More than 100 residents – most of them from Lakeland Village – turned out at Lakeland Village School Wednesday night to hear about Lake Elsinore’s proposed boat dock standards that would potentially affect all property owners around the lake.
lasted nearly two hours, but the overwhelmingly consistent message from the county residents boiled down to these few words: “We want a voice. We don’t want Lake Elsinore imposing standards on us.”
Meeting co-hosts Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale and Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster took notice.
spent months drafting the current standards, Tisdale conceded the issue would need to start over at square one.
“I think there were some mistakes made…,” he said of the process, namely not reaching deep and wide enough into the Lakeland Village community.
In order to restart, the mayor and supervisor both acknowledged that Lakeland Village residents need to play a larger role in future discussions about the lake and any proposed standards.
Many residents in attendance Wednesday had no idea what the proposed standards looked like and hard copies of the documentation were not made available at the town hall.
“We’ve never seen the standards,” was an often-heard complaint during the meeting.
For those who had seen the documentation, there was no support, although one Lake Elsinore resident said he wanted standards because he has seen docks destroyed during harsh weather conditions. Many of the residents were longtime Lakeland Villagers with extensive knowledge about lake conditions. They expressed concerns that the standards were cost-prohibitive to property owners and offered no improved safety assurances.
Several residents suggested that any proposed standards should allow for “roll-up” docks that can be taken in and out of the water. The residents said the lake’s ever-changing water level and sometimes-harsh weather conditions make roll-ups the most cost-effective and safest alternative.
Still, most residents complained that Lake Elsinore’s reach into the unincorporated area is already too great.
“We don’t have a voice,” said Dave Hamilton of Vista del Lago.
Supervisor Buster conceded the issue “is not an easy knot to unravel.”
Currently, Lake Elsinore claims rights over the water’s surface; Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District claims control of the water itself; city residents own shoreline property within Lake Elsinore and county residents own shoreline property on the unincorporated side of the lake.
Lake Elsinore has expressed its desire to standardize the boat docks for safety and aesthetic reasons. But Lakeland Village shoreline resident Pete Dawson, who also serves on the Lake Elsinore Marine Search and Rescue, says one entity trying to assert control is asking for problems, including potential court battles.
“Are you sure you want to get into this can of worms?” Dawson asked the mayor.
“No,” was his reply.
Dave Stahovich, Buster’s chief of staff, was at Wednesday’s town hall. He said he’s attended recent meetings on the boat dock standards and had cautioned Tisdale that Wednesday’s meeting would be contentious.
“I warned the mayor he was entering into a real hornet’s nest,” Stahovich said.
Tisdale and Buster said they were aware of the discontent but felt it was important to work with the residents.
“We’re a community. If we work together, we can resolve the issues,” Tisdale said.
The mayor promised the audience his city would not be moving forward with the existing standards and said the next step would be bringing all concerned parties to the table to hammer out a possible solution. The only other Lake Elsinore City Council member present Wednesday was Bob Magee.
After the meeting, Lakeland Village resident Linda Ridenour said she is hopeful that her community will have a voice on any future proposal and expressed gratitude toward the mayor and supervisor for putting on the town hall.
Dawson offered that he is “cautiously optimistic,” but said his property rights should prevail.
“My dock is anchored on my land,” he said. “Their water has inundated my land.”