Douglas County Commission adopts new dock regulations for Lone Star Lake; 2 commissioners bid farewell during their final meeting

photo by: Dylan Lysen/Lawrence Journal-World

Several boat docks and decks are seen extending from private properties onto the public Lone Star Lake in southwestern Douglas County on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. The County Commission on Wednesday will consider adopting regulations that would establish rules for future dock and deck structures.

New private docks built on Lone Star Lake will now need to follow specific regulations aimed at preserving the lake and keeping the structures safe.

The County Commission on Wednesday approved new regulations related to private structures built in Lone Star Lake Park, a county-owned park in southwest Douglas County. The regulations focus primarily on the boat docks and decks extended from the private properties onto the lake’s surface, but also apply to sidewalks, stairways and retaining walls built on the county’s property, Public Works Director Chad Voigt said.

The regulations are the first installed by the county related to property owners placing private structures in the county park. Historically, the county has allowed the cabins in the area to extend boat docks and decks from their property on to the lake. But in recent years the county has been working to revamp its land use rules, including adopting new zoning and codes regulations throughout the county.


Douglas County Commission to consider establishing Lone Star Lake dock regulations

County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said the county allowing private residents to build on public land is “unusual” and the regulations give the county authority to maintain the park as it sees fit.

“The county has an interest in retaining all of the land around the lake shore so that we can make sure the lake is preserved, safe and stays healthy … for the enjoyment of all the citizens of Douglas County,” she said.

The new regulations standardize the types of structures that will be permitted on the lake, the materials allowed to build the structures and ways electricity can be provided to them, among other things.

Currently, the lake includes about 50 floating docks, five stationary docks and 13 decks, according to the county. Those structures will be permitted to continue, but if a property owner wishes to repair or replace their structures, they will need to obtain a building permit from the county and follow the new regulations.

photo by: Meeting screenshot/Douglas County Commission

The Douglas County Commission meets for a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Before approving the regulations, Commission Chair Patrick Kelly said he wanted to clarify that they are only applicable to structures on county property.

“I just want to make sure we’re clear that those out there who think we are increasing these standards on someone’s personal property, we’re really not,” Kelly said. “We’re increasing these standards on the county’s property.”

In other business, the commissioners approved a request from Trivedi Farms LLC, a farm winery at 1826 E. 1150 Road, to register its property for Tier II Agritourism uses.

The registration upgraded the farm winery from Tier I, which allows for wine tasting events, to Tier II, allowing for more activities, such as weddings. The property will have a 164-person visitor capacity.

Final meeting for two commissioners

Noting their time on the County Commission was nearing its end, Commissioners Nancy Thellman and Michelle Derusseau spent time during the meeting thanking county staff, their fellow commissioners and the community at large.

Both were serving their final commission meeting before the new commissioners, Shannon Portillo and Shannon Reid, take over the seats next week. Thellman served on the commission for 12 years, while Derusseau served for four years.

Derusseau, who grew emotional during her comments, said she enjoyed her time as a commissioner, calling it an “exciting time.” She said she’ll fondly remember working with county residents to address issues that were affecting their lives.

“Thank you to the constituents who invited me into their homes and their lives,” Derusseau said. “It’s truly been an honor and privilege to serve Douglas County,” she added.

Meanwhile, Thellman said she was grateful for her time, calling it a “gift” that has been one of the best parts of her life. She also said she is hopeful for the new commissioners coming in.

“I’m sad to leave but I’m also excited for the new commissioners,” she said. “I know the county administration and staff will welcome and mentor them to help them become the best commissioners they can be and make our county government even stronger.”

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