Boat slip shortage may worsen

(Above) The 496-foot long Sunset Bay Marina dock located near Clear Lake State Park could lose it commercial status and be trimmed to 300-feet, causing more than 30-boat owners to lose their boat slips next year.-Reporter photo.

Sunset Bay commercial dock may be lost

A Clear Lake family is hoping public support and appeals to the State government can help to save a local business and preserve much-needed boat lift space on Clear Lake.

Tim Entner, son of the late Dale Entner, said the Sunset Bay Marina located immediately north of the Clear Lake State Park Beach, may lose 30 or more boat slips next summer if the business’ agreement with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is not extended.

Entner said he has been informed that due to the death of his father, Dale, who passed away Aug. 2, 2017 the commercial dock the family has operated since the 1970s will no longer be allowed.  According to Tim, his father signed an agreement with the DNR concerning the dock, stating it was not transferrable to family members.

“We have had lawyers look at the agreement and they basically say it is iron clad,” said Tim.  “That means the dock would have to be cut back to 300-feet, causing the loss of an estimated 34 to 36 boat lifts.”

Entner said he has not received a clear answer as to whether the dock could remain “commercial” at the 300-foot length, or if it would be restricted to the four boat lifts allowed on docks of that size.  He said he has reached out to the DNR, as well as elected officials, but has not received any clear direction.

“This change will not only affect us, but it will have a great effect on the City of Clear Lake,” said Entner, pointing to the possible loss of spots for 30-plus boat owners to leave their vessels on the lake.  “Losing that many families that may not come to Clear Lake will have an impact on our tax dollars and tourism.”

Spaces for boat lifts has long been a problem on Clear Lake and it seems to be worsening.  Currently the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has a list of approximately 300 persons waiting for spots on public docks to open; the county’s wait list has about 250 names on it.

“This has resulted in families having to wait at least 10 years in order to get a space on the lake.  Adding over 30 more families will only make those lists and the waits longer,” said Entner.

The Clear Lake Boat Club, operated by Jake Kopriva, has four boat slips and a jet ski on the Sunset Bay Marina dock.   That business might also be forced off the lake.  In addition, Bob Kopriva ties his Bob’s Marine Service barge to the dock, according to Entner.

A change to the length of the 496-foot Sunset Bay dock could also result in the loss of protection the dock provides for the large swimming area at Clear Lake State Park.

“The buoys for the swimming area at State Beach are marked out to 250-feet.  On the Fourth of July we noted hundreds of boats out in the 500 to 600-foot range of the beach area, with

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