Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Rules & Regulations For Pathways And Steps To The Shoreline On Lake Lanier! Here Are The Safety Concerns & What You Need To Know!

We showed a number of waterfront homes on Lake Lanier yesterday in the rain.  My client and I were well prepared for the inclement weather and made great time and success with our property tours!  We planned for our outing ahead of time and dressed for the weather!  While I am generally agreeable to showing homes in the rain, doing so on Lake Lanier can truly present some challenges and safety concerns, especially if the weather turns down right nasty.  For example, most folks would think twice about standing on a metal, steel or aluminum dock over water with lightning and thunderstorms nearby. Probably not a great idea!

In addition, one should consider safety when approaching the shoreline on steep lots where wooden steps may become very slick.  It is not uncommon to find steps of this condition on properties where the topography is so steep that there may be 100-125 of these steps straight down to the water.  Without handrails to support your descent, extreme caution or even avoiding the shoreline during these conditions is the rule.  If foul weather is predicted, clients should wear non-skid sole shoes and other appropriate rain gear.  Dress for protection and safety, not the fashion runway!  Think in terms of going on a hike through the woods.

So, with all of the previously mentioned thoughts, today I thought that I would look at the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Shoreline Management Plan and examine the rules and regs regarding Pathways And Steps to Lake Lanier.  What are the safety concerns?  How are they addressed?  What is allowed?  Here is a look at Section 15.3.11 of the plan for Pathways And Steps.

15.3.11 Pathways and Steps

Meandering pedestrian pathways may be created for access to the permitted facilities at no 
fee. Pathways will follow a meandering route that conforms to the topography as much as 
possible to help prevent erosion, avoid the need for removal of vegetation, and prevent the 
construction of bridges or steps. All work will be completed with hand tools only unless 
otherwise authorized in writing by the Operations Manager. If surface treatment is required 
to prevent erosion or fill depressions, wood chips or on-site forest litter are recommended. If 
erosion is evident due to continued foot traffic and water run off, intermittent water breaks 
may be necessary.

If slopes prohibit safe access by means of a natural path then steps or a bridge creating the 
least environmental impacts may be authorized under permit with a fee. Materials used to 
create these structures must be properly treated and environmentally friendly, no wood 
treated with arsenic will be authorized. All steps must be constructed of at least eight (8) 
inches wide by six (6) inches high material without borders. Every effort should be made to 
prevent continuous running steps. Steps may not be elevated nor create a boardwalk. Steps 
or landings may not be erected in a manner to create patios. Unless the steepness of the slope 
dictates it or handicap needs demand it, steps should be constructed without handrails. All 
steps must be constructed at contour or ground level. If backfilling is required, the surface 
treatment must be wood chips or similar mulch. Landscape timbers are not authorized for 
step construction due to safety considerations. 

Footbridges may only be authorized if there are no other alternatives to provide safe access. 
Footbridges may not exceed four (4) feet in width. All foot bridges more than four (4) feet 
above the surface of the ground must have a handrail. The rails shall be 36-48 inches high 
with an intermediate guardrail approximately one-half the distance below the top rail. The 
pathway permit does not convey the right to use equipment or construct any other structure 
unless specifically authorized.

Pedestrian access lighting may be installed underground following the meandering footpath. 
Permit holders are required to use mushroom style lighting, not to exceed a height of two (2) 
feet. See Exhibit 3, " Requirements for Installation and Use of Electric Service on 
Government Property at Lake Lanier". Existing pathway lighting not meeting this standard 
will require replacement upon repair.

Natural pathways are considered unsafe when the terrain is too steep to safely access the 
shoreline, thus requiring improved steps. Pathways must remain free of stumps, snags and 
other tripping hazards. Steps are considered unsafe and unauthorized when poorly placed or 
constructed so that the step is loose; or when materials are defective damaged, or decaying.

Steep & Deep!  Access to the deep waters of Toto Creek on Lake Lanier!

Lake Sidney Lanier Homes is the most comprehensive online source for information on Lake Lanier homes for sale and Lake Lanier area real estate. View the latest Lake Lanier home listings, foreclosures, lots, land, sales trends and real estate topics on Lake Lanier. Arthur Prescott is an Accredited Buyer's Representative and Certified Residential Specialist with over a decade of Lake Lanier real estate experience. If you would like to schedule a free buyer or seller consultation, please feel free to contact us directly at 678-513-2014 or email us at Arthur.Prescott@BHHSGeorgia.com.
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