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Old 01-27-2022, 07:19 AM   #30
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Island access is something the Meredith Islands Association has been working on since it's beginning. With the expansion of rental fleets and the general increase in boat sales, the number of available rental slips has decreased. Most marinas are also not taking on new valet customers so access to the islands is becoming more difficult. Trailering to the lake is not an option for many who live far away and parking for a trailer for extended time periods is also limited. Many island properties have been passed down through generations and are not owned by what might consider rich people so increasing costs are putting pressure on many to consider selling. The state and towns have not allowed new marinas or expansion of existing marinas.
All of these factors are creating a bubble of sorts that if it breaks will have a negative impact on both island property owners and the local economy. If you can not reasonably access island property you can't sell it for market value. The price of island property will decrease dramatically as will the tax base of the towns with islands. The effect of a drop in tax base is magnified on a town's budget since an island property only adds to the revenue side of the town's budget, not the expense side, ie. little services, no school children. All of the towns would maintain their fire boats to provide fire protection for mainland homes and businesses that are on the water and sometime difficult for fire apparatus to access. They would also maintain their public launch ramps and parking for the large number of town residents that day boat.
Many will say the islands have been there for a long time and access has always been an issue and yet prices go up and there have always been buyers. That would be a correct statement except the current business model for marinas is to have rental boats available in water which generate 30K of revenue vs 6k for slip rental and to hold slips open so boat buyers can be offered a slip on purchase of a new boat.
The towns and state need to decide if they want tourism and property values to continue to increase or have it stagnate and possibly decline due to people feeling it is just too much trouble to have an island property on the lake. If they are fine with the status quo ok. If not than they need to allow for expansion of existing marinas or creation of new marinas on the lake, and expansion of town provided parking and docking to ease island access.
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