Archive for the 'Lake Martin Area Info' Category

Alabama Power Seeks Input To Relicense Martin Dam

Alabama Power Martin Dam Relicensing

Alabama Power owns and operates the hydroelectric Martin Dam, which impounds the Tallapoosa River to create Lake Martin.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – regulates Alabama Power’s operation of Martin Dam, and its effect on the water flow downstream on the Tallapoosa River, as well as any economic, environmental, and other impacts in the Tallapoosa River Basin.

Every 25 years Alabama Power must apply to FERC to renew its license to operate the dam.  As you can imagine, it is a really big deal, and a lengthy, red tape filled process.  They are required by FERC to perform all kinds of studies – water quality, water quantity, erosion and sedimentation, wildlife impact, economic impact – just to name a few. 

Other regulatory agencies, such as ADEM, also get involved, suggesting different studies that they think should be taken into account.  Local advocacy groups, such as LMRA,  CALM, Lake Watch, and the Lake Martin HOBOs, have all had a keen interest in the process to try and put forth issues that they each feel should be addressed on how Lake Martin is managed.

Input is also sought from average joes like you and me.  For instance, yesterday I attended a public meeting in Alex City for those interested in the different “Issue Groups” about the Relicensing Project.  I went to the “Water Quality and Quantity Issue Group.”  Most of the material was over my head, but the basic gist was that this group is focused on studies about water quality and quantity.  Jim Crew, the Alabama Power employee in charge of the Martin Hydro Relicensing Project, gave an overview of the process.  They are in the first formal stages of creating that application.  They must apply by 2011 to be renewed in 2013.

If you have any concerns whatsoever about Lake Martin and how it is run, now is your chance to get in the loop and let your voice be heard.  For instance, if you think that they should only lower the water 5 feet in the winter in the future, visit the Martin Hydro Relicensing Project’s web site.  Call Jim Crew at 205–257–4265 or Viki Jackson at 205–257–2211 and ask them how you can get involved.  After sitting through that meeting, and talking with Alabama Power officials afterward, I got the feeling that they are honestly doing their very best to involve all the “stake holders” in this and address everyone’s concerns. 

Alabama Power has also recently gone to bat for Lake Martin against the Corp of Engineers and other influences that affect Lake Martin’s water level and I applaud them for it.  If you have been an APCo hater in the past, thinking that they are part of some shadowy effort to rob you of nostalgia, well, here’s a chance to get them to listen to you.  Act now or wait until June of 2036.

Lake Martin Drought of 1941 Was Worse than 2007

Lake martin drought 1941

 

Lake Martin has been a victim of the 2007 drought that has affected Alabama and much of the southeast.  The lake level is down to 480 already, which is the normal winter level.

Apparently in 1941 it was worse.  50 feet down is about as bad as it gets.  I think back then they used to bring the level down in the winter by 30 feet anyway, so maybe the 1941 drought’s true effect was 20 or so feet.  Since this picture was taken in November, I am sure there is some effect of the winter level.

Still, 50 feet down is pretty bad.  I was shocked to see this in an email that was circulating around.  Maybe someone will debunk this as an urban legend, but at the very least we can be glad that we don’t have to make up 50 feet this spring.

Thanks to Eric of Lakedog Appraisals for sending me the photo!

 

Gov Riley Declares War On Lake Martin Water Level

Lake Martin real estate water levelGovernor Bob Riley has declared war with the Army Corps of Engineers over the Lake Martin Water level.

Apparently he is sick of seeing this drought affect Lake Martin’s water level drastically, while reservoirs that are upstream (read: in Georgia) haven’t felt the hurt like we have.  The Army Corps of Engineers regulate the flow on most if not all of these dams.  Riley contends that they need to release more water in Georgia to help Alabama.

Robert Price Prince, the general manager for Central Elmore (County) Water Authority joins Riley in his concerns.  The company’s water intake valve is at 474 feet on the Martin dam.  Any lake level below that spells trouble.

In response, the Corps has responded to say that they will increase water flow into the Tallapoosa / Coosa system and also reduce the required flow going out.  Hopefully this will abate the drop in the Lake Martin water level.

I guess that just goes to show you what a country boy can accomplish when he gets mad.  Lake Martin water level effect on real estateGuv can put the top back on that can of Clay County Whup A**.  I applaud the Governor’s passion and action.

I looked and looked for an online video of the Guv’s call to arms.  I saw it on the news the other night, and it was a classic Alabama rant.  There he was, up in the grill of the cameraman, tie loosened and sleeves rolled up, spitting and fuming.  Well, it worked!  Good for him.

Every time I see the Guv at a public event, he has the tie loose and the sleeves rolled up.  It makes me wonder, if he ever did get in an actual fight, would he tighten up the tie and roll his sleeves down?  Just wondering.  Kudos to Riley.

