EDMOND — Personal watercraft owners want to ride all over Arcadia Lake during the week instead of just inside a 75-acre designated area many refer to as a corral.
Personal watercraft now can be ridden only in a specific area on the south side of Spring Creek Park seven days a week.
Personal watercraft owners Tommy Hannon and Rick Marshall want the city council to amend an ordinance to allow them to ride anywhere on the 1,820-acre lake Monday through Thursday when the lake is not as busy. They first requested a change three years ago.
Members of the city's Fish and Game Commission are against the change. They said the expanded riding area would disturb people fishing at the lake.
Three homeowners in Southlake housing addition told council members they do not want personal watercraft on the south side of the lake because of the noise.
“I am not interested in having them in my backyard,” said John Fitch, a Southlake homeowner.
Fitch, who has lived in the neighborhood 10 years, said he would have to move because of the noise.
“It is disgusting,” Fitch said “The quality of life would just go down tremendously.”
“We don't want the noise,” said Gene Johnson, another Southlake homeowner. “They are not quiet.”
Hannon disagreed that personal watercraft make more noise than boats.
Marshall asked council members to keep an open mind about the rules at the lake.
“This is like playing golf on an acre of property,” Marshall said.
City staff members are recommending personal watercraft be allowed on the entire lake during the week. Council members have asked them to write an ordinance for consideration in August.
The current area was designated for personal watercraft because riders were not being respectful to the boaters, said Leon Mixer, Arcadia Lake supervisor.
But the laws and training have changed over the years, Mixer said.
Oklahoma law prohibits anyone younger than 12 from operating a personal watercraft. Youths ages 12 to 15 can operate personal watercraft if they have a boating safety education certificate and are supervised by an adult 18 or older who is at least 500 yards from the vessel.
“Personal watercrafts are safe,” Marshall said. “Are people going to abuse them? Yes. Then throw them off the lake. We don't want people causing trouble.”
Assistant Police Chief Steve Thompson told the council the officers who work at the lake have no problem with the proposed change.