Thursday, February 15, 2007
Lake Estates homeowners seek help
By SUE WATSON
The president of the Holly Springs Lake Estates homeowners’ association, Emil Careau, sought advice from the Marshall County Board of Supervisors on several issues, Monday.
Careau and Jerry Shaw with the association said the new officers want to address some problems in the community, which was built in 1956 as a weekend getaway area but now is maturing into a more settled community.
Careau said the homeowners’ association wants to work with the board of supervisors to get some lots cleaned up, to repair the closed road across Lake Estates Levee, to monitor construction permits, to see if there are problems with the septic systems and to establish a neighborhood watch program.
He showed supervisors a 1956 newspaper article which touted Lake Center as “the nicest place to live.”
The bylaws of the homeowners’ association have not been revised since the 1950s, Careau said.
“Members are asking about property and abandoned cars,” he said and requested the zoning board’s list of lot clean-up orders.
“He’s asking for zoning’s clean-up list to see how it coincides with the Lake Center group,” said Conway Moore, director of the planning commission’s zoning board.
Careau said after he gets all the information put together he wants to go door-to-door giving the information to homeowners.
“Do you think it is a good idea to confront these people and bring zoning in front of you?” asked supervisor Willie Flemon.
Careau said he has a copy of zoning’s standard letter which gives a property owner 30 days to reply to a clean-up order.
Some people are resisting, he said.
Supervisor Keith Taylor advised Careau and Shaw that the board of supervisors recognizes homeowner association covenants but does not enforce them.
“You could say that they are breaking the covenants and also in violation of Marshall County zoning,” Taylor said.
Shaw explained the homeowners’ association has a new board that wants to follow the bylaws of the association and get everyone involved in community clean-up. There are about 20 lots on the associations’ list while the zoning board has about 10 lots with letters notifying of violations, Moore said.
“We want to assist you in any way we can,” said Taylor.
Some construction may be ongoing with out permits, Careau said.
“How are you going to enforce covenants?” supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett asked.
“With your help,” said Careau.
“We can’t go up there and enforce your covenants,” Bennett said.
“If we don’t have the bylaws laid out, we can’t expect them to clean up in two days,” said Careau.
Taylor said the county could get involved after the association handed out its bylaws.
Larry Hall suggested that anyone ignoring the bylaws could be turned over to zoning for enforcement of the ordinances.
“We are asking for your advice so we know what we can and can’t do,” Shaw said.
“We will work with you any way we can,” said Bennett. “Zoning will step in when you can’t do something.”
No one in the subdivision knows anything about the bylaws, Careau said.
“Basically, nobody out there has bought in to the bylaws,” Hall suggested.
“That’s why we need your help,” said Careau. “And the levee – people want to know about the levee being closed. What’s going to be done about it?”
Bennett said he had members asking the levee be closed and they had voted for it and then asked why the levee road had been barricaded.
Hall said the road department had worked to get people to stop tearing down the barricades.
“Our best shot at getting money to do this (repair the levee) is through homeland security’s hazards mitigation money, due to the fact if this levee breaks, it will wash out the BNSF railroad track,” Hall said.
Careau agreed that prevention of a levee break is best. He said curiosity seekers and drug dealers used the levee road as a means of circling the lake.
Careau asked again about permits.
“We issue permits. If you see building going on, call us,” Moore said.
Careau asked about possible leakage of untreated household sewage into the ditches and flood waters and if the association could have its own security patrol.
“We can’t come out there overnight,” said Bennett. “Don’t expect it to be done overnight.”
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson advised that his office can help the association form a neighborhood watch which is a legal way homeowners can address security issues.
“I’d be glad to let you know what you can and can’t do on neighborhood watch,” Dickerson said.
The board of supervisors will meet next on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 9 a.m. since next Monday is a national holiday - Presidents’ Day.
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