Undeveloped Area Road Improvement and Maintenance:
Background – There are more than ten miles of unpaved dirt and gravel roads located within the bounds of Lake Holiday. The roadways were roughed-in during the initial development of Lake Holiday, but since utilities were not available in those areas and planned development never occurred, the roadways were never paved.
These roadways are owned by the Association, and provide for: access to member owned lots, access to common area amenities (such as Beach III and the established hiking trail heads), an emergency exit on the south side of the dam, and as emergency service corridors should there be an accident, forest fire, etc. in those undeveloped areas.
Maintenance of these roadways has been irregular over the years as they remained largely unused and access to the areas they serve remains infrequent. Access to private lots has been maintained, but only to a “passable” level at times. This, coupled with the passage of time since initially being constructed, has led to less-than-desirable road surface and drainage conditions in many areas. Road surface conditions continue to degrade as time passes due to drainage system issues such as failing culverts and poorly defined ditch lines. These problems were significantly worsened and highlighted during the ice event of this past winter when hundreds of trees were downed across these roadways. It took many weeks to remove the trees in these areas and during that time ice and water sat on the roadways thawing and refreezing.
As trucks and equipment moved through during the cleanup efforts, the road base in many areas deteriorated significantly resulting in deep ruts, mud holes and poor drainage from the roadways. Once the trees were removed and the ground was able to dry out some, our maintenance crew patched up the roadways as best they could with the LHCC-owned equipment they had available. This restored the roads to a passable condition, but left them with poor surface drainage in many areas which will require additional work to correct.
Actions Already Taken – When planning for the 2020 budget year, I requested an additional $20,000 for as needed road improvement contracting, and an additional $10,000 for as needed road improvement materials with the stated intent of utilizing those additional funds to improve undeveloped area roadways. The Finance Committee included those funds in the budget submitted to and subsequently approved by the Board of Directors. Those funds will become available in January and will be utilized in the spring to continue improvement efforts.
In the meantime, I have arranged for Pine Knoll to grade some of the worst road surface areas (primarily in section 6A with a concentration on the lakefront roads), and to open drainage in those areas were reasonably possible as a part of the grading effort. This work is scheduled to begin in the next few days weather permitting. This work will be funded out funds approved for road improvements in the 2019 operating budget.
Planning: – I was recently invited to attend the Master Planning Committee’s December meeting to discuss strategies for addressing these undeveloped area roadways and to make recommendations for a path forward. Discussion areas included current road usage, level of desired care, methods to achieve desired outcomes, and my recommendations.
The following general recommendations were made:
- Continue to include funds for upkeep, grading, repairs and improvements in yearly budget planning.
- Prioritize/categorize culvert pipe crossings, gather details (length, size, depth below grade, current condition, etc.)
- Identify drainage issues and prioritize the need for repair, plan for/make the repairs as funding allows .
- Clean out inflow areas of prioritized culverts such as those categorized as critical/high importance ASAP (others later as resources allow).
- Clear overgrowth (trees) from existing ditch lines focusing on the areas which are currently impacting water flow first. Discuss options (contractor vs. in-house labor, piecemeal or all at once).
- Plan for culvert replacement (based upon prioritization, necessity) in the Replacement Reserve (RR) plan, using data gathered/remaining life estimations.
- Re-evaluate conditions routinely and address surface issues as necessary (especially important after storm events, heavy rains, etc.)
I believe these recommendations form a reasonable strategy for addressing the road conditions in LHCC’s undeveloped areas while balancing the need for improvements with economic factors and available resources. As we move forward, this strategy should be adjusted as necessary in response to its effectiveness and the Association’s desires/needs.
The Master Planning Committee has formed a working group to gather information for the prioritization of future work in these areas. I look forward to assisting the group in the furtherance of these recommendations.
Project Status Updates:
QuickBooks Migration – The Association’s QuickBooks files and software were successfully migrated to ACE Cloud Hosting on December 5th, 2019, and most users are now set up and able to utilize the software. The migration went well and was without any significant issues.
Server Replacement – The PowerEdge T340 server approved for purchase as a replacement for the existing 2008 server has been ordered and is expected to arrive and be installed/set up near the end of December. Installation will result in a loss of access to some files, information, etc. during the day of installation, and may result in some minor inconveniences during the transition, but no major impacts on operations are anticipated.
Front Entry Gate Operators – Golden Seal Enterprises, Inc. are tentatively scheduled to swap out the front gate barrier operators the week of December 16th, 2019. They will plan to exchange one per day in order to limit traffic interruptions and so they may get each lane back up and running by days end.
Hunting Advisory – Please be aware that hunting is currently in season in Frederick Co., and though hunting is prohibited within LHCC due to zoning restrictions, firearms restrictions, etc.. Many adjoining properties are not under such a prohibition. We have had recent reports of hunting along the borders of the community and caution is advised if walking in those areas. Wearing hunter safety orange is a great way to be certain you are visible to anyone who may be hunting nearby.
Security recently received a report of two tree stands and a hunting blind which were believed to be located on community lands. In reality they are located on adjoining property and staff can take no action regarding them. They do, however, highlight the fact that hunting does occur just outside of LHCC borders. Please be cautious in such areas.
Mike Goodwin, LHCC General Manager