A federal agency has approved the expansion of an existing marina on Lake Lillinonah. Fishel Properties is looking to expand West Cove Marina to 136 slips, a reduction of about two dozen from the draft proposal. The expansion is part of a residential development project in New Milford. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signed off on the plans Tuesday at the request of FirstLight Hydro Generating Company.
FERC did include some restrictions.
FirstLight must make sure the permittee's use of the project lands and waters doesn't endanger health, create a nuisance, or otherwise be incompatible with overall project recreational use, and that construction will protect the scenic, recreational, and environmental values of the area. A report has to be provided to FERC within two years, including photographs showing the completed project. If partially completed or construction has not begun, FirstLight must file an extension request to file the construction completion report.
In response to concerns from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection about crowding in the narrow channel of the lake, all parties agreed to expand existing "Slow No Wake" restrictions.
The parcel was purchased by Fischel Properties in 1988, with the intention of converting an existing industrial building to residential units and adding 250 boat slips in the river upstream of Lovers Leap State Park at the inflow to the project just below the Bleachery Dam. The property development didn't occur, but a full service marina was developed.
In 1995, the facility was rented to West Cove Marina, which has operated it ever since. The slip count has varied over the years, but has operated continuously since it opened. Serious storm damage to docks in recent years has reduced the current number of slips to about 25.