawley School Road in Iredell County.
Hundreds of boaters all “raft” up and consume large amounts of alcohol. There have been many complaints about littering, foul language, public urination and people exposing themselves.
Residents from The Point complained Monday evening on what can be done to fix the problem.
In order to try and stop the large crowds, the party was going to try and move to Marker D5, a centrally located area with shallow water that is away from some of the homes.
Linda Uphoff, a resident in Cocktail Cove said no one is moving to Marker D5. She said she thinks Aug. 1 is too far away to make a decision.
“That is six to seven weeks from now and things are not getting better at all,” she said. “Something has to be done on a temporary basis.”
Bob McKenzie, another resident of Cocktail Cove, said it is actually getting worse due to all the public attention.
“There is a whole new group of boaters now,” he said.
But Reece said he does not want to put a ban on rafting, and law enforcement is doing all they can right now.
He wants to find a permanent solution.
“We want to get the problems out of people’s faces,” he said.
He also said he wants to find a way to make everyone happy.
“We want to find a solution that works lake wide,” said Chairman Randy Reece.
Reece said the Marine Commission did not pick Cocktail Cove and does not support any location on the lake.
However, he said he hopes to find a place where boaters can raft up fairly and evenly.
“There is plenty of places to raft without being 20 feet off someone’s pier,” he said.
In other business:
· The final cost of the sterile grass carp which are eating up hydrilla on Lake Norman is $25,800, a smaller estimate from the $40,000 that the hydrilla committee originally thought.
· A budget amendment was made to terminate a service contract as of June 30 with Centralina Council of Governments who provide administrative support to the commission.
· Mecklenburg County was approved as the fiscal agent for the commission for the 2004-05 budget. by Amy Wadsworth

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