 

Related Posts:

Help Keep Lake Martin Water Level Up
Fourth Of July Fireworks Are On, But Don’t Try At Home

You Are A Lake Martin HOBO

Lake Martin HoboWhether you know it or not, you are a Lake Martin HOBO!

Some Lake Martin area folks have organized the Lake Martin Home Owners and Boat Owners Association – and called it the Lake Martin HOBOs.  You don’t really have to be a waterfront home owner or a license toting boat owner to be a member.  So even if you are merely a fan of Lake Martin, you can join today

Coley Real Estate and the Lake Martin Voice are proud sponsors of the Lake Martin HOBOs.

Why a Lake Martin HOBO?

The Mission Statement reads:

“The organization’s mission is to work together with home owners, boat owners, local businesses, local, state and federal agencies and others to foster long term partnerships to preserve, protect and enhance the overall quality of life of all living things in and around Lake Martin – The Crown Jewel of the South, including, but not limited to, water levels and quality, shoreline preservation, fishing, wildlife, recreational activities and the safety of all boaters.”

Worthy goals all.  I think Lake Martin needs an association like this that will responsive to the people in the area, and that will balance quality of life issues with the realities of Lake Martin’s future development.

Please support the Lake Martin HOBOs!

New Lake Martin Lunch Spot: Green Valley Market & Cafe

Lake Martin lunch restaurantLake Martin has another great dining choice! The Green Valley Market and Cafe is now open.

The Green Valley Market is located in the Eclectic or Kowaliga area of Lake Martin, next to the Kudzu Corner. They are located on Highway 229 about halfway between where 229 intersects highway 50 at Castaway Island Road, and where 229 intersects highway 63 (aka Kowaliga Road) in downtown Kowaliga.

The Green Valley Market and Cafe sells sandwiches, and offers a good assortment of meat at their meat counter. If you need a lotGreen Valley market outside of food for your Fourth of July party, you may want to ask them about their catering. One of the newer trends on Lake Martin is selling ready to eat casseroles and such for people who don’t want to cook yet would like some home cookin. They sell a lot of the warm up and eat type of fare, which I am sure is very good. They also sell boutique looking spices, and little gifts, etc.

Lake Martin real estate lunchI have tried just about every sandwich they make, and I must say, I am pleasantly surprised. They serve the sandwiches with sides like potato salad or pasta salad, but my favorite is the black bean salad. Usually a lunch menu on the fru fru side does not do much for me, but their sandwiches taste really good. They use good quality meat and give generous portions. It is a great choice if you are looking for something other than fried foods.

Check them out! I recommend them heartily and wish them the best. Their phone is (334)857-3663. Street address is 2415 Red Hill Road, Eclectic, Alabama, 36024.

Related post: Four Great Lunch Meals Around Lake Martin

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Russell Lands’ Fireworks Are On, But Don’t Try At Home

Lake Martin real estate propertyLake Martin’s Fireworks Display on the Fourth of July is one of the best things about the lake area. After years of watching the fireworks show at the lake has caused me to be jaded and judgmental of any other claims to have “the best fireworks show in the land.

Many have worried that this year’s severe drought would prevent Russell Lands from putting on their annual patriotic display. After the state fire marshall banned fireworks in 33 drought affected counties, rumors have been flying around Lake Martin that there would be no fireworks show.

Fear Not! The fireworks show is on! Russell Lands General Counsel Steve Forehand confirmed in a letter that they do plan to have the fireworks display this year. Russell Lands has a “special permit from the Alabama Forestry Commission and the State Fire Marshall.

If you would like to see the fireworks, you can drive to the Lake Martin Amphitheater for the best view. It’s about a mile south of Kowaliga Bridge on highway 63. The Sweet Young Uns, Muse, and Harbor Lights will be playing after the fireworks.

By boat, you can pretty much see them at any point from Kowaliga Bridge to Martin Dam, which will be packed with thousands of boats. If you want an unimpeded view, go to the Cocktail Slough, directly north of the Amphitheater. If you go by boat, take caution. This event makes for the most dangerous time to drive a boat on Lake Martin. Combine the darkness, drunk boat drivers, inexperienced boat drivers, and (this year) exposed islands and it can be a madhouse.

Back to the Russell Lands letter – if you rent a Russell Lands cabin, watch out. Forehand Lake Martin property real estate fireworksreminds you that it is against your lease to shoot fireworks on the property – and it “could result in termination of your lease. That would be a shame.

Help Keep Lake Martin Water Level Up

HelpAlabama Power has requested to lower the required stream flow coming from Martin Dam, in an effort to keep the water level on Lake Martin from plummeting even more.  Click here for the public notice from the Corps of Engineers.

