Lottery will decide who gets docks on Lake Lanier

Last year, Sergey and Yelena Burachenko moved into a waterfront home at Lake Lanier so the family could go boating, fishing and swimming.

“We love the water,” said Sergey Burachenko, who is originally from the Ukraine. “That’s why we moved here.”

But there was a problem: They couldn’t get a permit for a boat dock. No one has been able to since 2007. Because of the severe drought going on at the time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers imposed a moratorium on new docks.

That moratorium will be lifted Wednesday. The corps will hold a lottery-style drawing to determine who will get 174 boat dock permits at Lake Lanier. The corps said it has received requests from 277 qualifying property owners.

The Burachenko family has about a 50/50 shot at getting one of the very coveted boat dock permits.

Property owners must still have their property reviewed by the corps to make sure it meets eligibility before they get the permit.

“We need to pray to God,” Burachenko said. “We live so close to the lake. It’s beautiful, and we really wish to have a dock.”

Lisa Coghlan, a corps spokeswoman, said the corps completed a study in 2004 that set the number of boat docks that would be available at the lake at 10,615.

But when he bought his house, it never occurred to Burachenko — who has four children who range in age from 12 to 21 — that he would not be able to build a dock for a boat.

He’s hoping this week’s drawing, which will be Webcast live at 10:30 a.m. from Spring Hill Suites Hotel near the Mall of Georgia, will allow his family to add the final touch to their dream house.

Others also have a lot riding on Wednesday’s drawing. Diane Teaver of Lula had given up trying to sell her property at Lake Lanier. Her three lots abut the water’s edge and feature a canopy of oak trees. But she doesn’t have a dock — an issue that she said keeps sinking her chances of selling what might otherwise be prime real estate.

Teaver said she bought the Lake Lanier property five years ago as an investment for her kids, who are now 6 and 8 years old.

After going through a recent divorce and other financial setbacks, she said she can no longer hold on to it.

So last year, she put the trio of lots on the market. In six months, her agent got just two calls. She thinks she could make a profit if she gets the permits to build one dock or more. At the very least, if she’s one of the lucky property owners, she will put the property back on the market.

Meanwhile, Burachenko said his family will stay put — whether they win one of the permits or not.

If his family does get one, he said he’ll throw a celebration party, and he’ll buy a fishing boat.