For the lucky few with private docks on the Columbia River, the future wasn't looking too bright.
The Army Corps of Engineers had proposed rules that had riverfront homeowners doubting whether they'd be able to keep existing docks because of mandated costly upgrades or ever have a chance to build new ones.
And though it's a relatively small group of folks who are afforded the luxury of life on the river's edge, they were vocal and balked at the proposed rules. And, to our surprise, the Corps listened.
Revisions to the proposed McNary Shoreline Management Plan will allow landowners with docks to keep them with no upgrades required. That is unless the docks are deemed dangerous or have been excessively modified over the years without approval.
Once the property is sold or retitled, more extensive requirements will kick in. New owners will have to deal with new construction requirements for docks meant to create a better environment for native fish.
And those requirements basically are the same as proposed in the plan's earlier draft. Grating will need to be used on the dock decks to allow light through, walkways will have to be two feet above the water and docks will have to be 40 feet out from the high-water mark.
Site evaluations of docks will allow for some flexibility in the standards.
For those hoping to build new private docks, 27 new ones are allowed under the plan. Once completed, the total number of private docks would be 100. New docks have been on hold since 2005 and additional applications are not being accepted.
It looks like dock owners came out the big winners in this case. They'll be allowed to keep docks that could have been in jeopardy and they won't be required to make costly renovations unless the docks are dangerous or significantly altered.
Some dock owners still aren't satisfied, however.
The plan does limit the area where docks can be built to about three miles of the 200-mile shoreline it governs. The area where docks are allowed runs from Pasco and Richland to Burbank and Finley.
And they think the limit on the number of new docks should be increased.
Comments on the plan are being accepted through Nov. 27 and there is a public meeting Nov. 9. If no changes are made to the plan, it could be in place by next summer.
Current dock owners are basically "grandfathered" in and can enjoy their docks for as long as they own their properties. The next owner down the line will have to pay for the alterations, and that seems fair. Prospective buyers will have the opportunity to take what likely is to be a very costly dock renovation into consideration before plunking down a whole lot of money for a riverfront home.
But if they can afford the riverfront home, they likely can afford the cost of upgrading the dock.