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Lakeland Village Gives Lake Elsinore Earful On Proposed Boat Dock Standards

“Lakeland Village would just as soon not get involved with the city."

The Lake Elsinore Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night saw high turnout as nearly 50 people – mostly Lakeland Village residents and property owners – showed up to hear about plans to standardize development on the water.

The commission was scheduled to vote on whether to amend the city’s municipal code that would pave the way for proposed new boat dock, boat launch and pier standards at the water’s edge.

After hearing more than an hour of commentary from nearly a dozen people in the audience, the commissioners voted 3-2 to continue the issue to their June 5 meeting in order to allow residents and property owners more time to provide feedback to the city about the proposed standards.

Commissioner Rick Morsch and Chairwoman Shelly Jordan voted against the continuation. Morsch sat on a subcommittee that worked to draft the proposed standards. He told the commission and audience there were seven meetings over the course of nine months -- including two public meetings -- regarding Tuesday’s draft proposal. 

Morsch said the proposed standards were a way of giving property owners an "off-the-shelf" template for building on the lake without the burden of a conditional-use permit. According to city documents, the proposed standards would also provide uniform safety and aesthetics on the lake.

But most in the audience had concerns and were dissatisfied with the proposed standards.

“Almost every argument has been heard over and over again,” Morsch said of the public comments heard Tuesday night. “We have had this discussion. We’re never going to find agreement on all the issues. I am reluctant to carry this on any further.”

Some in the audience said they hadn’t seen the proposed standards until Tuesday. Jordan repeatedly let public speakers exceed a three-minute time limit set for individual comments, and she allowed the commission to take questions from the audience during the meeting.

The commission’s Vice Chair Michael O’Neal, along with commissioners David Blake and John Gonzales, voted in favor of the continuation, largely to spare City Council. While amending a chapter of the city’s municipal code was up for consideration Tuesday, the details of the boat dock standards would be left to City Council.

To avoid a repeat of Tuesday night’s lengthy and sometimes contentious meeting, O’Neal said he wanted to ensure property owners’ concerns were addressed before handing off the proposed standards to City Council.

Trepidation from property owners ran the gamut from worry about the city’s permit process and annual fees outlined in the proposed draft, to unsafe design standards, a new mandate that would require the city to be named additionally insured by property owners who build onto the lake, and the perception by several in the audience that the city is trying to control unincorporated Lakeland Village.

“This was no Trojan Horse way of trying to annex Lakeland Village,” assured Pat Kilroy, Lake Elsinore’s director of Parks and Recreation. He said lake safety and aesthetics were the goal of the new standards that he contended are a “reasonable middle ground.”

But Lakeland Village resident Pete Dawson, an avid boater who serves on the all-volunteer Lake Elsinore Marine Search and Rescue, said “concessions to Lake Elsinore set a precedent” and he wanted to see more county input on the new standards.

Lakeland Village property owner Ben Butterfield concurred.

“Lakeland Village would just as soon not get involved with the city,” he said.

But City Attorney Barbara Leibold clarified that the city only has jurisdiction over the lake’s surface, as well as property within the city’s boundaries, not property in unincorporated area.

Repeatedly, Leibold reminded commissioners and the audience that the issue before them Tuesday night was whether to recommend the land use ordinance, not whether to approve the proposed boat dock standards.

Residents and property owners will have their chance to address the commissioners again on June 5 when the boat dock standards issue comes back. Those who want to submit concerns can send them to the Lake Elsinore Planning Commission (click here for email addresses).

Click here to read the proposed boat dock standards presented during the May 1 meeting.

