Thursday, August 18, 2022

City should deny dock variance request on lake

| July 6, 2022 1:00 AM

They want what they want, and everyone can deal with it.

Birch Hill, a homeowner’s association south around the lake from The Lodge at Whitefish Lake requests a variance from the City of Whitefish (first the request goes to the Whitefish Lake Association) to extend its dock out 20 more feet. Neighbors say the reason for the extension is adding more and bigger boats.

The City Planning Staff recommends denial. Of course. It’s a protection committee. And only makes common sense to keep children and small watercraft out of the traffic.

I live two houses west of Birch Hill’s beach and know the dangers of boating on Whitefish Lake. In 1970, my father died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage after a drunk boater rammed into my parents’ smaller boat in front of his house — where I live today.

Only about six years ago, Sean Averill, manager of the Lodge asked the City Council to extend his dock 20 more feet for his marina. At the meeting, I said, “Let’s everybody on Monks Bay extend their docks 20 feet. We wouldn’t need a lake or boats — we can just walk out and meet in the middle of the bay!”

The City Council denied the Lodge variance. But if the city grants Birch Hill’s request, you know the Lodge will be back.

Birch Hill needs to follow the rules, which include riparian boundaries. Around a bay, one can imagine the properties narrowing like pieces of pie. But Birch Hill told the lake committee that riparian boundary laws do not matter.

Don’t let them have what they want when it will only make Whitefish Lake more dangerous.

The Whitefish Lakeshore Committee meets on this issue on July 13 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Judy K. Pettinato, Whitefish

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