A number of buyers looking to purchase near Lake Texoma have dreams of owning a lakefront home with a boat dock. Unfortunately, this is not as easy to find as one might think.


The Corps of Engineers owns a strip of land all the way around the lake. What this means for lakefront homeowners is that they need permission to build anything on the land directly adjacent to the water. The Corps has not issued permits to build boat docks on Lake Texoma in a number of years, until now.


The Corps has recently began once again to dole out permits for people to build privately owned docks. Corps of Engineers Deputy Operations Project Manager Joe Custer explained that although this is the case, permits are currently only being granted to those who hold a place on the lengthy waiting list.


“We’re still clearing the backlog that we have,” Custer said. “The number of permits that we can issue is limited by the amount of suitably zoned shoreline that we have on the lake. There has not been any new shoreline made available. We can’t change zoning until we have enough funding to complete the Environmental Impact Statement.”


Custer went on to explain the EIS is a part of the process in which they review actions and what effect they will have on the lake. The evaluation assesses the impact on boating and shorelines among other things.


Cheryl Martin-Henderson with Tanglewood Real Estate Co. said homes with a private boat dock are in demand.


“Waterfront properties with boat docks are definitely in demand for buyers,” Martin-Henderson said. “If they are even available, they’re well over the $300,000 range for walking distance to an easy access boat dock road. For a walk-up beach and a private boat dock, that’s a million dollar property.”


Martin-Henderson explained there are several other factors that contribute to the scarcity of privately owned docks. The topography of the lake with many bluffs and heavily treed areas are not always conducive to an easily accessible dock. Beyond that, the cost to construct a dock can be high.


“To build one it can be $70,000 for the boat dock itself to start from scratch with what it takes,” Martin-Henderson said. “And that’s only for a single slip. It can be an investment though. There are always people coming from all places that would like to have a private dock.”


Custer said there are requirements and regulations for building a new dock.


There has to be space available within a properly zoned area,” Custer said. “There has to be adequate space to allow safe distance which is a minimum of 50 feet between docks.”


Custer also explained it is possible to purchase a pre-existing dock rather than building a new one.


“If someone wanted to sell a boat dock they can do so,” Custer said. “They can request that we issue the permit to the new owner. The permits themselves are not for sale. You can move it to a new location if the area that you’re going to move it to is properly zoned and if there is space available according to our ordinance.”


Martin-Henderson said there are options for those who are unable to procure a permit or purchase a pre-existing dock.


“People store their boats at the various storage facilities,” Martin-Henderson said. “If you want to dry dock it there are so many storage facilities right there. They also have the option to buy a big enough property and garage their own boat.”