Mecklenburg commissioners set process for no-wake zones on Mountain Island Lake

Mecklenburg County commissioners on Tuesday approved a process to establish no-wake zones on the Mecklenburg side of Mountain Island Lake after its governing commission disbands in late June.

The process became necessary because Gaston County withdrew from the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission earlier this year, effectively dissolving it. The group, comprised of seven members from Mecklenburg, Gaston and Lincoln counties, helped protect and preserve the region’s largest drinking water supply.

A 2010 lake management plan that ultimately was tabled planted seeds of discontent in Gaston. The plan had called for limiting boat sizes and charging fees for lake usage.

Now the state’s Wildlife Resource Commission will decide future no-wake zones on the lake, Rusty Rozzelle, Mecklenburg’s water quality program manager, told commissioners Tuesday.

The no-wake process approved by Mecklenburg commissioners would require a county application from residents that would be studied by staffers with the county’s Land Use & Environmental Services Agency. Commissioners would have to approve recommendations for new zones. But ultimately, the Wildlife Resource Commission would decide if the area warranted a new zone, Rozzelle said.

It would be Mecklenburg’s responsibility to install buoys at new no-wake zones.

With the disappearance of the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission, five no-wake zones will go with it – most in Gaston County, Rozzelle said. The state has approved seven zones and is deciding on four others.

Rozzelle said state wildlife officials have told him they see no need for more zones after scouring Mountain Island Lake’s shoreline.