Lake wakes discussion washes over committee
The Property Owners Association lakes joint advisory committee talked about boat wakes during its July 19 meeting.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do today,” committee member Rick Yorman said.
The committee unanimously approved Matthew Champagne for chairman and Kelly Austin for vice chairman, while keeping Lloyd Walker as secretary.
POA staff attorney Doug McCash said the association may need to consider revising wake rules on lakes. The association has received complaints, he said, that wakes are causing property damage.
“We’ve had some complaints about wakeboard boats,” he said.
“With the additional complaints we wanted to come back and look at this again … Are our rules adequate?” McCash asked.
Yorman said it might be wise to reach out to the water sport association to discuss what sort of damage these wakes can do and how to contain them.
Currently, he said, boaters are permitted to generate wakes if they are 100 feet or more from the shore, but this is not proving adequate.
In particular, he said, wakeboard boats, which take on more water as additional ballast so they can displace more water and produce large wakes, are causing waves that can damage property and sweep people off docks.
Charlie Phillips came to the meeting to speak about the issue. He lives on Lake Ann, he said, and he sees the shoreline receding over time, largely because of wakes.
“Where I live, I see my land wash out every day,” he said. “When a big wake comes by it just clouds up and then you see the water leave.”
POA board member John Nuttall said that the best idea he has heard is simply to increase the distance at which boats are permitted to generate wakes, but this isn’t a perfect solution. Increasing that distance, he said, effectively shrinks the usable portion of the lake for anyone whose activity depends on generating one.
Wakeboarding, he said, is an activity with more appeal among younger residents, who are moving to Bella Vista in larger numbers.
Additionally, he said, regulating based on the type of boat may not be effective. As of right now, he said, there are estimated to be five wakeboard boats in the village.
McCash suggested the rules should be based on waves produced rather than the type of boat being used.