Thursday, July 31, 2008

LAHA Membership Eclipses 50

On the heels of last week's Quarterly Association meeting, we are proud to report the addition of more than a dozen new members, taking us to 52 total members so far this year. We greatly appreciate the rapidly growing interest and support from lakes area residents, and look forward to substantially more participation in the coming months. The stronger we are as an association, the more we will be able to accomplish together. With 1200 possible members, we can easily become the largest homeowners' association in Oakland County, and one of the largest in Michigan. Thank you again for your continued support.

Weed Remediation Update

The LAHA Legislative Committee has been looking into the lake situation.

  • Currently talking with a consulting and engineering company that specializes in these kind of projects
  • Second opinion will also be gathered in the next 4-6 weeks

Consultant recommended that the Walled Lake and Shawood Lake initiatives be put on separate but equal paths:

  • Walled Lake and Shawood Lake are different bio-scapes: Different stages in their lives, different aquatic plants, different treatments, one city
  • No current volunteers from Shawood Lake for the Legislative Committee or to drive the weed remediation initiative
  • Member residents of Shawood encouraged to volunteer for the committee
  • Volunteers solicited during meeting (no representatives have yet stepped forward)
  • Board reached out to attendees with connections to Shawood Lake residents to encourage more participation
  • LAHA Board desires to get Shawood Lake momentum going as soon as possible, in parallel with the Walled Lake push

Weed Remediation Options for Walled Lake:

  • Environmentally-approved chemical treatment option being reviewed
  • Consists of 3 components: Conditions study, initial treatment, and subsequent annual treatments
  • Cost: approximately $14,000 for the study, $68,000 for Year 1, $23,000 for subsequent years
  • Weed harvesting explored: Annual cost is similar to annual treatment above, the invasive weed in Walled Lake (milfoil) is reported to reseed aggressively when harvested (committee volunteers to confirm this report)
  • Seeding the lake with weed-eating insects suggested as another possible option (committee volunteers to research and report back)
  • Novi weed pick-up: Novi elected to privatize all city services (that’s why there is no garbage pickup); to do weed pick up over the long-term would require another city contract (not budgeted) - As a short-term solution, the City of Novi will revisit the investment required to provide such a service

Framing the issue for Walled Lake:

  • No longer a key stormwater basin for Novi: Primary growth in the last two decades for the City of Novi has occurred south of Walled Lake; considerable drainage improvements have been gained from those new developments easing the reliance on some previous stormwater basins (including Walled Lake); the core density for Novi is now south of the Walled Lake area; Meadowbrook and Village Oaks lake deterioration were creating flooding issues in streets and other neighborhoods – infrastructure damage and potential liability that had to be addressed (dredging of those lakes represented the city’s first investment in those lakes in 20 years)
  • Cities do not own the lakes (the State of Michigan is technically responsible but economically unable to address all of the state’s lake maintenance)
  • Events on the lake: Currently funded, primarily, by a private businessman in the city of Walled Lake; represents a considerable marketing expense that elevates the profile of the city and enhances the value of its properties and businesses (Novi's only event is a parks and rec event - the triathalon)
  • There is no legal obligation for cities to maintain the lake
  • There is no budget available (especially now as city revenues are under even more pressure)
  • Even if LAHA was able to privately finance the treatment, we have no legal grounds to treat the lake

Lake Board again under consideration – the differences:

  • Narrowly scoped mission - sole focus is on invasive, aquatic plants (not mooring, or access, or geese, etc.)
  • Based on “benefit”, measured in units: lakefront owner, lakefront separated by street, backlot, businesses, municipalities would all be assessed a percentage of a unit based on benefit
  • Two ways to set up: 2/3rds approval of all lakefront and backlot owners or City Council resolution (we will be pursuing the latter)

Legally, the long-term oversight of a Lake Board can not be explicitly limited, HOWEVER:

