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Archive for the 'Lake Martin Living' Category

Lost At Lake Martin? Use Google’s Free Maps For Mobile

Ever been lost around Lake Martin?  Has anyone given you bad directions to their cabin and frustrated you by relying on the term “can’t miss it?”  If you were looking for 1135 Lakeview Drive, Dadeville, how would you like to be able to see this map on your cell phone:

 Google map lake martin

 

Download Google’s Maps for Mobile on your cell phone and greatly diminish your odds of getting lost around Lake Martin.

Top 5 Cool things about Google Maps for mobile:

1.  It’s free.  The software from Google is free.  You will pay, however, for the data that you download, so if you don’t have some sort of Internet data package with your cell phone you will be charged.  If you have an unlimited data package – no worries! Even if my blackberry didn’t have unlimited data, I still would pay to download this, so I would have it in an emergency.

2. Google Maps for Mobile is accurate – even around Lake Martin.  You are accessing the same data that Google Maps shows you on your PC – just in a format that is easy on mobile web surfing.  Sure, it won’t have brand new roads, but it’s better than the most recent paper map.

3. It’s Searchable – let’s say you were in the Blue Creek area, riding around highway 50 by Martin Dam and were looking for somewhere to eat lunch. You can find your location and then search for “restaurant” – here’s what you would see:

 lake martin restaurants near blue creek

 

You can click on any of these and be told their address and phone number.

4. “My Location” feature turns your cell phone into a GPS. This new feature uses cell phone towers to triangulate your exact location.  Cool as crap.  Availability and accuracy of this depends on where you are.  I have not found a place on Lake Martin that it works.  It works pretty well on Lake Martin.  Depending on your cell coverage, it can place you from 1,000 to 5,000 meters.  It works in Montgomery, though.  If you think that the CIA will use it to track you, you can opt out of the My Location feature and still use Maps for Mobile.

5. No further software needed. GPS companies like Garmin etc have products that you can download for $99 and then pay a recurring fee through your cell phone provider– all to get the same thing as this.  Lake Martin lovers need only download Google Maps for mobile software, that’s it.  Click here and Google will send you a link to download it.

Higher Winter Water Level Approved For Lake Martin

lake martin real estate water levelLake Martin scored a major victory when FERC approved Alabama Power’s plan to raise the winter water level to 483, effective this year.

Alabama Power has also requested to move up the date to fill the Lake Martin to summer level up to January 15, 2008.  THIS IS ALL GOOD NEWS.

Lake Martin’s winter water level is usually 480 msl.  It’s lower than that this year, as Alabama has suffered through the worst drought recorded in 80 years.  Pretty much the rest of the southeast has suffered, too, but Alabama and Georgia have been hit the hardest.

Also, Alabama Power is in the process of reapplying for the license to operate Martin Dam.  lake martin waterfront propertyMost everyone that knows and loves Lake Martin is hoping that the move to 483 level during the winter will be a part of that relicensing, as well as the early fill up date of January 15.

If we get our normal amount of rain, this should mean that Lake Martin will recover its “lost” water more quickly.  Yee-haw!! 

Can you believe it?  How many of you out there will be able to drive your boat to your dock at 483 feet versus 480?  I am betting lots.

 

Related posts:

Alabama Power Wants Higher Winter Water Level On Lake Martin
Why / When Does The Water Level Go Up On Lake Martin?

Closets For Your Lake Martin Cabin: $50

lake martin real estate for saleDo you have a a cabin on Lake Martin with no little or no closet space?  Why not buy a nice armoire for $50?

Lots of the waterfront homes around Lake Martin were built in the 1960s, so that means no storage.  The owners can fix them up or keep them rustic, but lack of closets can be a hassle.  In fact, one of my listings that sold this summer didn’t have a closet.

Solution: Buy a used armoire.  I read in a recent Wall Street Journal article that there are tons of really nice used armoires out there for the taking, some as little as $50.  This is caused by the flat screen TV phenomenon.  As people upgrade to the new thing, they can no longer fit them into their entertainment center / armoire.

