Winsor Green condo docks approved

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Naples resident David Clavette values his view of Brandy Pond.

In fact, the waterfront view is one of the reasons he decided to purchase the property on the pond, he said.

Brandy Pond is also the reason many families and couples own real estate at Winsor Green Condominiums in Naples.

For years, Brandy Pond residents have been accustomed to the more than 100-foot-long twin docks that allow the condominium residents to easily enjoy boating activities.

This summer, the south dock will be three feet longer – as opposed to alternate plans to extend it out another six to eight feet by angling the dock.

“We compromised,” said Naples Planning Board Chairman Larry Anton.

“We allowed them to go another three feet. It will allow them more room between the fingers for boats,” he said.

Also, the shorter and straight-out extension will be less bothersome to the neighbor’s view of the pond.

“In a case like this, you have to compromise,” Anton said.

Recently, it was discovered that the longtime docks were not in compliance with Naples’ ordinances. Technically, any dock that is more than 100 feet in length requires the approval of the planning board, which can legally give dock-owners an allowance of up to 200 feet from shore, according to Chairman Anton.

What was illegal about the Winsor Green docks is that the project had received an okay from the former code enforcement officer instead of the planning board about two summers ago.

Also, years ago, the planning board approved designs for the two docks to be built 100 feet long. But, over the years, additions to the docks increased that footage, bringing them out of compliance because it was an alteration of the originally approved plans, Anton said.

On April 1, the planning board deemed the docks legal, and the condo association was permitted to add three feet to the south dock.

The planning board voted, 4–0, to approve the dock extension after looking at a couple potential plans, including angling the south dock.

Board member Kevin Rogers refrained from both the vote and the discussion. Rogers co-owns Caretake America, Inc., and his brother manages the property, including dock maintenance, for the condo association, he said.

Prior to the vote, the board reviewed Google Earth photographs depicting how the potential extensions to the dock would appear.

Engineering Manager Steve Merriam, of Great Northern Docks, provided the consultation and designs for the docks. Merriam said he created the angled design with the abutting neighbor’s viewscape in mind.

The Winsor Green Condominium Association President Arnold Cohen said he wanted the longer dock mainly because shallow water made it impossible for anyone to dock their boat at the first finger from the shoreline.

The dock would still anchor the same number of boats, he said.

Neighbor Clavette’s biggest concern was losing his line-of-sight — if a longer dock was built.

“I would invite anyone to come to my home, and look at it. I would keep the docks the way they are,” he said.

“I swim in that area, too,” he said.

He said that the boaters have been courteous, and it has not bothered him that the docks were out of compliance with local law.

“All I am asking is that they keep it the same,” he said.

“It’s the line-of-sight. I am looking at a line of boats — it affects the value of my home,” Clavette said.

While reviewing the dock designs, board member Jimmy Allen said, “If you twist the south dock, the stern or bow of the southernmost boat will be more in the line-of-sight.”

After several more minutes of discussion, Cohen asked the board, “Allow me to build the dock so it goes out three feet more. It’ll go straight out, instead of having an angle.”

According to Anton, dock-related projects come before the planning board about once or twice a year.

“Sometimes, it is a big deal, especially when abutters are involved,” he said.

Lake Sebago Estates Home Owners Association came forward with a plan in recent years. There were no problems with approving docks for Camp Takajo on Sebago Lake and Loon’s Haven Family Campground on Trickey Pond, he said.

The issue arises when owners of back lots try to put in a dock for use on their deeded waterfront access.

“What happens with subdivisions on lakes is there are all these back lots that have rights-of-way to the beach. There are more back lots than there is room to build docks on the beach,” he said.

He explained that 20 or 30 years ago that protocol was a way to keep beachfront from being overdeveloped by spreading cottages or homes between spaces near the water and on the lot across the access road.

“Last year, someone came into a planning board meeting. They had 14 houses on Route 302, and they wanted a dock on 30 feet of frontage,” he said.

A person needs 25 feet of waterfront right-of-way for one power boat, Anton said. Therefore, a property owner with 100-foot frontage could feasibly fit four power boats there, he said.

Anton said with the current rules, a right-of-way to the water cannot be granted to a property owner unless it has at least 50 feet of shoreline frontage.

 

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