To our Customers:

As the owners of Lost Isle we have elected to not open Lost Isle this year.  Our decision was not made lightly and is based on several factors. The primary driver of our decision process is the lack of an acceptable Entertainment Permit through San Joaquin County. The county requires that in order for Lost Isle to allow dancing and provide music through a DJ or band, we must have a valid entertainment permit. This is a new ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors in May of 2008. Prior to this change we were required to apply for an annual cabaret permit in order to offer the aforementioned activities. Another important factor is the recession.  We believe that with the current economy, coupled with no dancing and music would substantially dampen our sales.  Without dancing and music, we cannot keep our customer visits for more than a very short duration, and therefore we cannot turn a profit. Operationally the island has not turned a profit in 10 years, believe it or not.

Here is a little background in layman’s terms: For the last five years Lost Isle has been unsuccessful at obtaining a cabaret permit from the county. The county would not issue the cabaret permit for two reasons: 1) We did not comply with all of the county building codes, and 2) We did not have a dock exclusively available for use by the sheriff.  Both issues have been resolved.

Regarding obtaining the Entertainment Permit, Sheriff Moore has substantially changed his demands over the last several months.  In June 2008 we applied for the entertainment permit and were in the process of working through the conditions and requirements with County Planning. Then in August 2008 there was a gang related homicide on the island.  Obviously, this was a very unfortunate event. It was the first time in the history of Lost Isle that any such act of violence was committed on or near the island. After the incident the sheriff immediately rescinded his prior recommendations and changed his demand conditions for the entertainment permit.

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The week before Labor Day of last year, the sheriff and county counsel demanded we comply with these new conditions immediately. If we did not, we could not open for Labor Day weekend. The one significant demand was the requirement to hire 7 sheriff deputies to work at Lost Isle all three days of the holiday weekend. However, the cost of such a requirement was roughly equivalent to half of our anticipated sales. We decided to withdraw our application for the entertainment permit at that time. We opened for Labor Day weekend last year but did not allow dancing or provide any music, which was the only way we could open for business. As a result our business was off by more than 50% for this very big holiday.

So that our customers can better understand our dilemma, let me provide you with some economic and operational history for Lost Isle. Lost Isle opens and closes with a full crew each year dependent on weather. We are open Saturdays all year, but we have very little business November through February. In a normal year we open in March and shut down at the end of October. From a practical business stand point we really only operate 30 days per year. We have weekend crowds from May through September, with 3 day holidays being our big sales drivers. Since we have operated the island, our peak sales were in 1998 and we have had sales declines of 50% since that year. We made some mistakes during that period and paid our penance, but we have never been able to obtain the Sheriff’s Department cooperation since. We were banned from participation in Boardstock, and now have a Sheriff’s water patrol boat stationed in front of Lost Isle almost every day we have any kind of crowd.

We need help from our customers. How can you HELP? You can help by attending and showing your support at the upcoming planning commission meeting, set for June 4th. We are appealing the Sheriffs demands to our entertainment permit application. Details of the permit and response are posted on the website. A strong attendance by patrons and boaters will help our cause. You can also help our cause by completing an Experience Form on our website. We have spoken to several public officials concerning the operations of Lost Isle. They do not have informed data points in which to judge our situation. They need help to understand the predicament we find ourselves in. Please see this website for information on the Experience Form .  Lastly, please send an email to expressing your support for Lost Isle and our entertainment permit modification. We are assembling a package of information for the local political leaders.

We have additional county planning issues as well, namely our sewer system.  The leech field was determined by the State of California Water Quality Resource Board to be illegal around the year 2000. We spent several years trying to determine what needed to be done to solve this problem. We looked into a package sewer plant but the operating cost exceeded 25% of our annual sales. After spending a considerable sum (one year of sales revenue) with consultants we determined in early 2008 a go-forward strategy that the county approved. We now have the permits to build a sewer system, but have elected to postpone it at this time, pending a decision on an acceptable Entertainment Permit.

We deeply regret the disappointment we have caused you, our loyal customers, by being unable to open Lost Isle for business this year.  Again, please help us by attending the planning commission meeting on June 4th, and by voicing your concerns via our website.  We look forward to resolving our issues with the county as soon as possible.

Most sincerely,

David Wheeler
General Partner of Lost Isle

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