2010-11-06 / News

Buckeye Lake issues discussed with area leaders

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE – Dams, ditches, and algae were the primary topics at the annual Leaders on the Lake luncheon at the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club in September. Leaders at the local and state level are invited.

Buckeye Lake Area Civic Association President Ron Craig hosted the luncheon and presented his thoughts on a proposed new Buckeye Lake dam.

“There are two major areas of concern as I talk to people from West Bank and North Bank about the proposed new dam construction at Buckeye Lake – new dock design and security,” said Craig. “There are more issues, but these two take front and center.” Many of the homes on the dam are a very near the water. However, the state owns the dam, which means there’s public access to the lake along the narrow strip of land between the private residences and the water.

Craig said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ new standards for docks call for a four feet by 20 feet, or a 24 feet wooden walkway – no walkway can be more than four feet wide-where a boat can be tied on either side or a boat lift can be placed beside the walkway. The new permit requires a 15 feet setback from adjacent property lines unless the adjacent property owner provides written permission otherwise.

Craig said security is the next issue. He said homeowners expect the area in front of their homes and private property to be fenced securely from the public right of way leading to the water. “If not, there will be people in front of their homes all hours of the day and night,” said Craig. Visitors also leave trash for the homeowners to collect. “Go over to Brooks Park after a Friday or Saturday night of fishing from the bank and see how much trash is left behind,” he said. “Property will be vandalized.”

Craig said there’s been some discussion about the State of Ohio or the ODNR reimbursing landowners some of the cost to rebuild their docks, but it’s only a discussion. “We all know what the financial situation is for the State of Ohio now,” he said.

Buckeye Lake Area Civic Association members, said Craig, are asking elected officials to support west and north bank property owners’ ability to have a say in the process of rebuilding new docks after their existing docks are removed, and a say in their property’s security after the dam is complete. “If you are an elected official and meeting with the powers that be at the ODNR, these are a couple of issues that are ‘givens’ and anything less is not acceptable,” said Craig. He said currently there is no timeline for replacement of the existing dam because of a lack of funding; a new dam would cost ten of millions of dollars.

Craig added that it will likely be a year before the state addresses clearing growth and debris from Seller’s Point.

Buckeye Lake Area Civic Association Dam Committee Chair Krieg Babbert addressed the status of the Seller’s Point spillway flood correction project and its lack of progress during the past five or six years. He also discussed the lack of communication surrounding the proposed dam. Babbert said that in a recent Denison University student-led survey, 48 percent of those who live on the dam were unaware that the ODNR has plans for it and 57 percent want more access to ODNR information. He said 71 percent of those who live on the dam are not satisfied with plans to compensate for lost docks and 60 percent expressed strong concern for ways in which a new dam may affect the local economy.

Babbert reviewed a 50-year historical flooding timeline and steps taken to correct flooding. He said major flooding occurs roughly every 10 years, adding that a lack of public information and participation in the process prevents progress.

Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow President Art Lowe discussed Grand Lake Saint Mary’s problem with blue-green algae and its devastating economic impact. Lowe said businesses are closing and real estate values have plummeted. Lowe said Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow started a water quality-testing program for 16 sites on Buckeye Lake and its tributaries. The samples are sent to Heidelberg University for analysis and the results are compared with ODNR and Ohio EPA information to prevent Buckeye Lake from experiencing Grand Lake Saint Mary’s problems.

Past Buckeye Lake Area Civic Association President Merv Bartholow commented on the fledgling Inland Lake Caucus in the Ohio leglislature.

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