BOAT BATTLE: Prior Lake residents seek to sink marina expansion

BOAT BATTLE: Prior Lake residents seek to sink marina expansion

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Even though boating season won't begin for another six months, a battle is already brewing in Prior Lake over a proposed marina expansion that would double the number of slips at Boudin's Bay.

Residents who live on the far northeast corner of Prior Lake say no way to the plan to add 46 slips to a marina that already has 50 -- and those hold a third of the boats in the entire bay.

Not only would the expansion nearly double the marina's capacity, but it would also extend the docs nearly across the lake. That's not sitting well with some.

"This bay was a very, very quiet place back then," reflected Boudin's Bay President Denny English, who says the lake looked much different not too long ago. "There was very little boat traffic here. It was very peaceful and quiet."

Two years ago, the marina housed just 25 boats. By the next spring, it had doubled in size and stretched more than 300 feet.

"This totally impacts us," John Farmer told Fox 9 News. "All we see are docks, and they're going to practically double it. Half the bay will be docks."

If the owner of the Water's Edge Marina gets his way, the length of the dock may double to more than two football fields.

"It will be all dock from here on," English demonstrated. "So, it will be just dock and boats for all we can see from here."

Yet, as crazy as the plan may look, most properties along the lake don't extend much beyond the shoreline. Meanwhile, the marina owner actually owns all the land underneath the proposed expansion.

"This bay, prior to 1964, was not a bay," Dan Rognes, with the city of Prior Lake, explained. "It was dry land with some minimal water features -- wetlands."

In fact, the property lines show that many private docks in the bay are actually on his property. Even so, the city says that doesn't give the owner the right to do whatever he wants.

"The public waters part of this supersedes the land underneath," Rognes said. "It's still public water."

On Monday night, the Prior Lake Planning Commission took public comments from dozens of concerned citizens to get input before issuing a conditional use permit.

During that hearing, the owner of the marina was asked why he wanted to add so many slips. He replied that he could have put a few more in, but didn't want to "push it." The crowd snickered in response.

In the end, city officials opted to table the decision, allowing more time to consider how they will proceed.

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