The Lake Norman Marine Commission has sunk plans to remove buoys that were placed on the lake without permission and that some lake users say endanger navigation.
The commission planned to vote last week on a new buoy ordinance that, in part, would have given the commission clearer authority to remove unauthorized buoys without having to track down who placed them on the lake.
Longtime Lake Norman fishing guide Gus Gustafson has estimated 100 or more unauthorized buoys dot North Carolina's largest manmade lake, endangering boaters and others.
But marine commissioner Rich Permenter of Denver said that after discussing the proposed changes with fellow commissioners individually over the past month, he realized he was the only one who favored the new ordinance.
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No vote was cast last week, and Permenter said the changes were permanently shelved.
"I was disappointed, because I think it's the right direction to move," Permenter said of the proposed ordinance. "...I never believed it would pass unanimously. Nor did I believe it would fall so flat."
Permenter said fellow commissioners were concerned about the cost of removing buoys. They were also concerned about removing ones that homeowners placed on the lake to reduce boat speeds, and thus wakes that damage the shoreline, he said.
Permenter headed a 14-member committee that included boaters, skiers, homeowners, lake patrol officers, a marina owner and a Duke Energy official.
For two years the committee explored revisions to the buoy ordinance. The committee unveiled the proposed new ordinance in February.
The revisions also would have made it easier to apply for a no-wake buoy. Committee members said getting approval now is laborious.
But under the proposed new rules, buoys wouldn't have been approved solely to delineate the 50-yard distance within which no-wake speed is already required by state law.
Buoys more likely would have been approved around marinas and other lakeside businesses or in small coves with narrow entrances, committee member Lowry Hobbs, owner of Westport Marina in Denver, said.
The marine commission is a five-member panel of volunteers. Members are appointed by the boards of county commissioners in Mecklenburg, Iredell, Catawba and Lincoln counties.
Marine commission member John Marino of Catawba County declined comment last week. Efforts to reach commission chairman Paul Carter of Catawba County and members Dan Stehle of Mecklenburg County and Ron Shoultz of Iredell County were unsuccessful last week.