  • Expansion in this case is highly unlikely given the Board composition of a City of Walled Lake representative, a City of Novi representative, Oakland County representation, and a lake property owner representative – all would have to agree
  • In the consultant’s experience, only two Lake Boards in Michigan expanded their scope - out of more than 100 that have been formed (neither case dealt with the additional complexity of dual-city representation)
  • The Board would need to clear public hearings to proceed with an expansion of powers

Informal conversations in mid-July with city officials

  • Willingness to help in any way they can: information and guidance
  • Willingness to take on their fair share of the burden in a Special Assessment District (TBD by the Lake Board) - Study determines/recommends assessments with city data
  • Willingness to provide their support in setting up the Lake Board upon 51% of lakefront and backlot owners signing a petition resolving to the cities to set up the Lake Board

Estimated cost:

  • Assuming 500 homes (conservative)
  • $200 for the first year and study (approximately $17/month during the first year)
  • $100 for subsequent years (approximately $8/month)
  • Actual recommendations on assessments will be determined during the upfront study


  • Petitions submitted for approval
  • Petition drive
  • City Councils pass resolutions to form the Lake Board
  • Lake Board begins to meet; selects an Engineering Firm to conduct the study
  • Testing begins (by September)
  • Study completed (this fall and winter)
  • Assessments determined
  • First treatments begin (Spring ’09 - best case scenario)

LAHA Review of Petition Resolution for the City Councils of Walled Lake and Novi

  • Draft petition resolution shared with attending LAHA members at meeting on July 22nd
  • 95% of attending members voted in support of the Petition resolution
  • Petition resolution to be presented to each City Council during early August City Council meetings

Questions and Further Discussion

  • LAHA is eager to provide as much transparency throughout this process as possible
  • Please forward any questions or concerns to the LAHA officers at the email addresses provided at
  • Use the website to initiate additional conversation among members

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Minutes from the July 22nd Quarterly Association Meeting

LAHA Quarterly Association Meeting
7pm, Tuesday, July 22nd - Walled Lake Community Education Center
48 in attendance

1. Announcement of 2008 Lakes Area Photo Contest. Best photo judging at the end of the year. Winner receives fame and a free one-year membership to LAHA. Send your photos to
2. Neighborhood garage sale suggested for spring 2009, followed by a cook-out. Advertising to be paid for by the Association. A donation lot will be set up with the proceeds going to LAHA. There was enough interest from members to continue researching and flushing out the details.
3. Weed remediation update (See specific blog posting above, dated Wednesday, July 30th)
4. Additional lakes area concerns included illegal boat mooring and individuals renting boat slips. These concerns will be added to the agenda for the next meeting and will be addressed/pursued separately
5. Due to changing the Association’s year end to December, dues that are paid now will be paid through December 2009.
6. Additional membership benefits include discounts from Duncan Disposal and T-Mobile if you are a member of the association. Please contact one of the LAHA officers for details.
7. Duncan Disposal: if you do not stay current with your membership they will stop picking up your trash and this is even if you were a Duncan customer prior to joining the Association.
8. As of this meeting, LAHA has 43 paid members.
9. Current bank balance: $1,313.
10. Social Event at Bayside: The Association is organizing a “Meet and Greet” for the membership. The date is Wednesday, August 20, 2008, at 7pm. It will be at the Bayside Sports Grille. The Association will provide hors d’oeuvres and there will be a cash bar. More details to follow via email and the association website.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Membership Dues Special

To help accelerate the association's momentum, we will be extending all $25 annual memberships (including those who previously paid for 2008) through December of 2009. This is a one-time only extension as we aggressively grow our membership and social and community participation. Please plan on adding your support to our new group of officers, volunteers, and members, as well as to the continuing work of our long-time members. To join, please complete the membership form on the website or, for more information, please contact one of the officers (contact information for each is on our home page). We also encourage you to join us on Tuesday, July 22nd for our next Quarterly Association meeting (open to members and non-members) where you can get a better sense for the direction of the current group and the value your $25 annual membership will deliver. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at one of our upcoming events.