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Hearing today on dock plans

Wed., May 11, 2011

An application to build 28 commercial boat docks on the lower St. Joe River – the second large-scale application in recent months – will be presented to the Idaho Department of Lands tonight at 6 p.m. at the Federal Building in St. Maries.

The agency approved an application in February to build 21 docks on the river just below the St. Joe City bridge, about 13 miles upstream from St. Maries.

Landowner Peter Nemeth is seeking permission tonight to build 28 docks about three miles upstream from St. Maries.

Public hearings are not normally scheduled, but they were requested by area property owners, said Jim Bennett, state lands resource specialist in St. Maries.

“Public hearings are very important in determining the decisions,” he said, noting that no formal quotas on docks or boating congestion have been established.

The 15-mile stretch of river upstream from St. Maries already has more than 100 docks, he estimated.

The director of Idaho Lands will decide whether to approve the new application within 30 days.

Janet Lake, of Kellogg, who’s owned a camper lot on the lower St. Joe since 1991, said she’s concerned about the congestion, safety and erosion issues arising with continued dock development.

“There are no restrictions at this point,” she said. “Without input from the community, neither the Department of Lands nor Benewah County is doing anything to get a handle on development.”

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