After another 70 minutes’ discussion of the South China boat landing at their Nov. 6 meeting, China select board members again kicked the issue down the road (see The Town Line, May 25, p. 3; Aug. 3, p. 3; Oct 26, p. 2). This time, they added a road map.
On a 4-1 vote, with Janet Preston dissenting, board members approved a motion saying they, in cooperation with the China Lake Association, will continue investigating the town landing and will maintain it as a public boat launch, with improvements; if parking along the road contributes to erosion, they will ban parking; and they will adopt an advisory size limit on boats to be launched there.
The main issue with the landing is erosion into China Lake from Town Landing Road that leads to the lake. The road is gravel, the town-owned strip of land is not very wide and there has been inadequate ditching and other run-off diversion for many years.
Discussions have covered the value of a minimizing run-off into China Lake, which is a major contributor to area recreation and to China’s economy; neighbors’ concerns about traffic; the lack of room to park on the town property and of convenient other parking spaces; maintaining lake access for residents who do not own lakefront property and have used the South China landing for years; and providing access to a water source for volunteer firefighters and to the warden service for ice rescues.
Preston started the Nov. 6 discussion by presenting a summary of reasons to limit the landing to carry-in only, meaning people could launch only kayaks and canoes and vehicle traffic would be lessened.
Board chairman Wayne Chadwick and members Brent Chesley and Blane Casey disagreed with Preston, citing reasons to continue to keep the landing open to motorboats. Jeanne Marquis sided with Preston.
Chadwick invited audience members, present in person or virtually, to join the discussion, and several did.
The two sides disagreed over how large the boats are that currently use the South China landing and how congested China Lake’s other two landings are (that is, how much people currently using the South China landing would be inconvenienced by longer drives and longer waits).
There was agreement that run-off controls are needed, bolstered by opinions from two engineers. Town manager Rebecca Hapgood said the town had paid for a boundary survey of the town property, but the engineers had not cost taxpayers money.
There was also agreement that the landing should continue to be unpublicized. Opinion leaned toward paving the road, with appropriate slopes and diversions to prevent water from shooting down the pavement into the lake. A paved road would need less maintenance, several people said.
Select board members and China Lake Association representatives praised the past cooperation between the two groups and expressed willingness to continue to work together. After the vote, Hapgood said she will help organize their cooperation.
The Nov. 6 meeting began with two executive sessions with town attorney Amanda Meader. After the first one, select board members voted unanimously to direct her to draft a notice to Palermo town officials of China’s intention to end the two towns’ agreement letting Palermo residents use China’s transfer station (see The Town Line, Aug. 17, p. 3; Sept. 21, p. 3; and Oct. 26, p. 2).
After the second executive session, board members voted unanimously to reduce the fine for land use ordinance violations by Farmingdale construction company BHS, Inc., from $5,000 to $500.
In other business Nov. 6:
- Emergency management committee chairman Ronald Morrell and emergency management director Stephen Nichols presented copies of a 47-page emergency management plan the committee has worked on for years. They requested a discussion after board members have reviewed it.
- Board members unanimously approved three equipment requests for the public works department and the transfer station, authorizing $2,114 for plow equipment, $11,930 for a new waste oil burner and $12,895 for a new demo (demolition debris) can (50-yard metal container). Hapgood said money will come from the respective capital reserve accounts.
Because the meeting ran longer than usual, two agenda items were postponed, a report from Delta Ambulance and Chadwick’s recommended discussion of town-owned Bradley Island in China Lake’s west basin.
The next regular China select board meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Nov. 20, probably at 6 p.m.