From the Lufkin Daily News


Officials ready to discuss lake guidelines

By ANDY ADAMS, The Lufkin Daily News

Friday, May 06, 2005

Angelina and Neches River Authority board members agreed Thursday that they need to get moving on a set of rules and regulations for shoreline development at the proposed Lake Columbia.

Kenneth Reneau, ANRA's general manager, provided the board with a set of regulations used on another Texas lake, but said they were “simply a starting point” for the process of coming up with Lake Columbia's guidelines.

Lake Columbia, if all goes as planned, will be located on Mud Creek, approximately 10 miles northeast of Jacksonville, according to ANRA. It is expected to be 14 miles long and 1½ miles wide, covering 10,000 acres.

Its main purpose would be for water supply — Temple-Inland Inc. and the city of Nacogdoches both have 10 percent stakes in the lake — but Columbia also would provide recreational benefits to residents of the five counties that would surround it, according to ANRA.

Reneau told the ANRA board Thursday that the river authority has set up an account to hold funds from a $1.25 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board. That money will be used to pay for a two-year Environmental Impact Study that ANRA must complete before it gets its Section 404 environmental permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Once the permit is in hand, ANRA can begin construction of the reservoir. The lake could be completed by 2007, according to ANRA's Lake Columbia Web site, www.lakeeastex.org. (Lake Eastex was the original name of the proposed reservoir, but it was renamed in honor of the crew of the space shuttle that exploded over East Texas on Feb. 1, 2003.)

Carl Ray Polk, new chairman of the ANRA board, said the river authority should have specific shoreline guidelines in place well in advance of Columbia's construction, because people are already inquiring about property that will surround the lake.

Board member Julie Dowell agreed, but said the key issue about the rules and regulations will be how they can be enforced.

Polk recommended looking at the guidelines of Richland Chambers and Eagle Mountain lakes in Texas, while Dowell suggested comparing the ones from the Cedar Creek and Jacksonville lakes.

Board member Nick Bruno said property on Lake Jacksonville comes with a strict set of rules.

“It is the most private public lake in the state of Texas,” he said.

Andy Adams' e-mail address is aadams@coxnews.com.