NEW MILFORD -- State Department of Environmental Protection officials met Wednesday with an often hostile group of 25 residents from the five towns surrounding Candlewood Lake.
The informal information-gathering meeting at New Milford High School was held to allow the DEP to get residents' input on a draft regulation limiting the length of boats on the lake.
But it often degenerated into angry discourse about lake residents' dissatisfaction with the law passed by the Legislature in May, requiring boat lengths to be under 26 feet.
Jim Markay, president of Club A on the lake, said, "Limiting the size of boats is not the answer.
"The problem on the lake now is wakes. A 16-foot boat going at 3 knots can cause more wake than a 45-foot pontoon boat," Markay said. "A lot of the 100 boats on the lake over 26 feet are pontoon boats."
DEP officials at the meeting said the time for expressing dissatisfaction with the legislation has passed. They were under mandate to write the regulation.
"We have no choice in the matter," said Timothy Delgado, a DEP analyst on boating. "The DEP is required by law to propose a regulation regarding vessel length."
Delgado said the DEP is trying to create the best regulation it can -- one that is fair to lake users while meeting the letter of the law.
While the draft regulation limits the length of vessels allowed on the lake, it grandfathers the current fleet of boats that exceed this length and have been primarily used on Candlewood for the life of the boats.
Delgado explained the length of a boat will be determined by its registration document, on record with either the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles or another state's registering agency.
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