Should the city ban citizens from having new private docks in the NW corner of Lake Decatur?
At its March 21 meeting, the Decatur City Council will consider a lease agreement with the Decatur Park District and G&H Marine to provide for at least 40 new opportunities for people who want to dock their boats on Lake Decatur. Given that the city has prohibited new docks along the NW corner of the lake for many years now, there is likely to be high demand for these new, covered docks. Hopefully, demand will be great, and even more docks will be built in the near future.
While a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) associated with this lease was approved on December 6, the lease agreement to be voted on March 21 has fundamentally changed since the MOU was approved. The insertion of an “Exclusion Zone” provides monopoly control for the building of all new docks to a single business while prohibiting the building of new private docks by citizens in remaining unoccupied parts of the NW corner of the lake. The large exclusion zone is between Lost Bridge Rd. to Rt. 36 (i.e., runs from the Commodore Decatur Yacht Club to the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater).
The exclusion zone will eliminate opportunities for those with limited means access to all of the opportunities that Lake Decatur has to offer for at least the next 20 years. The rental fee for the docks was not provided to the city council, however, similar docks on the lake have an annual rental fee of $1,495. In Macon County median household income is $52,300 overall with median household income of Black Americans being $25,800. Thus, the cost of renting these new docks may be prohibitive for most Macon County residents and particularly, black residents. Given the health benefits to being outdoors and in nature, and the poor health metrics of county residents, greater access to the lake is the better approach.
Furthermore, the city of Decatur should not grant monopoly power to a single business, particularly given the lake’s potential to be a tremendous benefit for all residents. While it is exciting that demand for docks on the lake has grown, one of the reasons for this demand is that the city has prohibited new private docks from being installed for many years. Furthermore, under this agreement, pre-existing boat clubs would not be able to build new docks when their membership grows.
Lake Decatur is a tremendous resource and one that should be accessible to all. The creation of an exclusion zone unnecessarily limits who can use the lake to the detriment of many.
Should the city exclude private docks from unoccupied portions of the NW corner of Lake Decatur? What do you think and why?
ALLOWING FOOD TRUCKS IN DOWNTOWN DECATUR TO BE DISCUSSED
The 10-item agenda will also include a discussion of whether food trucks should be allowed in downtown. In my view, food trucks should be permitted in the central business district. The more food options that are available for Decatur residents in the areas that people frequent, the better the quality of life for the citizens and the more customers for businesses in those areas. Competition is important for consumers as it can lead to lower prices and higher quality products and services.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Meetings take place at 5:30 PM in the council chambers located on the third floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.