Hotels have it even worse.  As they struggle to keep fresh, they are dumping armoires by the thousands.  Why not buy one online and take it to your Lake Martin cabin?  Either keep it for a tube TV or convert it to store clothes, lake toys, or whatever.  Many of these furniture pieces are from pretty swanky hotels.lake martin storage

Check it out:

WHERE TO FIND THEM:

Hotel Surplus Outlet, www.hotelsurplus.com
This Los Angeles liquidator is encouraging customers to buy armoires and convert them into computer stations.

Universal Hotel Liquidators, www.furnishcheap.com
Armoires start at $89.95. Starting next year, the company plans to throw in free tube TVs to help move inventory.
National Content Liquidators, www.nclsales.com
Starting prices for armoires here are down to $50. Among its hotel clients: Le Meridien in Beverly Hills.
AMC Liquidators, www.amcliquidators.com
This Fort Lauderdale liquidator has sold armoires that were once used to furnish the Breakers hotel in Palm Beach.

GIVE YOUR CABINET A MAKEOVER:

Learn how to convert your entertainment armoire into a wardrobe.

 

Alex City Water System Extends Intakes Deeper in Lake Martin

The drought this year has threatened to lower the level of Lake Martin to below where the intake valves for the water works of the City of Alex City are located. The City has had to extend their intake valves to deeper water.  This video was filmed 10–26–2007 on the Tallapoosa River just above River North Marina.   Click on the “play” symbol in the middle of the video below to watch it.

 

 

 Or you can click here to see the video on Youtube.

Alabama Power Wants Higher Winter Level On Lake Martin

lake martin water level changeLake Martin HOBOs President Jesse Cunningham announces that Alabama Power is taking a major step by requesting to hold more water in the lake during the next few winters.  Cunningham reports in an email, “I received word on Friday from Charles Stover with Alabama Power that they have just filed a request with FERC” to increase the winter water level to 483 from 480.  Three extra feet spread over 44,000 acres means that we would need a heck of a lot less rain to get to full pool of 490.

This will please Lake Martin property owners that might have access to the lake at 483, but not the normal winter level of 480 msl.  The higher winter water level will give more recreational opportunities to boaters, skiers, and anglers.  The higher the water, the easier it is to launch a boat, and the easier to navigate and enjoy.

Alabama Power is applying to renew their permit to operate Martin Dam.  Before they request any big change, they must submit reams of data to prove to FERC that any operational change will have minimum impact.  Maybe this awful drought that we have been suffering will give Alabama Power more ammo to prove the obvious point – more water in Lake Martin is a good thing.  I think they used to fear holding too much in case of a hurricane or flash flood.  But these days, with them computers and what all, we can predict precipitation much more accurately, and we have plenty of time to open the gates in case of a flood.

Sure, this probably won’t help us this winter, but every winter thereafter will be great.  Kudos to Alabama Power and every Lake Martin affinity group that helped push this idea.  Let’s hope FERC approves it!

 

Related posts:

Alabama Power Seeks Input To Relicense Martin Dam
Drought & Alabama Power Lower Lake Martin Level

Lake Martin Drought Hits The Weather Channel Video

lake martin drought  weather channelThe historically harsh drought that has hit Lake Martin in 2007 has been highlighted by The Weather Channel Network.  They sent reporter Julie Martin (no relation) to shoot a video spot that aired last night.   Click here for the video.  If for some reason it doesn’t auto play after the commercial, look to the right and select the video titled “Drought and no water to drink.”

The Alex City Outlook also reported on the video.

Mostly, I think it’s a pretty good report.  I would have liked her to point out that right now it is about 3 feet below the winter water plan, or, 3 feet lower than it normally would be.  Not 13 lower.  Still, maybe reports like this will help Alabama Power in its appeals to the Corps of Engineers to allow less downstream flow.

Incidentally – my Dad’s real estate office in downtown AC (aka the Northern Command) is visible at 0:32 in to the video, 2 doors to the left of Carlisle’s Clothing.  Maybe now I can talk him into hanging a “www.LakeMartinVoice.com” sign on the front of his building – or maybe a Glamour Shot photo of the two of us … hmmmm …

 

Tired of having to type and click to get the latest Lake Martin real estate news?

Lazy man’s special – subscribe to Lake Martin Voice by email by entering your address in the yellow box at the top right, and click “Subscribe.”  We are also available via RSS feed for you really cool folks.

