No more mooring overnight
Boat owners who have gotten used to being able to leave their boats tied up to public piers on Donner Lake overnight may soon find $100 tickets waiting for them if they continue to do so.
Spurred by residents’ complaints about boat owners violating the current ordinance that allows boats to be tied to public piers for no more than 48 consecutive hours, the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District’s board of directors last month voted unanimously to restrict boat tie ups to 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Disallowing overnight mooring will allow for easier enforcement of the ordinance, according to park district General Manager Steve Randall, without restricting boat owners’ ability to enjoy the piers during the day along with everyone else.
“If you drive down [Donner Pass Road] on a typical summer day, most of those piers are being used by people ” sunbathers or whatever the case may be. And when you have a boat that’s tied up to it, it kind of says ‘This is my pier and you can’t use it,'” Randall said. “That’s the mentality that we’re trying to change.”
Randall said he has received close to a dozen letters from residents complaining about boats moored for days on end at public piers over the past couple of years.
Donner Lake resident Claudia Garrison, who lives across from one of the public piers with her husband, Tim, is one of those letter writers. She said she has witnessed first-hand how the abuse of the current 48-hour mooring ordinance affects the use of the piers.
“When someone ties their boat up, people who aren’t knowledgeable about the piers being public think they can’t go out on the piers,” Garrison said. “Last summer … there were about six or seven different piers where people had chosen to tie their boats up. And a lot of times, when they tie them up, those ropes make it totally impossible for you to swim, get on and off the pier, and really enjoy the pier.”
Garrison said she’s seen boat owners go so far as to install their own tie-down cleats to the public piers to make it easier to tie up a boat.
Others at Donner Lake do not see the current situation as a problem, and find the park district’s decision to restrict mooring to between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. as overkill.
“It seems like we currently have a 48-hour ordinance that works and I’m wondering why they’re creating a new one that doesn’t make a whole lot of difference other than it creates a little more ill will with the residents,” said Emilie Kashtan, a second homeowner at Donner Lake.
“My feeling is the police seem to have their hands full doing their job of police enforcement [all over town], and I don’t know that they need the additional role of running around ticketing boats that are tied up quietly at a dock,” she said.
What really is needed is more enforcement on the lake for inappropriate boat and Jet Ski activity that Kashtan said goes on.
Kashtan said she was concerned that requiring boat owners to launch and pull out their boats each day will create additional traffic at the already crowded public boat ramp. And she claims that in the 16 years she has had a house at Donner, she has heard of few problems related to boats tied up to public piers.
Both Kashtan and Garrison hope to encourage concerned residents to attend the next park district board meeting, scheduled for April 14 at 6 p.m. at the Truckee Donner Community Center, where the board will hear a second reading of the proposed ordinance change and will listen to public comment on the issue.
If the board upholds the ordinance change on April 14, the new regulation will go into effect 30 days later ” in time for the busy summer season at Donner Lake.