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Officials address lake 'crisis'

While questions regarding lake access and courtesy remain divisive, restoring the health of Cazenovia Lake has become a high priority of town and village officials and the Cazenovia Lake Association.

"It's gotten to a crisis point," said Village Trustee Kurt Wheeler, discussing the rapid growth of milfoil in Cazenovia Lake.

Wheeler is a member of the Lake Watershed Council, which has proposed a three-year application of the herbicide Renovate (Triclopyr) to control the increasingly problematic weed problem.

According to a letter to the community from members of the council, approximately 400 acres of the 1,100-acre Cazenovia Lake will be treated, with an estimated investment of about $1 million.

The council also said "private contributions will be an important source of funds for this initiative." At a village board meeting last week, Trustee Russ Brownback said that the state Department of Environmental Conservation permit process is underway.

At last week's meeting, Cazenovia Lake Association President Preston Gilbert said the Cazenovia Lake Association had unanimously passed a resolution supporting the process, in addition to the town and village boards.

In other lake business, Cazenovia resident Sarah Webster raised concerns about changes in the wording of village policy last August. The policy originally allowed no "fishing or other activity in close proximity (100 feet) to docks, decks, boathouses, moored boats or swimming rafts."

The policy was changed to state that such activities "should be considerate of others and their privacy."

Webster expressed disapproval with the change that she said was not adequately publicized.

Trustee Thomas Tait responded that the previous policy was "unenforceable." Brownback added that the language was changed to reflect the nature of the policy. The code of conduct is not law, said Brownback, but more a rule of etiquette.

After the meeting, Webster expressed dissatisfaction with public access to the lake. If the policy cannot be enforced, Webster asked, "What can the village offer now to justify keeping the launch public?"

Meanwhile, village trustees expressed greater concern over the overall health and safety of the lake.

"If we did nothing, some would say that the lake would be a swamp in 20 years," said Wheeler.

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