Dec 01, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
After 18 years of having seasonal boat docks adjacent to the stone pier at Clift Park, the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce is proposing the installation of a new dock that would be permanent, larger, more attractive and, with an L-shaped configuration, more protective of boats from waves than the current dock.
After spending 10 years and $6,000, the chamber formally pitched the idea to the village board of trustees at its Nov. 29 meeting, and asked for official support from the village as well as the board’s willingness to serve as lead agency as the project goes forward.
“We are not asking you for any money,” said chamber member Sarah Wiles, who, along with chamber executive director Sue Dove, presented the idea to the board. “We are a careful, conservative, caring group, not interested in a project over our heads. I guess we’re asking you to trust us.”
The chamber has been in charge of the Clift Park dock since 1995, when it, with the help of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Show, obtained permission, bought materials, built and installed the current seasonal dock system. The docks have been used by residents, visitors and the boat show since then, but for years the chamber has believed a more permanent dock was necessary for boater and boat safety and security, as well as community aesthetics.
The conceptual design for the new dock is to have it run where the seasonal dock currently extends: parallel, but not connected to, the stone pier. But where the seasonal dock ends about three-quarters of the way down the pier, the new dock would run all the way to the end of the pier – a total of about 500 feet.
At the end of the pier, the dock would then turn west to extend until it ends opposite the public swimming area. This perpendicular extension is intended to act as a seawall – built with 18-to-20-inch-high wave attenuators – to protect docked boats from large wave activity.
The dock itself would be free-floating but anchored, about eight feet wide, 15 inches from the water, with its construction materials yet to be determined, according to concept plans.
“Right now we’re truly at the concept stage; nothing has been engineered,” Wiles said.
The chamber has been working with the Moffatt & Nichol engineering firm and McCord Snyder Landscape Architecture for the preliminary designs that were presented to the village board, according to concept plans.
The village trustees liked the idea of a new dock in general, but had concerns about the conceptual plans.
Trustees Jim Lanning and Marc Angelillo both stated they were uncomfortable over the western extension of the dock obstructing the view of the lake from Clift Park. Lanning asked if the extension could be shortened to minimize its impact, and Angelillo said he would not want the west wing to be permanent at all.
“As a user of the docks, my concern is that you’d be looking at a marina most of the summer,” Angelillo said.
Trustee Mary Sennett also had concerns with the westward dock extension and its effect on traffic flow of boats entering and exiting the dock. The new design would force boats to access the docks by motoring close to the public swimming area, whereas currently boats typically come in from the end of the pier.
At the end of the presentation, Wiles and Dive asked that the village board consider the request for a board resolution of official support for the project, which they said they do not need for a month or two – until they start talking with the other government agencies involved and seeking funding.
At the end of the board’s meeting, about 30 minutes later, Angelillo returned to the question of the new dock proposal, and said he did not understand why the chamber even asked the board’s support. “We don’t have jurisdiction over any of this,” he said.
Village Attorney Michael Byrne wondered if the chamber understood the enormity of the proposed project, stating that they will need to get assurance, in writing, from the City of Syracuse, which owns the actual property. He said when the concrete pier was built years ago, that issue went all the way to the desk of the mayor of Syracuse.
“This is a big deal. I think it’s bigger than they expect,” Byrne said.
Trustee Sue Jones said the chamber also needs to get local support for the project, and without that, everything else could be a “waste of time.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.