Lake martin real estate helpWillard Bowers, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Alabama Power, made a request on May 15 to Colonel Peter F. Taylor, Commander, Mobile District, US Army Corps of Engineers, to “implement a reduction .. of flow of 10%” on Martin Dam.  He said that if they continue at the current flow, Lake Martin will be at its drought contingency level by July 4.  In short, they want to reduce the flow so that the water level on Lake Martin might have a chance of not plummeting as quickly this summer.

Col. Taylor has responded by notifying the public about this request, to give everyone a chance to have some input.  On page 3 of his notice, Col. Taylor notes that if the proposed changes are NOT implemented,  APC has indicated that the  “impact of maintaining (the current) release to the Alabama River has fallen completely on the remaining storage at Lake Martin…… Lake Martin is projected to be 14 feet below the rule curve by early August.”  I might not be right, but I read that to mean that unless something changes, Lake Martin’s water level will be at 476 by August.

What can I do?

You can contact Chuck Sumner and let him know that you support the proposed reduction in flow from Martin Dam.  Maybe you don’t support it; you can tell him that, too. 

Email:   Chuck Sumner, Inland Environmental Team
           [email protected]  (thanks Mav)

Fax:  (251)694–3815

Voice: (251)694–3857

Snail mail:

District Engineer
U.S. Army Engineer District, Mobile
P.O. Box 2288
Mobile, AL 36628–0001

DEADLINE:  10 CALENDAR DAYS FROM MAY 31, 2007

Please act now!  This won’t restore Lake Martin to its normal summer level, and might not even keep us from dipping below 480.  But at least it gives us a fighting chance!

Drought & Alabama Power Lower Lake Martin Level

Lake Martin’s water level is low this year, and it could get even lower.lake martin real estate water level

Alabama Power says
that Lake Martin’s water level started dropping on May 18 and “could be much lower on July 4.”

It is no news flash that Alabama and much of the southeast has suffered a severe drought so far in 2007.  This follows on the heels of a dry 2006.  Since part of Lake Martin’s existence depends on it maintaining a certain level downstream, it has been affected.

 

The folks at Alabama Power are not optimistic: “most streams that feed our lakes are at the lowest levels ever recorded.”

Lake Martin usually is filled to full pool, or 490 feet above sea level, by May.  As of May 15 it was just under 486, and dropping.  They are even reporting to FERC about the lower water flow.

Again, a quote from Alabama Power: “Martin is not expected to fill above 486 and will begin to drop May 18.”

Get used to it folks; prepare yourselves for reality.

lake martin real estate water alabama powerAlabama Power owns the hydroelectric Martin Dam that dams the Tallapoosa River, creating Lake Martin.  They control the water level to try and balance their power generating needs with ecological effects, recreational effects, and the commercial navigation of the Alabama River, which is downstream of the Tallapoosa.

Alabama Power is currently distributing the word through news agencies and their own press releases  that we had better be ready for a long, dry summer.

 

Related Posts:

When Does The Water Level Go Down On Lake Martin?
Mythbuster: Alabama Power Leased Lots – Lake Martin

Mythbuster: Alabama Power Leased Lots – Lake Martin

Lake Martin Alabama power leased lotAlabama Power has leased waterfront lots on Lake Martin for decades.  Yet, so much rumor, speculation, and innuendo surrounds the topic it remains mysterious to many people, real estate agents included.

Allow me to try to bust the myth on this subject.

Why are there leased lots on Lake Martin?

Lake Martin dam alabama power real estateLake Martin was created in 1923 when the Southern Company (Alabama Power) built Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River.  They bought up all of the eventual waterfront at the elevation of 490 feet above sea level.  Since old Mr. Ben Russell (founder of Russell Mills), already owned the damming rights to the Tallapoosa, the Power Company swapped him those rights for one half of the waterfront.  Pretty much every inch of the 700 miles of waterfront of Lake Martin at one time or another was owned by either Alabama Power or Old Mr. Ben.

When did Alabama Power begin to lease lots on Lake Martin?

Sometime around in the 1960s, Alabama Power allowed people to build homes on the waterfront, but they retained ownership of the land underneath the home.  The people own the sticks and bricks, the company owns the dirt.  The people paid a monthly lease to do so.  Over the years, depending on the opinions of officers at Alabama Power, the homeowners were given the chance to buy the dirt under their homes.  No rhyme or reason to it, some years they would decide to sell, other years they would institute leases.  That policy continues today.  Who knows, they may decide to start selling lots to leaseholders tomorrow.  They might not.

How does a lot lease work on Lake Martin?

