Lake Lanier residents against public dock 

Published 10:57 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Town says it is looking into requirements with attorney 


LAKE LANIER—Several Lake Lanier residents came to Tuesday’s Tryon Town Council meeting to let the town know they are against the town building a public dock there.  

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After a lengthy discussion with residents, commissioner Bill Ingham said if the town has to do all the things the residents say it will have to, residents do not have to worry about the town installing a public dock.  

Dave Gunter, representing the Lake Lanier Civic Association, said the association is concerned about the town’s suggestion to put in a swim dock on the lake. He requested a meeting with members and the town to discuss the proposal.  

Last month, commissioner Bill Crowell requested the town research placing a dock on the town’s property near the dam for taxpayers in Tryon to be able to use the lake to place a kayak or fish from there.  

Crowell said on Tuesday he has heard that request from numerous citizens since the town owns the lake and has to maintain it with Tryon taxpayer money. He said it is the town’s property and the town owns the lake from the earth to the sky. He says the town pays to maintain the dam and he thinks it is a great idea. Crowell also said the town has lost money on lawsuits concerning the zoning.  

Lake Lanier is located in Greenville County, South Carolina, but the water and lake bed is owned by Tryon, North Carolina.  

“We have to hire an attorney if your neighbor is building a boathouse too big,” Crowell said. “I don’t see the problem of having six to eight kayakers during the week.”  

He also said the town could close it for major holidays when the lake is crowded such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.  

Carol Whaley said there is plenty of docks and boathouses for sale on the lake and people can do the same thing others have done if they want access to the lake, which is to buy their own property 

John Erwin asked who would patrol the public dock.  

Crowell said no one would. He said he was thinking the town would place a dock and pour gravel for about four parking spaces.  

Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples said council has asked its attorney what would be required.  

“There are no major answers right now,” Peoples said.  

Angela Sullivan said she has had to call the Tryon Police before because of people trespassing on her property.  

“Greenville County takes over an hour to respond,” she said. “If there is an accident there is a large liability. There is no one patrolling that lake.”  

She said there are already problems of people coming on private property at the lake and this will just add to the problem.  

Crowell discussed the money the town has spent on placing carp in the lake for weed management and work on the dam. He explained that the town was given the lake in the 1980s by Southern Mercerizing after the lake’s property owners’ association turned it down.  

“I think the council at that time was thinking we’re going to get some water and save some jobs,” Crowell said. “Now we have a very expensive dam.”  

Allen Smith said in 1982 Tryon needed water. He said the lake is 135 acres and the town has 1.7 acres at the strip for the dam.  

“It’s zoned single family residential, not public,” Smith said.  

Crowell argued that Tryon still has town lakestill uses that mountain water and doesn’t need Lake Lanier.  

Crowell, Peoples and others said they would love to sell the lake to the LLCA for $1.  

“We are not going to solve anything tonight,” Peoples said. “I would love to sell it to the Lake Lanier Civic Association.”  

Crowell said he would be more than happy to sell the LLCA the lake.  

Mark Williams asked if the town has thought about the liability. He said in South Carolina, Tryon would no longer be a government, but a typical landowner, which would open up the town for liability.  

Peoples said that is exactly what he said to start with.  

“When attorneys on both sides give us the answer, we’ll know it,” said Peoples.  

After the discussion about the possibility the town may need locked gates, public restrooms and a way to ensure only Tryon residents use the dock, Crowell said the town just started the conversation and he doesn’t see the town installing bathrooms and trashcans.  

Commissioner Ingham said he at first agreed with Crowell that the dock would be a good idea, but now he’s not sure.  

“It’s gotten to be where it’s not going to be worth the trouble,” Ingham said. “I like the idea but I don’t like the idea of maintaining it.” 

Ingham later told residents if all these things are necessary, “then you don’t have anything to worry about.”