City, DNR, owner work together for dock’s future

(Above) The 300-foot dock at Sunset Bay Marina provides slips for 36 boats, rather than the 70 once occupied under former ownership.-Reporter photo.

by Marianne Gasaway

A commercial dock has been preserved and businesses are expected to be announced soon at the former Sunset Bay Marina site at 2721 S. Lakeview Drive.

Owner Alex Yohn said he is not ready to release details of the potential shop, office and Airbnb he intends to operate, but confirmed the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has again granted a 300-foot commercial dock permit at his site, just north of Clear Lake State Park.

The future of the dock and accompanying business was in serious doubt in 2017 after the DNR announced its agreement with former owner Dale Entner was null and void following Entner’s death in 2017.  His son, Tim Entner, continued to operate the commercial dock, but it faced the possibility of losing its commercial status.   Tim Entner passed away in October 2017 and the property was purchased by Alex Yohn, who had also been an advocate for maintaining a commercial dock to help meet the needs of boaters wanting to rent seasonal slips for their vessels.

Spaces for boat lifts has long been a problem on Clear Lake.  In 2018, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department had a list of approximately 300 persons waiting for spots on public docks to open; the county’s wait list had about 250 names on it.

The dock operated by Dale Entner extended 496-feet into the lake.  Yohn’s commercial dock permit allows a 300-foot dock, which resulted in 30 persons losing their spots on the lake.  However, if Yohn had been denied a commercial dock permit, only four boat hoists would have been permitted.  Commercial docks, which must be associated with a reputable business, may have an unlimited number of hoists, only limited by the number of hoists which will fit in the space.

“We leaned heavily on the City of Clear Lake in this matter,” said DNR State Conservation Officer Ben Bergman.  “Local government has control over zoning and we needed the City’s guidance for that property.”

As a commercial dock, Bergman said the owner must run a boat sales, boat ser-

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