These days, when Alabama Power leases a waterfront lot to homeowners, they have a written lease, just like you would for an apartment.  The lease specifies the monthly rate (currently around $400), the length of the lease (currently twenty years), and the yearly increase of the rate.  The key here is that every lot is different, so if you’re concerned, consult a lawyer.  Alabama Power assigns the lease amount when they offer new lots for lease.  They offer the lots in a bid system, meaning, the homeowners bid offers of cash to pay for the privilege of entering the lease.  If you are the top bidder, then you must pay the monthly lease rate on top of that.

What happens at the lease end?

Again, you must examine each lease to be sure of how it works.  But generally speaking, at the end of the lease, one of 4 things can happen:

1.  Alabama Power renews the lease
2.  Alabama Power sells you the lot
3.  Alabama Power buys the house from you
4.  You pick up the house and leave.

My family has been selling real estate in the Lake Martin area since 1953.  We have never heard of Alabama Power buying a house, or making someone move their house away.  Not that it is impossible, but it is, in my opinion, highly, highly, improbable.  Most of the time they either renew the lease or sell you the lot.  Once again, if in doubt, talk to a lawyer.

Can you sell a leased lot home?

One word answer – YES.  There are plenty of great leased lot homesLake Martin real estate for sale now (like this one) on Lake Martin and many that have sold in the past.  Generally speaking, you can get more house or view for your money on a leased lot house than you can on a deeded lot home, because of the existence of the lease. The transaction works just like a deeded lot sale, except you have the added step of transferring the lease to the new owner.  Alabama Power must approve this transfer, but usually it’s just a matter of paperwork.

Can you finance a leased lot home?

YES – easily.  I almost always recommend that Lake Martin buyers use lenders from around the lake.  Not because I am related to any many of them, but because lake financing is usually a bit different than your standard McHouse in McSuburbia.  Local lenders are especially handy when it comes to financing a leased lot home.  They are familiar with all of the documentation, so it’s a lot easier to work with them.

Do you own a leased lot home and have some advice to add?  Or maybe you have questions that I haven’t answered here.  If so, please comment on this post and I will do my best to answer anything else.

Related posts:

When Does The Water Level Go Down On Lake Martin?

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Lake Martin Builder Spotlight: Landmark Constr.

lake martin builder constructionLake Martin is bustling with developers, builders, sub contractors, and all types of people in the construction industry.  To shed some light on the life of one of the “good ones,” today we chat with Bradley Pemberton of Landmark Construction & Development, LLC:


1.  How do you get your sub contractors to show up on time?
 

I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere.  Seriously, I think it has to do with a number of things. First you have to know what “on time” means – proper expectations. You have to know what their work schedule will be on each project, because it will be different depending on the sub and job location.  More importantly, I think if you’re honest, pay them quickly, and accept their bid without trying to beat them down, they will respect you more and work as hard and be as productive as they can.

2.  Where do you find sub contractors that will work on Lake Martin?

These days subs will come from all over to work on Lake Martin.  I like to deal with those whom I know best and already understand their schedules and quality of work. So I will first choose subs that I like to work with that are based closest to the area.  For me that means Wetumpka, Eclectic, and Montgomery.  However it is easy to find subs in Alexander City and Birmingham.

3.  You have built all over Alabama.  What is different about building around Lake Martin?

I like several things that have been different.  I like that Tallapoosa County issues Lake Martin builder contractorbuilding permits for all projects outside of the city limits. I think this helps legitimize the contractors and maintains a level of quality for all builders.  I have enjoyed working on lots with a little change in elevation.  It’s a challenge but a lot more exciting.  You know, Montgomery is not known for its beautiful mountain views; it’s pretty flat.

4.  How do you build a spec house that is attractive to many people yet not so “cookie cutter” or clone looking?

I think you have to really concentrate on the details and the exterior.  I think custom details that either come from ideas from previous custom homes or details specific to that house that present themselves as an opportunity to make a mark, are what you have to look for.  I think you have to do the same thing either in exterior details like the eave, you know, around the roof, or on the site with landscaping or railing details. The look these days at Lake Martin is exposed natural wood, tongue and groove, stone work, with the house done in earth tone type colors.  I like a lot of stone both inside and out, cedar beams, tongue and groove ceilings, that type thing.

5.  What question did I not ask that you thought I would have asked?

I thought you would ask what I like most about construction.  And the answer is that I love to solve problems and work out the small, (seemingly) inconsequential details.  More than that, I like to see something created from a combination of materials and people’s God given abilities.  It is so fun to ride by a project and be able to proudly say “I built that.”

 

 

Thanks, Bradley, for your time.  We wish you continued success in the future.  If you would like to know how Bradley can answer your Lake Martin construction questions, call him at (334)356–2259 or contact him at Landmark Construction and Development, LLC’s home page by clicking here.