East Nicolaus water sports school finally receives county approval
Just in time for wet weather, a water sports school in East Nicolaus has received approval from the county planning commission to open for business.
Next spring, classes for water skiing and wakeboarding could be under way at the Water Sports Farm, which has already been in operation as an aquaculture farm for catfish. It is west of Highway 70 and southeast of Nicolaus in rural Sutter County.
Sacramento-area resident Dan Spangler, who also grows rice on the surrounding pastures, approached the county more than a year ago about establishing a school there, partially to make the farm viable.
Predatory birds were raiding the fish stock, but would avoid the 28-acre pond if instructors giving lessons on roaring boats were using it as well, the thinking went.
Getting the county's approval was not as easy as Spangler might have hoped.
"The only issue for us is, does this really meet the definition of a school?" county planning manager Lisa Wilson said.
As well, the farm's location in a floodplain meant potential environmental problems from toilets at the farm if high water came.
Wilson said Spangler solved that problem by agreeing to put in bathrooms that appear permanent but could be quickly removed in case of a looming flood.
"Now we've got to work through the bathroom thing," Spangler said. "I'll look for a rental unit of some kind to meet the standards and hope that works for them."
During the winter, he said, he will also get into contact with people and groups who expressed interest in lessons or even day rentals for the park to line them up for sunnier weather.
And he said he might also approach administrators at nearby East Nicolaus High School about establishing a wakeboard or water skiing team that would also use the farm.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.