Ace May 02, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Whoever said Lake Elsinore can dictate to County Residents what the standards for their property are?
Ken Mayes May 03, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Last I heard the city does not own the lake which is any land below 1265 ft. elevation. When the state transferred the former State Park to the city it did not include the lake itself. Someone needs to have the city produce the title to the lake if they think they can dictate what is built on the county side of the lake.
TRUTHBTOLD May 03, 2012 at 04:00 AM
EVMWD owns the water in the lake. The City of Lake Elsinore owns the bottom of the lake below elevation 1235 ft. and has the responsibility for patrolling and regulating the waters surface. Since the boat docks are in the water, they are regulated by Lake Elsinore. Everything on land i.e. ramps, storage of docks, electrical etc. in the county territory is outside Lake Elsinore's jurisdiction as is clearly stated in the new dock standards. No one is forcing anything on the owners of land in the county... only when you put a dock in the water.
Katheryn May 03, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Ken you are correct and I believe, it's important the people of Lakeland Village stop anything which Lake Elsinore promotes. It seems as if anything Lake Elsinore's Council and Planning Commission approves is substandard and can be easily overturned with an attorney doing your talking.
Ken Mayes May 04, 2012 at 03:00 AM
I guess its time to take umbrage with your comments. First off the lake is a natural body of water that has existed since before California became a state and is therefore under federal law classified a "public waterway", this is born out by topographic maps therefore public access cannot be restricted in anyway. The city of Lake Elsinore patrols the lake because they chose to provide public launch facilities and are therefore required to ensure the safety of the people using those facilities. When the state operated the campground the state provided the lake patrols otherwise it would fall on the county sheriff's office to provide patrols. As for EVMWD they have the right to distribute the waters in the lake but do not own the water. It appears that no one has wanted this water from the lake for many years do to its unsuitability for agricultural use. When I have finished reading the dock standards documents I will comment further.
TRUTHBTOLD May 05, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Ken, it may attractive to see things from your perspective, the fact is it just ain't so. While California law does allow public access to public waters, it does NOT allow the public the right to cross private property to reach those waters. Your contention that public access cannot be restricted in anyway simply isn't true. As to who actually owns the water itself, it's a little confusing. Both the City and EVMWD contribute $650,000 annually to a supplemental water fund under a comprehensive supplemental water agreement, but EVMWD does the pumping and water quality management and is charged with keeping the lake level up to 1,240 under the Lake Elsinore Management Project. Since the City pays for half of the cost to keep the lake level up, one could conclude the City has a half interest in the water.... but since EVMWD produces the water (most of it), monitor's it's quality and is charged with keeping the elevation up, it's mostly assumed they own the water.
Tonto May 05, 2012 at 02:41 AM
The County of Riverside used to annualy test all of the water flowing into the lake from storm drains but the results were so awfull they quit doing it so that the horrible pollution would not be documented. Easily verified by looking at the old records....if that haven't gone missing :)
Ken Mayes May 05, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Per the Public Trust Doctrine include in the U.S. Constitution as well as the California State Constitution any navigable waters up to high water mark that exist in the state the at the time of admission to the union are to be held by the state in trust for the people. Seeing as how Laguna Grande later renamed Lake Elsinore existed at the time of California's admission to the union it falls under these doctrines. It matters not that the city has tried to hide this fact with all they have claimed to do to enhance the lake. As to your claim that the city owns the land below 1235 ft. so what the surface of the lake is still held in public trust and therefore not owned by anyone other than the public, it matters not how much the city or the water district spend on water nature still provide far more for free. As for trespassing to gain access to the lake their are always exceptions to the law. Further more in reading the document concerning docks the first glaring error was in comparing the lake at Lake Elsinore with Canyon Lake and Big Bear Lake as these two are man-made reservoirs and not "public waterways" and this is comparing apples to oranges.
TRUTHBTOLD May 05, 2012 at 05:13 PM
You may recall some guy tried this same argument with Canyon Lake some years ago by riding his boat into the Lake from the San Jacinto River.....the key word here is "navigable" waters. The intent was to prohibit obstruction of lakes and rivers for the purpose of transportation of goods and services. The courts held that the San Jacinto River is not a "navigable" waterway and that Canyon Lake had the right to restrict access to their lake. Same goes for Lake Elsinore as far as access. As I understand the process, the boat dock committee only looked at other agencies for guidance in standards and took away only those elements that would be applicable to our lake. Big Bear does NOT allow roll in docks and Canyon Lake does NOT allow docks on properties without a physical residence, but we do in both cases. So you are right, it is like comparing apples and oranges and that is by design.
