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Low turnout at rafting ordinance hearing

CORNELIUS – A handful of residents came to speak out about the potential changes to the Lake Norman Marine Commission rafting ordinance at Monday night’s meeting held at the Cornelius Town Hall.
This will be the third change to the ordinance if it occurs. The rafting ordinance has been in effect for 10 years or more.
“Last year we made some changes due to some problems on the lake,” said commissioner Terry Davis, who covers Mecklenburg County. “Some of these changes have not worked out.”
Problems on the lake have occurred near the Sandbar for years, a cove near marker D4 where many boaters raft up to party, drink and play loud music. There have also been problems with nudity and hollering at homeowners, Davis said.
Rafting is defined as the anchoring, mooring, tying, fastening, linking or joining of vessels that are in close proximity with one another.
The current rafting ordinance summarizes the number of vessels that can raft together and based on the number, how far from the shoreline or from other vessels the “rafted vessels” must be located.
The draft of the rafting ordinance states that rafting of two vessels may be conducted within 300 yards of the shoreline. It also states that vessels must be at least 50 yards apart from any other vessel or groups of vessels tied or anchored. Rafting of more than two vessels will only be allowed at a distance of 300 yards or greater from the shoreline.
The current ordinance states that one to two vessels may be within 100 yards of the shoreline and at least 50 yards from any other vessel or group of vessels.
“We want to push the boat further from the shoreline to have some buffers between the neighbors and boaters,” Davis said. “The noise is the main problem.”
The new ordinance is an attempt to make the rafting regulations simpler.
“I don’t know if it will work 100 percent but there has to be a better solution to what we have now,” he said.
“Shoreline,” which is now defined as the full pond contour as defined by 760 feet elevation, may be changed to include that “islands are not included.”
The $100 fee for a violation of the rafting ordinance may be changed to a $50 fee.
Special event permits may be issued by the Commission that will allow rafting in areas where rafting is otherwise prohibited.
A $50 application will be required and completed; currently there is a fee of $100. The draft also reads that an application for a rafting event must be in 45 days before the event. The ordinance currently reads 60 days.
Nate Davis, who started the Web site LKNFun.com, which is geared towards boaters on the lake, is not happy about the proposed changes.
“I understand the problem but it is not the best solution,” Davis said. “With the permit how long is it going to take to approve it? Also why should be have to pay when we want to just spend one night on the boat?”
In other business, the commission:
· Is working on the noise study status, dealing with the loud boats on the lake
· Confirmed the cost of the sterile grass carp at $6,400. Requests to Duke Power, Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities and other counties will be sent out to ask them for donations
· Approved the relicensing recommendations for consideration by stakeholders involved in the Catawba-Wateree Hydro Project relicensing. Some of the recommendations include putting more access areas on the lake and requesting Duke Power put together some language on island usage
· Thanked the Lake Norman Ski Club for submitting a $500 check to the Adopt-a-Navigational Aid program, which assists with keeping the lake lit
Approved a rafting event application for a party on the lake that will have 1,500 people. A diagram was submitted to show how the boats will raft up.
by Amy Wadsworth

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