Prime real estate is about to become available in Seven Lakes South.
After lengthy negotiations last year with Seven Lakes Country Club, The Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] accepted nineteen undeveloped lots owned by the the Club on which dues had not been paid for a number of years.
“It was the belief that, if the Country Club owned the lots contiguous with the golf course, then the Country Club did not have to pay the Association dues on these lots,” President Steve Ritter explained during the SLLA Board's Monday, February 10 Work Session. “[SLLA Treasurer] Conrad Meyer started doing an audit and uncovered all of this."
The Association's governing documents prevent it from offering that sort of waiver.
Adding the nineteen lots to another nineteen already owned by the Association brings the total number of SLLA-owned lots to thirty-eight. Meyer and Ritter formed an ad hoc committee to evaluate the salability of the lots.
“It ranges from nice to swamp land,” Meyer said. “There are a half-dozen good lots that could be sold for decent money and, hopefully, have homes built on those.”
Meyer provided the Board with a spreadsheet profiling the lots.
“Eleven lots look like they are good candidates to sell," he said. "The question is: How much water do you want to have on your lot?” He also noted that several of the lots had the potential to be common area.
Tee (shots) on the Deck
Two of the lots near Hastings Road lay at the bottom of a hill with a Par 3 tee above them, making them sitting ducks for overly-long tee shots.
“If someone built a home there, they would be under constant bombardment of long tee shots,” Meyer said. “They are currently maintained by the Country Club. Those would be the two lots that would make sense for common area."
"Once you convert a lot to common area then it is really hard to change it back to a lot," Meyer continued. "It would need two-thirds member approval to change from common area back to a lot. So let’s call that 'irreversible.' Once you pull the trigger, then it is pretty much a permanent decision. It is one we can always make in future.”
Love to List It
The Board's next step is to list the salable lots with a Relator®.
“They are just sitting in the office," Ritter said. "No one knows they are for sale. It doesn’t make any sense. We should list them so that everybody knows that these properties are for sale.”
Meyer agreed with Ritter that, once all paperwork was finished, the lots should be listed. The Board voted to move the recommendation to the February Open Meeting.
One becomes Two
Subdividing a lot that was previously created by combining two or more separate lots can create considerable confusion in SLLA territory — particularly if the lot has changed hands a number of times since the combination.
Researching years of Board minutes in order to understand the original intent of an SLLA rule on subdividing previously combined lots, Director Meyer determined that, if a combined lot were split, the owner was required to pay assessments on both lots back to the time it was originally combined.
At the February 10 Work Session, the board considered a landowner's request to subdivide a previously combined lot — and to have the back dues waived. After much discussion, the Board reached agreement that it would set a bad precedent to waive past dues.
How much back dues?
Meyer, who had researched the combined lot in question, said, “I read all transfers of lots combined in 2002. I don’t have the history [in front of me] of what the dues were all the way back to 2002. I think it is about $300 for an additional lot. So we are probably talking about $3,500.”
Meyer later told The Times that the total is actually closer to $4,500.
The SLLA offers a dues discount for the second and each additional lot owned by the same entity. Current dues for developed lots are $1000 for an improved lot (one with a home), $670 for an unimproved lot, and $497 for each additional lot.
Board Director Bob Racine asked if the rule was consistent with past actions.
Meyer answered, “We put it down solid in writing, after we had found plenty of references of combined and later uncombined lots.”
Dues for Two
Residents who own two adjacent lots will often combine them to avoid paying dues on two.
“A lot of communities don’t allow combinations at all,” Meyer said. SLLA Manager Ray Sohl agreed with Meyer: “By combining lots, it increases the amount of dues for the rest of residents.”
The resident in question had informed management that the request to divide the lots was dependent on whether or not the dues were waived.
President Steve Ritter asked whether the income from future dues on an additional lot would offset waiving the past dues.
“I am leaning toward not approving the request," Ritter said. "But I would like to speak to the other side. The other side of the equation is, going forward, to have a lot presently combined and we are getting paid $1,100 once versus dividing that going forward and getting double. Should we factor that into the request?”
In other words, if the currently lot were subdivided, and homes built on each of the resulting lots, the Association would be collecting dues on two developed lots.
“How many combined lots are in Seven Lakes?” Racine asked.
The Directors agreed that a good estimate would be approximately 100. [Meyer later told The Times the number was closer to 170.] What was not clear was how many of those lots could ever be successful uncombined.
Director Bob Darr recommended denying the request, saying “We ought to hang on to the rules.”
SLLA Management has recommended changing the engineering company the Association has on call for issues relating to the dams. Three bids were submitted by professional engineering companies — and those did not include the current engineering company, S&ME.
“We chose not to ask them,” Sohl said. “We had significant cost and time overage on the Little J Dam, and I was unimpressed by the service they were providing. All bids rated within five percent of the S&ME contract.”
Having a contractor on call is not a choice, Darr reminded the board. “It is mandated by state rules.”
Good Eating Size
SLLA fishermen will be happy to know that mid-size bass caught in the ten to fourteen inch range are now considered keepers. The purpose is to help encourage the growth of the larger fish by reducing competition for food.
The Lakes and Dam Committee based its recommendation for a rules change on advice obtained from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Fishing for carp is prohibited, and any caught must be released.
Dues on Time
A variety of payment options will be included in the annual dues packet. The most popular option is prepayment of the entire annual amount due, with a check sent to the lockbox address.
But there are a variety of online options, including paying through the CAS website or setting up and automatic bank draft. Dues may be paid monthly through an automatic draft, but will incur a one percent monthly fee.
Bylaws Ready for a Vote
The revised SLLA bylaws has gone through its final edits. An updated draft will be made to all Board Members prior to the Open Meeting.
“I want to see this ahead of time," Director Darr said. "If the changes are not done, I won’t support it. We got to know what the heck we are voting on, and it has to be done right.”
The Board voted unanimously to move approval of the Bylaws to the February Open Meeting.