Alliance formed over LCRA lease increases, which are now on hold
Subdivision residents on Lake Buchanan are forming an alliance they hope will help them deal with the Lower Colorado River Authority’s recent attempts to dramatically increase money collected for waterfront access lease agreements. The LCRA has since informed DailyTrib.com that the increases, originally set to begin Jan. 1, 2023, are on hold for the time being, although no one interviewed for this article had been directly notified of that.
The first public meeting of the Lake Buchanan Communities Alliance is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at the East Llano County Annex, 8347 RR 1431 in Buchanan Dam.
“The idea is to combine as many (property owner associations) and small businesses around the community to give us a bigger voice,” said Wayne Shipley, a member of the Greenwood Acres POA and the alliance formation committee.
Greenwood Acres is one of several communities that leases waterfront access for its residents from the LCRA. Recently, the river authority’s real estate services division notified communities their leases would increase by thousands of dollars as of Jan. 1, 2023.
Greenwood Acres has paid $100 a year for more than 40 years for about a quarter of an acre. The first notice of an increase was for $5,600. It was later lowered to $3,400 a year.
Lake Buchanan Village, which also pays $100 a year, was informed that its next bill would be for $4,500 a year, also beginning in January.
“LCRA is working to incorporate market rental values into our leases with POAs as the leases become due, per LCRA Board policy 401.402 (A) 1 requiring LCRA land use agreements to be based on market rental value,” said LCRA Public Information Officer Clara Tuma in an email. “We are aware that moving leases to full market rental value in a single year could create issues for lessees, particularly given the significant increases in land values in the area over the last few years.”
According to Tuma, the river authority decided in July to “put proposed modifications to lease agreements with property owners’ associations on hold as we work to address community concerns.”
“We will be back in touch with the Lake Buchanan Lake Village Land Owners Association over the next few months and look forward to continuing our long relationship,” she concluded.
Greenwood Acres’ 134 properties pay dues to a POA. The money was used to build and now maintain a pier and boat ramp. Individually owned boat docks on LCRA leased land were paid for and are maintained by the owners, said Marci O’Brien, association treasurer.
“This is a significant increase, especially since we don’t collect that much in dues,” she said. “We are mostly a retirement community and that’s a big chunk out of our budget. When we got the first notice, we, of course, said not just no but hell no”
O’Brien said the LCRA representative was asked what would happen if the POAs did not pay.
“He was stumped when we asked that question,” she said.
The LCRA also did not respond to the question when asked by DailyTrib.com.
Shipley pointed out that the land in question is no good to anyone but the POAs.
“It’s a tiny amount of property they can’t get to without going through our property or by rowing a boat up to it,” Shipley said. “We’ve maintained that property for decades. It’s useless to anyone else.”
The Lake Buchanan Communities Alliance meeting is open to the public and to discussion of other subjects.
“There are other issues and other groups involved,” Shipley said. “I think when we hold our first meeting, we will hear other issues we haven’t even thought about yet.”