Residents and recreators on Hayden Lake are familiar with long-standing concerns over the impact of excessive wakes on shoreline stability. Citizens have called on the County to determine a means to protect Kootenai lakes from erosion and sedimentation caused by damaging wakes. At the same time, they must preserve the ability of recreators to enjoy public waterways. Recently, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) agreed to consider a recommendation from the Kootenai County Sheriff. The resulting proposal is open for public comment and will be presented at a Public Hearing in two weeks.
Notice: Board of County Commissioners Public Hearing
to consider enacting Kootenai County Waterways Restricted Zone Designation
6:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Kootenai County Administration Building
451 Government Way
Coeur d’Alene, ID83816
The Kootenai County Sheriff has recommended amending Kootenai County Code, Section 6-2-6, to:
- establish a no-excessive wake zone along the Spokane River and on Lower Twin Lake between the 100-foot no-wake zone and a distance of 200 feet from shoreline or any dock, pier, or other structure or any person in the water; and
- establish a no-excessive wake zone on all Kootenai County waterways between the 200-foot no-wake zone and a distance of 300 feet from shoreline or any dock, pier, or other structure or any person in the water.
The term “excessive wake” shall be defined as
- the wave resulting from operating a vessel at the speed at which boats create the most wake, moving quickly and displacing the most water, i.e., plowing;
- the wave resulting from operating a vessel in an artificially bow-high manner to increase or enhance a wake, including wake enhancement by use of ballast, mechanical hydrofoils, uneven loading;
- the operating at transition speed, i.e., operating a vessel at greater than no-wake speed, but not fast enough to cause the vessel to plane;
- or the wave resulting from operating a vessel to cause water to lap onto or over a dock, pier, or other lawfully permitted encroachment.
Public Input Affects Decision-Making
The public hearing is an opportunity for Kootenai County Commissioners to hear from people who will be impacted by this decision, and learn more about the personal and technical complexity of the issue. After considering public input, according to County Commissioner Chris Fillios, the meeting will culminate in one of three outcomes: 1, the Commissioners will approve the ordinance as proposed; 2, the Commissioners will amend the resolution; or 3, they will terminate the proposed ordinance.
To provide input, citizens may submit their comments in writing before the hearing. Commissioners appreciate written input because they can – and do – review it multiple times. They can ask questions and pursue background information. Written communication is an effective means to impact the meeting’s outcome. The public may also attend the hearing and present their testimony and evidence in person. In-person testimony can afford the opportunity to convey the magnitude or depth of importance of a person’s position. Both methods can impact the BOCC’s decision.
Protocol for Public Input
While Commissioners welcome written and in-person feedback, there is a protocol to follow. In doing so, you can help the Commissioners receive and process the input, and ensure fair access by all citizens. In this time of the Covid-19 Pandemic, new protocol is also evolving to ensure the safety of elected officials, their staff, and the public. For this particular public hearing, the venue capacity is limited to 24 people. If there is overflow, individuals will be asked to wait outside until called in to speak. The hearing will also be viewable via Zoom or YouTube streaming. Watch the Kootenai County Government homepage, Latest News section for updates. Direct questions to the BOCC office at 208-446-1600.
The Hayden Lake Watershed Improvement District encourages residents and lake-visitors alike to read the proposed ordinance change. Please take this opportunity to provide feedback to the County Commissioners whether you are in favor of, opposed to, or you wish to see adjustments made to the resolution. The Commissioners do want to hear from you.
References - find more on the web:
BOCC Resolution- Kootenai County Waterways Restricted Zone Designation
Kootenai County Waterways Code