Truth Hurts May 05, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I read all PSAC minutes, all of the above comments by “TRUTHBTOLD” sound just like some of the comments in previous PSAC minutes made by the one and only Mr. Norkin. Go read them on LE's website and you will see what I'm talking about. This man thinks he is so smart. Mr. Norkin I would encourage you to run for city council in November sir, so you and Manos’s records can coincide (you just need to lose a few more times). Ah Mr. Norkin, if his brain was chocolate, it wouldn’t fill a smarty.
TRUTHBTOLD May 05, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Ya know, Ken Mayes and I are having a great intellectual conversation and "Truth Hurts" has to come along and ruin it. No, I'm not Mike and if you've been reading the blogs regarding the Citizen's Patrols you'll know he uses his real name. But thank you for associating me with Mr. Norkin because he does some really great things for this community, especially his work with Rotary and the RYLA students. I can't speak for Manos, I don't know the man...... and I won't judge him until I do.
Roberto May 05, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Presriptive rights apply. If you have a deck. A big deck or a little deck or a deck that no one likes, It should be grandfathered if built befor the standard takes place
Ken Mayes May 06, 2012 at 02:06 AM
TRUTHBTOLD you missed what I said Canyon Lake is a man-made lake and is owned and therefore can be regulated, the same goes for Big Bear Lake. Lake Elsinore is a natural lake, actually a sag pond, this lake was formed by the forces of nature and existed long before the white man and his laws showed up. At the time that California entered the union this lake was used by the indians and spaniards for fishing and canoeing making it navigable, therefore it is covered by the "Public Trust Doctrine" of the United States with the "Equal Footing Doctrine" making it applicable the all states. The San Jacinto river is not navigable because its average flow is well below the 100 c.f.s. required by law which may or may not be the case if it were not for several dams constructed over the years. Roberto currently docks on Lake Elsinore are supposed to be controlled by the Department of Boats and Waterways which is where the city got part of their funding to build the new marina. Truth Hurts if you a going to comment please try to get your facts right. Smarties not Smarty have no chocolate in them they are candy wafers.
TRUTHBTOLD May 06, 2012 at 03:26 AM
In 1952, the former Lake Elsinore Recreation and Park Dist. purchased a 35 acre lakefront site for a park. At that time, a condemnation lawsuit initiated by the Park District was also pending to acquire several other parcels which made up the lake bottom. Those parcels included a 2900 acre parcel, a pie-shaped parcel owned by the Robert McGill family that contained the Juan Machado home site and 35 other small parcels. The condemnation suit was settled when the land owners and the Park District agreed to a purchase price for the parcels. The sale was completed in March 1957, placing ownership of all land below the 1236 elevation mark under public ownership. In Sept. 1957, this land was accepted as part of the State park system, and comprised the 2900 acre lake bottom, the McGill property, 400 feet of frontage on the North shore, 47 lots facing the lake, and the 35 acre park site on Riverside Drive along with an additional 38 acres of nearby land. The area was ultimately named the Lake Elsinore State Recreation Area. The State park designation would remain in affect until 1993. In 1992, the California Legislature enacted Section 14670.67 of the Government Code authorizing the State's Director of General Services to convey the LERA to the City.
TRUTHBTOLD May 06, 2012 at 03:30 AM
That section provides that the "property be used for public park and recreation purposes in perpetuity and that park and recreation improvements conform to the Lake Elsinore State Recreation Area General Plan adopted pursuant to Section 5002.2 of the Public Resources Code...."
Tonto May 06, 2012 at 03:39 AM
The "Truth" is the Lake is a polluted muck hole that whoever is holding the bag with when people get sick in it are responsible for the law suits :(
Ken Mayes May 06, 2012 at 06:40 PM
TRUTHBTOLD your info is all very interesting reading. The one glaring omission in all the data I have gathered so far is the "Public Trust Doctrine" which would have established the level of Lake Elsinore and its high-water mark at the time of Admission to the Union on September 9, 1850 based on recollections of historical figures and rainfall data compiled by H.B. Lynch an engineer for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, August 1931 would have put the level of the lake at somewhere north of 1255 ft.. So for the State Legislature to establish 1236 ft. as an elevation for public domain smells of politics. I will continue to research this matter and pass on relevant info to interested parties. The state legislature is not infallible and are subject to undue influence in matters and have in the past been over-ruled on such matters, i.e. Mallon v City of Long Beach also the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that it is beyond the authority of the legislature to transfer away the public's rights in waterfronts.
TRUTHBTOLD May 07, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Ken, you have a very good point. The "Public Trust Doctrine" as it relates to the high-water mark is generally applied to the ocean and the tides. When the water falls below the "high-water" level, the public has access to that land between the water and the established "high-water" level. If the level of Lake Elsinore was indeed 1255 at time of the admission into the Union and is subject to the "Public Trust Doctrine" that would change the general plan and all lake overlay standards. Good job! If you find something, let me know.... I would be glad to join you into taking back public access.... I've always felt the beaches of Lake Elsinore should be open to the public... all around the lake.
