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From the Lake's Edge

Jan. 31, 2007 - What Does "Lake Access" Mean?

Autumn on Lake Lure

As you look for properties in our area you may hear the phrase: “It has lake access.” What the heck is that?

Lake Access is the “second best” way for a property owner to get to enjoy the lake. The best way, of course, is to own land to the water’s edge. Most existing lakefront houses have a boathouse for storing their boats. I’ll describe later some of the rules and regulations that impact boathouse construction.

Lake Access allows multiple property owners in a development to share a lakefront property for their common enjoyment. It is a real benefit in Lake Lure Village Resort, Pierpoint and Lake Lure Golf Resort, because these areas have cluster mooring to allow several boats to be stored on the lake. Lake Lure Village Resort has created enough moorage that virtually every one of their owners can tie up a boat. Pierpoint has a “first come, first served” policy that will allow most of their owners to use the wharf, but they will eventually have to rotate boats in and out. Lake Lure Golf Resort currently has a waiting period of 3 years for a boat slip.

The term Lake Access is also sometimes used by developers to provide lake recreation opportunities for non-lakefront lots. Examples of this are Lurewoods, Grey-Rock and Blue Heron Point. Because the lots dedicated to common lake use are not allowed to be used for cluster mooring, they become a place where the interior lot owners can play in the water, fish or go for a boat ride, but the boats must be stored elsewhere, they can’t be moored here overnight.

Other Lake Lure property owners who want easy access to their boat must rent a boat slip at either the Town Marina (there is a long waiting list) or at the Dam Marina, which often has an available slot.

The only other option is to launch the boat when the owner wants to use it. There are launch ramps at Lake Lure Golf Resort and at Lake Lure Village Resort for those property owners and a public ramp at the Town Marina. Lake Lure Golf Resort has some dry boat storage space which is available for a fee.

Regarding boathouse construction for lakefront properties, if the lakefront property has 100’ of frontage, and a home plan has been approved by the town, the property owner can easily apply for a building permit and construct a boathouse on the water. Since the town owns the lake, they exert some control over the construction.

If the lot where the owner wants a boathouse was laid out and deeded prior to the zoning ordinances of the 1980s, it is a “deeded lot of record.” The town will approve a boathouse on a “deeded lot of record” with only 85’ of lake frontage. The owner still has to go through the process of applying for a building permit, but it is not complex.

If, however, the lot frontage is less than 85’ or if the lot with less than 100’ was laid out since the zoning ordinance was put in place, the property owner will need to go before the Lake Structures Board and ask for their permission to build. In addition to the lake frontage, that board will inquire about potential blockage of neighbor’s views, and whether the boathouse will significantly reduce the width of viable water in the cove where the boathouse would be located. The odds are against getting approval for anything other than an uncovered pier. Any potential purchaser should be advised to make an offer on one of these lots contingent on boathouse approval.

I hope this explanation is useful.

Text and Graphics © LakesEdge Realty 2007

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A periodic blurb about life in the idyllic setting of western North Carolina, just southeast of Asheville. We enjoy our lakes encircled by scenic mountains as we pause and reflect on the beauty we see every day.

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