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Lake Placid mulls dock restrictions

LAKE PLACID — The village Board of Trustees is exploring the idea of crafting legislation that would restrict the use of un-encapsulated polystyrene docks on local waterbodies.

There are multiple waterfront properties in the area where there are docks floated by polystyrene — including the municipal beach — with no outer protection from wind or ice, according to Mayor Craig Randall.

“The question before us, working with the Mirror Lake Watershed Association, would be what the appropriate reaction would be,” Randall said at the village’s Monday, Nov. 16 meeting.

Randall added in a phone interview on Tuesday that debris from dock polystyrene has been seen in Mirror Lake. The idea of passing legislation or amending the land use code to address the issue came up during a discussion with the MLWA.

MLWA President Bill Billerman said polystyrene docks degrade over time, and the material can break down into chunks.

It’s not just a littering problem, he said — the material can be ingested by waterfowl and fish.

“There is an impact environmentally,” Billerman said Monday. “It can get more pervasive if we don’t do something about it.”

Randall said the village should look at the impact of dock polystyrene in Lake Placid lake, though it’s not entirely in the village’s jurisdiction. There hasn’t been a comprehensive assessment of polystyrene impact on Lake Placid lake yet.

“If this is putting stuff into the water… we take our drinking water from Lake Placid,” he said. “That would be an environmental concern we ought to at least consider and determine what the best course of action would be.”

Billerman said the association is, for now, asking waterfront property owners to consider replacing un-encapsulated polystyrene docks — “more as a request, until we get further information so we can support any action that is taken by any board,” he said.

“At least take them out for the winter,” Billerman said. Asked what property owners should use instead, Billerman said the Dock Doctors in Ray Brook would likely have alternatives.

In the case of the beach, Randall said the village would need to secure funding to improve the docks.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has jurisdictional authority over docks on certain waters across New York state, including Lake Placid and Mirror Lake, in relation to dock size, according to the DEC. The state Adirondack Park Agency also may have jurisdiction on docks that don’t meet the agency’s size restrictions. The DEC does not regulate materials used for docks, it said Tuesday.