SEPTEMBER 2023 NEWS
BY: Wallace Jones, President
June 10th was a memorable day for me. I was elected president of this great organization and immediately found out that the presidency has many challenges. During the Annual Meeting, some very good questions were brought up about what HOBOS stand for, why we exist, and what we can do to help those around Lake Martin. We also had some excellent presentations by Representative Ed Oliver and Sheriff Jimmy Abbett.
We held the first Board Meeting on July 10th . At this meeting a good deal of discussion centered around HOBOs being advocates for different issues that were surfacing around Lake Martin. The biggest concern was some possible developments in the Sandy Creek area and what it would mean to the residents of that area. We decided that the best way to address this was to create the “Advocacy Committee.” This committee will be responsible for determining the issues facing the stakeholders of Lake Martin and the paths to advocate for each issue. The committee will be made up of Wallace Jones (Leader), Ann Campbell, Betsy Keown, Chris Searcy, Dave Maddox, and Harry DeNegre. The first meeting of the committee was held on July 24. A charter for the committee was presented that gave the objectives, committee facilitation and leader. This was designed to allow the committee to better determine what it could, or could not do, as a representative for the residents of Lake Martin. Many ways to conduct advocacy were discussed, along with limitations on what the advocacy committee could be involved in. Another committee meeting will be scheduled within the next two months.
On July 16th , Harry DeNegre and Wallace Jones attended a “neighborhood watch” meeting in the Sandy Creek/Point Cloxson area of Lake Martin. This group of Lake Martin citizens were interested in the newly-created “Advocacy Committee” and what it would be doing for the Lake Martin community in the future. They were also interested in the upcoming Shoreline Management Program meeting.
On July 18th several of the Board members and other interested citizens attended a Public Forum held by Alabama Power Company (APC) to submit their proposals to update the Lake Martin Shoreline Management Program (SMP). This must be done every 6 years and submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington. The APC representatives went over each section and listed several minor proposed changes. A Q&A period was held at the end, but many of the issues brought forth by the attendees were not under the scope of the meeting and were not addressed by APC. Two issues that will be addressed in the future are the proposed extension of the review period from 6 years to 10 years, and the 7-year draw-down. These are two items we will be discussing at our next board meeting.
Several of the Board members met with Representative Ed Oliver on August 1st . Rep. Oliver asked the HOBOs to meet with other representatives that will be working on the 200’ safety zone bill to be introduced to the 2024 Legislature. We also discussed the Camp Hill issue regarding their denial of a $17 million grant to upgrade their water and sewer systems. Rep. Oliver stated that there was still a $7 million grant available, but he was not sure that Camp Hill would use the funds. He asked that HOBOs get more involved with ADEM by contacting them and getting information from those who work closely with issues regarding Lake Martin.
Shortly after the first meeting with APC about the SMP, Lake Watch of Lake Martin and HOBOs each sent a letter to APC requesting additional meetings to discuss the SMP. This meeting was held on August 17th in Dadeville. Four representatives from APC and four from Lake Watch and HOBOs attended. The main item of concern for Lake Watch and HOBOs was the addition of “multi-family” housing and commercial developments planned for the Sandy Creek area. APC has already given a permit to one landowner to construct a seawall for four lots on Arrowhead Trail. These four lots are being pre-sold as condominiums, with four buildings having six units in each one, for a total of twenty-four units. APC considers a condominium as a single-family residence for each unit. They do not have “multi-family” in their “Glossary of Shoreline Terms and Definitions.” One of the lots involved in the Sandy Creek issues was previously covered by a deed that restricted it to a single-family residence. By the APC definitions, a condominium would fill this requirement. APC was also unwilling to change the 10-boat slip limitation for non-residential dock permits, stating that FERC had granted them the authority to approve these to reduce the amount of permit requests submitted by APC. HOBOs also requested to be named as a specific “stakeholder” in the SMP in two categories: 1) any permits submitted for multi-family and/or commercial developments and 2) any time APCO proposes a change to their “Project Lands”. No definitive response was received for either request. Lake Watch and HOBOs will request additional meetings with APC to further discuss these items and will request a written response to the requests made at this meeting.
I received this article from one of our board members the other day, and thought it deserved to be shared with the HOBO membership. I believe it is very relevant to much of what is currently facing HOBOs and lake property owners on Lake Martin.
“The Tragedy of the Commons” is a concept in economics that highlights the problem of overuse or depletion of shared resources when individuals act in their self-interest rather than considering the well-being of the collective. The term was first coined by biologist Garrett Hardin in 1968.
The concept is illustrated by imagining a hypothetical common pasture, open to all herders. Each herder has the incentive to increase their own livestock because they reap the benefits of the additional animals. However, the pasture has limited grazing capacity, and when every herder pursues their self-interest and adds more animals, the pasture becomes overgrazed and eventually depleted. This is the tragedy – despite each individual herder making rational decisions, the collective outcome is detrimental.
The Tragedy of the Commons arises due to the absence of individual ownership or clear rules governing resource use. In such a situation individuals have no direct incentive to conserve or sustain the resource, leading to its degradation. The problem extends beyond pastures to various shared resources like fisheries, forests, clean air, and water.
To address this issue, solutions include privatization, where individual ownership creates a sense of responsibility, or the establishment of regulations and institutions that manage and allocate the resource sustainably. By recognizing the importance of cooperation and considering the long-term consequences, societies can strive to prevent the Tragedy of the Commons and achieve sustainable resource management.”
We will continue to keep the HOBO membership informed using newsletters, such as this email, our website (www.lakemartinhobos.com), and Facebook. We encourage you to share this newsletter with friends and neighbors and let them know what HOBOs are doing to attain our “Mission 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”, and Alabama’s only “Treasured Lake.”
We also welcome the general membership to attend the bi-monthly board meetings. They are published on the website. Our next board meeting is September 11, 2023, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Zazu’s Verandah, 128 W. Cusseta Street, Dadeville, Alabama.