Traverse City officials say a settlement agreement with the state will give them flexibility to choose how large downtown swim areas should be. The city could even decide to change swim areas on a week-to-week basis during the summer months.
Commissioners agreed to accept the settlement last night, which should end a long battle with the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment over who has the right to decide where to place swim areas at city beaches.
It does not end the local dispute that has so-far spanned two summers, pitting swimmers against boaters over how much of the shoreline should be off-limits to vessels.
Dan Soper says he doesn't understand why all the fuss, unless it's to push boaters out.
"When we look at the areas that people are swimming in, it's not crowded. It's crowded where we're at, not where those are at. So why are we making it bigger? I don't understand it, I guess."
But commissioners say they've made no decisions about how much of the shoreline to rope off.
Under the settlement, the city has the right to expand swim areas to as much as half of the downtown beaches. Commissioners say they plan public discussions on that question, probably this summer.