Within the next month, rules further restricting alcohol consumption will take effect at Lone Star Lake.
At its meeting Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission fine-tuned and unanimously approved amendments aimed at tightening some drinking regulations and simplifying their enforcement.
The amended sections of the lake's rules and regulations regard alcohol consumption, disorderly conduct and swimming areas.
Under the new rules, consumption of alcohol will be prohibited on beaches, floating docks and on the lake.
Discussion centered on wording in an amendment that would have allowed alcohol consumption by bathers in swimming areas.
"I was under the impression that we were going to rule out alcohol in the water," Commission Chairman Louie McElhaney said.
SOME CONSUMPTION by boaters already is controlled by state laws, but commissioners and staff were concerned about whether bathers should be allowed to drink while floating on inner tubes and air mattresses, a popular activity at the lake.
"Quite frankly, I didn't know where to draw the line," said County Administrator Chris McKenzie. "I went over this with Loren (Anderson, Douglas County sheriff), and neither one of us was quite sure what your intentions were."
Too much tightening, he warned, could make enforcement more difficult.
Commissioners decided to include the water in the list of areas where alcohol consumption would be prohibited.
The amended rules also more clearly define areas where swimming and wading is allowed. The new rules will allow the lake's concession operator, his family and employees to swim within 15 feet of the floating docks at the marina. Swimming is otherwise banned in the marina area, but the lake's concession operator argued that on hot summer days employees working in the area should be able to cool off by dipping into that area of the lake.
THE NEW rules will take effect on the date of their third publication in the Journal-World, the official county newspaper.
In other action Wednesday, the commission unanimously:
Approved a request from Salvation Army to use Lone Star Lake for Jackie Johnson Memorial Triathlon. The triathlon is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. June 29.
Approved a contract with LRM Industries for completion of public roadway improvements in conjunction with the LRM asphalt plant.
Approved a staff proposal to reallocate certain positions in the public works department. The decisions to reallocate the county's civil engineer III position from grade 14 to grade 16 and deputy director from grade 15 to grade 16 was based on the county's inability to recruit qualified applicants. Both reallocations move the employees into higher wage ranges. The county has been without a deputy director of public works for about 10 months.