WASHINGTON, D.C. - A recent federal ruling concerning the classification of courtesy boat slips on commercial docks prompted Grand River Dam Authority officials to declare that the action will have an affect lake wide.

Historically, according to correspondence between GRDA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commisison, when commercial dock owners indicated boats slips would be provided free as a courtesy to the public, GRDA approved those applications without sending it on to the FERC for approval.

FERC recently ruled that, by not sending those commercial applications up the line for approval, GRDA's misapplication of the requirements in Article 410 constituted a violation of its license.

The issue first came to light when the Paris Cove Homeowner's Association wrote a letter to FERC on May 19, 2006, complaining that GRDA improperly issued permits for commercial docks at Candlewyck Resort.

FERC reviewed the complaint and found that a five-slip dock next door to Candlewyck, used by the son of the resort owner, had been appropriately classified for private use. However, the resort's four-slip dock was inappropriately classified as private use, according to a letter written by Kimberly D. Bose, secretary of FERC.

FERC maintains that GRDA also failed to respond to its Feb. 12 letter confirming the private use of the of the son's dock when the after-the-fact permit was requested. Instead, GRDA chose to combine the two docks into one nine-slip unit that would be used for patrons and the resort owners family alike.

GRDA argued that it should have been given the opportunity to remedy the situation before a violation determination was re-entered and that FERC's failure to provide such an opportunity deprived the state agency of due process.

That argument was disingenuous, for GRDA was aware of the changed use for the Candlewyck dock back in 2006, but chose not to take immediate action, FERC ruled.

“Instead, it argued unreasonably, that ‘courtesy docks' like the ones used by Candlewyck Cove Resort meet the non-commercial, single-family residential use provisionsŠ,” Bose wrote.

Bose notified GRDA their request for a rehearing in the matter had been denied.