ElCo Tax Man Squeezes Lake Martin Property Owners

lake martin real estate TaxesIf you own Lake Martin waterfront property that is in Elmore County, chances are that your assessment (and therefore property taxes) went up this year.  I have heard lots of anguish from taxpayers that were shocked by their increase this year.  I don’t know that those in Elmore County are any worse than Tallapoosa or Coosa, but ElCo has been hit hard this year.  Property tax rates have stayed the same, but when they raise your assessed value, your taxes go up anyway.

If you disagree with your assessment, there is an appeals process.  You will need to call the Elmore County courthouse at 334–567–1428.  They only allow you to appeal for a certain time, so if you disagree, hurry up.  Be warned – I have heard of some taxpayers’ appraisals actually going UP after an appeal.  I guess after scrutinizing, the tax man figured he needed to go up, not down.

Lake Martin property owners from outside the state of Alabama should note that our property tax fiscal year runs October 1 to September 30.  So, the bill that you have to pay by December 31, 2007, is based on an appraisal at October 1, 2006.  Therefore any appeal that you make would need to estimate the value at 10–1–2006.

The best way to get your appraisal lowered is to show them comparable sales that prove a lowerlake martin property taxes value.  The best comparables are those that are most like your waterfront home or lot.  On Lake Martin, most of the value is in the dirt, so look for comparables with similar views, water depths, and sizes as yours.  Then try and find homes that are like yours.  Generally, it is easier to first find similar lots, then adjust for the differences in the homes.  For instance, if your neighbor sold on September 20, 2006, and his lot is almost exactly like yours, you would only need adjust for the differences in your homes.  If he had four bedrooms and you only have three, then you would adjust down by the cost or value of an extra bedroom.

lake martin property valuesIf you are trying to appeal your assessment, and need some comparable sales, or you are just wondering what your Lake Martin waterfront home or lot is worth, give me a call.  I would be glad to help you out, no cost, no obligation, no cheesy sales pitch, no guilt.  I promise.  Just buy me a Slim Jim at Nail’s and we’ll call it even.

Lake Martin Marina Spotlight: Real Island Marina

lake martin Real Island real estate area

Real Island Marina – one of Lake Martin’s older full service marinas – is located in Elmore County on the southwest side of the lake. It’s close to Lake Martin landmarks such as Kowaliga Marina, Kowaliga Bridge, Willow Point, Parker Creek, and Sand Island. The Real Island / Little Kowaliga area is popular on Lake Martin. Since it is relatively close to Montgomery and Birmingham, homes for sale in the Real Island area are typically sought after by lake goers from these cities.

To contact Real Island Marina, call (334) 857-2741.

Real Island Marina sits on Little Kowaliga Bay, at the edge of the old Little Kowaliga Creek. It used to be an independent marina, but several years ago it was purchased by Lake Martin major landowner and real estate developer Russell Lands. It is now part of the group of 4 marinas that Russell Lands owns on Lake Martin.

One unique thing about Real Island Marina is the RV Rental area. That’s right – you can trailer your RV to Lake Martin and rent a spot from Russell Lands at Real Island. The views are great, looking over Little Kowaliga. The RV park probably sits on a couple million dollars worth of dirt. It stays booked up with long term leases, but if you want a spot, no harm in asking by calling the number below.

Real Island offers gas service, some boat parts, convenience store type food, and dry boat storage. Most of lake martin real island area homes for salethe time they have dry storage available, but with the recent drought, they might be booked up. If you need storage over the fall and winter, call now.

Right now, the water level on Lake Martin is 478.1 feet. There is a boat ramp at Real Island Marina, and you may or may not able to launch from there. You definitely should call and ask them before you make the trip.

To contact Real Island Marina:

2700 Real Island Road Equality, AL 36026

Phone: 334-857-2741

Homes and Lots For Sale In Real Island / Little Kowaliga

Are you interested in waterfront homes or lots for sale in the Lake Martin area of Real Island aka Little Kowaliga? Then CLICK HERE for the Little Kowaliga neighborhood page on my site. You will see a current, up to the minute list of waterfront homes and lots for sale, plus a general description of the Little Kowaliga area, and why some people call it Real Island.

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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!