Roberto May 07, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Prescriptive rights also applies to Lake front owners meaning they have alwayys had a reasonable expectation the lake front was private and belonged to them including private camp grounds. Reasonable access by the public to a public lake is already being practiced thus the beaches for public use. Altering property rights is not only detrimental to property rights but a safety hazard for property owners. Now go tell Canyon Lake they have no property rights since the water there to belongs to the EVMWD.
TRUTHBTOLD May 07, 2012 at 11:19 PM
For now, most lake front properties own property (fee title) well into the lake so they don't need an easement of any sort.And title companies are insuring the properties so there is clear chain of title. Prescriptive rights are required to be notorious and hostile and I'm not sure this fits. The State and City have long allowed this access so it certainly isn't hostile. The argument between private property rights and public access has been brewing since the beginning of time. Just ask the folks in Malibu
Ken Mayes May 08, 2012 at 12:06 AM
TRUTHBTOLD the "Public Trust Doctrine" in the United State and the State of California was expanded early on to include lakes and seasonal streams. In the last one hundred years it has expanded to include marshes and wetlands. The state has a good explanation at www.slc.ca.gov/policy.../public_trust/public_trust_doctrine.pdf and also www.envirolaw.org/documents/FAQFINALwithPCFFAedits_000.pdf. I am currently working on a blog to place on the patch asking why all of the lake was not placed into the public trust instead of just that below 1236 which leaves no shoreline for public access.
Ken Mayes May 08, 2012 at 04:14 AM
TRUTHBTOLD should also have mentioned that the time period for when a state determines what a public trust waterway consist of is stipulated in the "Equal Footing Doctrine" see www.norcalwaterfowl.com/forummisc/CANavigableWaterLaws.pdf
Mike Norkin May 08, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Hello Truth Hurts... While I would like to take credit for whomever Truthbtold is, I can assure you it is not me. I have my hands full with my own business and my family, and while I only know about this discussion because someone emailed me to tell me I was being slandered, I would appreciate it if you leave me out of whatever discussion you are having. I will not engage anyone on a blog site where people are afraid to show their true identity. My business is no secret in Lake Elsinore, and I welcome any all concerned citizens to stop in and speak to me if you feel that you have something to speak to me about. Thank You!
Wild Omar Teach May 08, 2012 at 02:01 PM
It seems like the truth did hurt. Mr. Norkin, how do you feel about the teacher's union? You have in the past raised your eyebrows on many teacher issues along with your pal Tom Thomas. Keep writing "Truth Hurts". I agree with Truth Hurts, when I read his/her comment, I spoke to some people who know you and they said no one talks like this but you. Are previous PSAC meeting minutes public record? On another note, you need to go back to school and finish your education. When something is in print, it is libel not slander. It is neither if it's the truth. I will be running against you in the next city council election. Melendez, Hickman and Weber will be out, Thomas Buckley, Jimmy Flores and I will be in.
Warner Huxtable May 08, 2012 at 10:43 PM
The city owns the lake.
Ken Mayes May 08, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Warner the city does not own the lake, this is a natural lake and is owned by nature. Some political shenanigans occurred during the 1950's that wrongfully transferred title to only the lands below 1236 ft. into the public trust. For further info on this subject see the blog posted today May 8 about the public trust doctrine as it apply's to this subject.
Roberto May 08, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Sure prescriptive rights fit. The lake level is now considered stabilized, therefore any previous easment isn't evergreen. If ya build a deck, little, big deck or a deck with a curve in it, the illegal trespasser would have to stand on your deck to git around or tresspass!
Ken Mayes May 09, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Roberto no need to worry about public access, as of now the public land is under about 6 feet of water. Hopefully that will change in the not to distant future. Read my blog about the "Public Trust Doctrine".
TRUTHBTOLD May 09, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Unfortunately, the issue of Public Trust Doctrine will have to be taken up with the State since the ownership of the lake bottom was transferred from the State to the City in 1993. If you bought a car from Joe, but Joe had stolen the car from Bob, there certainly is a cloud of ownership, but the wrongdoing was between Joe and Bob..... not you and Joe. The issue you have is: Did the State have the right to convey the lake bottom to the City in the first place? Good luck on that one.
Cat fish joe December 27, 2012 at 06:11 AM
I just want to have a dock on the land i bought with my life savings so i can go fishing, launch my boat and enjoy my retirment.without having to pay the city for nothing. i dont need them to tell me how to make it safe and to pay all that money bs that is what it is all about.

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