Crystal Lake Park District will vote on new lakebed rules at their meeting Thursday, but officials said that the additions to the proposed ordinance are basically “administrative” and residents should not see much of a change.
Specifically, the amendments will formally state that residents who live around the 230-acre lake have permission to place piers, moorings, swim rafts and boat lifts into the lake.
Jason Herbster, executive director of the Crystal Lake Park District, said residents currently are putting such belongings into the lake, but officials felt the need to formerly write in the guidelines making it formally allowable.
The park district owns 94% of the lakebed, and without the guidelines being formerly written in, it would appear it is against the rules to have personal items embedded into the bottom of the lake, he explained.
As it currently is written, the ordinance does not state that it allows for personal property on park property, including the lakebed, Herbster said.
Officials have worked over the past nine months to amend the ordinance and have included the village of Lakewood, which shares the lake.
The amended ordinance will clarify that only lakefront homeowners or the current lakefront association are allowed to place property on the lakebed and that the park district is not liable for personal property. It also will answer lakefront homeowners’ request for guidelines direction, keep navigation lanes open and promote safety, Herbster said.
According to a draft copy of the proposed ordinance, any personal items existing as of June 1, 2019, may continue to exist and may be maintained in the same general condition into the future.
However, no repair or replacement of any such pier, boat lift, mooring or swimming raft can result in the item "being located farther from the shore than as it was" prior to June 1, 2019, unless it otherwise complies with the terms of" the ordinance. Should property be sold the new owners would have the same rights, according to the draft.
Meeting to be held 6:30 Thursday in the Crystal Lake Administrative Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Ave.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect how much of the lakebed the park district owns. The Northwest Herald regrets the error.