Lanesborough seeks to give residents better access to Pontoosuc Lake
LANESBOROUGH -- A committee seeks to liberalize the town’s prohibitive bylaws pertaining to docks, rafts, buoys and moorings in rights of way along Pontoosuc Lake.
Many residents oppose the current bylaw, drafted and ratified in 2012, and spurred the formation of a 10-plus member committee to replace it.
The 2012 law prohibited the structures in rights of way.
"It needed to be a little more sensitive to the difference between private and public [rights of way]," said Robert Barton, a member of the committee.
A long time in the works, the replacement law about to be proposed would open up avenues for residents to apply for docks in private and neighborhood rights of way. The committee hopes to ready it for this year’s annual town meeting.
The law sets terms by which neighbors can approve one another’s plans for docks in neighborhood rights of way, where the lakeside property owners might be just one or two families, but other nearby homeowners often possess lake access rights written into their property deeds.
Those seeking a dock, raft, buoy or mooring in a neighborhood right of way would then require a permit from Harbormaster Lee Hauge.
Lanesborough Conservation Commission would also oversee the new law, and could appoint panels to assist in sorting out issues related to the structures.
The law would regulate size and distance from the shoreline of these structures.
Docks in public rights of way, of which several exist, proved a contentious issue during the drafting of the prior law.
"In my mind that’s the hottest issue," Barton said. "That there could be ‘private’ dock in a public right of way."
Under the new law, docks in these areas must be shared with the general public.
Sign offs from Hauge, the Conservation Commission and the state Department of Environmental Protection, would be necessary in order to build a public dock.
"Some people believe there should be nothing in the water and others think you should just be able to do whatever you want," Town Administrator Paul Sieloff said of the new law. "I think it’s a good compromise."
The committee has also written into the law a series of violations and fines to be imposed against transgressors.
To reach Phil Demers:
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.