The Harris Bay Yacht Club is not getting any larger any time soon, so perhaps Lake George boats won’t either, or so opponents of the expansion plan hope.
Representatives of the Queensbury dock condominium complex withdrew their application for variances from the Lake George Park Commission’s rules at that agency’s monthly meeting, held February 27 at the Fort William Henry conference center.
The club is free to amend its current application or submit a new one sometime in the future.
According to the Harris Bay Yacht Club’s representatives, Commodore Cindy Quade and architect Tim Gallagher, the club intends to replace its 30-year-old wood docks. In the process, it hoped to widen the space between dock slips. Doing that, however, would require extending the entire complex twenty-eight feet farther into the lake.
Quade and Gallager told the Commissioners that the additional space was requested not to accommodate larger boats but, rather, “to avoid collisions and relieve congestion.”
Those who spoke in opposition to the expansion plan were not persuaded. “This application represents the tipping point for boat size on Lake George,” said Al Rider of Hague.
“The lake is not getting any bigger, and Lake George is not the place for large boats.”
Glens Falls attorney John Caffrey, whose family has owned a home on Assembly Point for decades, remarked that when his parents docked their 26-foot boat at Yardarm Marina, the predecessor of the Harris Bay Yacht Club, “it was among the largest boats there. Today it would be the smallest.”
Caffrey said the club’s existing slips “were totally adequate to its needs.”
Beverly Pozzi, also of Assembly Point, noted that as boats have increased in size, their impacts on water quality, shorelines and the safety of others have also grown.
Comments about the impacts of larger boats were submitted by Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who was unable to attend the February 27 meeting.
“Larger boats will create increased shoreline erosion and turbidity from increased draft, resulting in increased sedimentation,” Navitsky wrote. “Larger boats could also increase the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil from increasing currents, resulting in fragmentation and migration of piece.”
Al Rider said he has submitted a petition to the Lake George Park Commission requesting that it review the ramifications of larger boats on Lake George when reviewing the Harris Bay Yacht Club’s applications while, at the same time, urging it to draft new regulations addressing boat size, speed and noise.
A version of this article first appeared on the Lake George Mirror.
Photo: The Winnish, owned by LeGrand Cramer, one of Lake George’s first Auto-Boats.