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Moratorium has landowners stuck


Gabe Watts of Danville says his quarter-acre shoreline property at Tulloch Reservoir is "one of the best view lots on the lake."

But despite the lot's picturesque view, Watts, 53, isn't sure he could sell it.

Watts planned a three-bed, three-bath, 2,800-square-foot, two-story house at his Poker Flat property. He also planned to build a dock, were he to buy a boat.

That was before March, when Tri-Dam Project — the utilities district that manages the reservoir — slapped a moratorium on new docks at Lake Tulloch.

"That put a hold on my plans because I'm not going to build a home without the boat dock," Watts said.

Last month, the moratorium was extended through July, and now Watts isn't sure if he could sell his property for anything close to what he paid for it.

"No builder is going to take a chance on a lot if there's a cloud hanging over whether you can build a boat dock on it," Watts said.

Unfortunately for Watts and other Tulloch Reservoir landowners, the cloud is not dissipating.

A Tri-Dam study has shown the reservoir should have no more than 116 boats or other watercraft using the reservoir at any given time for safety reasons. The same study revealed up to 176 watercraft on the reservoir on busy summer weekends in 2001.

More than 645 docks line the reservoir's shoreline, Felte said, and most of those docks hold more than one watercraft. Narrow sections of the reservoir have been relegated to 5 mph speed limits where docks line the opposing shorelines, which limits recreation opportunities such as water skiing.

Tri-Dam General Manager Steve Felte said the dock ban will stay in place until his agency has a specific plan detailing how many docks will be permitted in coming years and where they may be built.

The moratorium was extended at the Jan. 16 meeting, and lakeshore landowners objected.

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