Archive for the 'Lake Martin Living' Category

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 “” sign on the front of his building – or maybe a Glamour Shot photo of the two of us … hmmmm …


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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!


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

How To Get One-Up On Lake Martin Wannabes

Lake martin clean upHave you had Lake Martin waterfront property all of your life, but you’re tired of the Johnny-come-latelys who can’t find Chimney Rock without a GPS?  Or maybe you’re new to Lake Martin, and have heard enough hot air from old timers that think they should have shut the gates of the lake back in 1958?

Here’s a way to way to shut both of them up. 


When’s the last time you volunteered your time for the Lake?

After they quit mumbling a response, get over on them by bragging about how you participated in the 2007 Lake Martin Clean Up.lake martin real estate trash

Each year, Renew Our Rivers (a joint effort between Alabama Power and the Middle Tallapoosa Clean Water Partnership) hosts a clean up day.  It’s a chance for regular folks to pitch in and help beautify Lake Martin.


This year it is Saturday July 14 from 8 AM to Noon. (No, you don’t have to work the whole time.  30 minutes will do.)


Four locations: 1. Kowaliga Bridge Boat Ramp, 2. DARE Park, 3. Union Boat Ramp, and 4.Alex City Boat Ramp

Any swag?

You get a t shirt, gloves, and a bag.


Tammy Jones (256) 234-5271 ext. 3

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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