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MARCH 2024



BY:  Harry Denegre, President

The Lake Martin Home Owners and Boat Owners (Lake Martin HOBOs) want to inform our citizens in Tallapoosa County and all-around Lake Martin of the information we have discovered concerning managing the explosive growth in Tallapoosa County.  We are not experts in this area.  We are concerned property owners and citizens. 

To the best of our knowledge, this growth is currently unregulated and unplanned.  There is no zoning or regional planning ordinances for Tallapoosa County that we have been able to locate.  There is no information about zoning on the County’s website.  The city of Dadeville has a planning and zoning committee.  It is our understanding there are a small number of counties that have been given permission by the State Legislature to establish zoning procedures and ordinances and therefore can manage and plan their growth.  It is our understanding, Baldwin County, Lee County, and Jefferson County have asked the State Legislature for permission to draw up zoning and have been granted the authority to do so.  The result of establishing mindful zoning and planning guidelines in these counties is self-evident. 

Look at Baldwin County, home to Fairhope, AL.  Baldwin County has established zoning and planning ordinances to ensure good growth and the results are impressive.  Take a moment to research Baldwin County’s zoning and planning page.  We would suggest this is due to community involvement and a desire for managed growth.  This is because the local citizenship got involved and made their local government respond to this need.

It is our opinion, the growth in Tallapoosa County (as well as Elmore and Coosa Counties) is being managed by the developers because there are no established zoning districts and ordinances, nor are there any short or long range comprehensive plans for the County.

In a recent meeting with officials of the Tallapoosa County Commission, we were told the Tallapoosa County Commissioners may need permission from the State Legislature to have legal authority to begin zoning regulations.  In our opinion, Tallapoosa County needs to do whatever it takes to implement Planning and Zoning Guidelines and have them in place by the end of fiscal year 2024.  We are pursuing further information on this issue.

We have been very fortunate to have Alabama Power as a guardian of our beautiful Lake Martin.  Alabama Power has been a good steward of Lake Martin.   Alabama Power, however, does not have the authority to enact zoning laws. 

In November of last year, Alabama Power was rewriting their Shoreline Management Guidelines for Lake Martin.  Because there are no established zoning procedures in Tallapoosa County, Lake Martin HOBOs requested Alabama Power to list the HOBOs as a stakeholder for any new commercial developments such as a condominium complex or marina on the lake. This would at least provide HOBOs early notification of a new proposed development and give our members and concerned citizens the opportunity to give feedback on the new commercial development.  Unfortunately, Alabama Power answered they would not grant Lake Martin HOBOs “Stakeholder” status because it would prove to be too burdensome for Alabama Power.    This response from Alabama power was very uncharacteristic and disappointing.   If we had the proper planning and zoning processes and procedures, we could all be aware of proposed new developments.

Currently, commercial development on the lake and excessive signage up and down the primary roads around the lake are both big issues.  Many of our members and surrounding HOAs are asking what can be done to allow our communities to receive and have input into these developments in the early stages and what is the process to limit the excessive amount of advertising signs along our roadways.  Right now, there is no methodology or structure for early notification and community feedback or involvement. Likewise, without zoning, the current status quo allows the developers and sign companies free reign.  If proper zoning and regional planning is put in place, local communities would have the opportunity to support or oppose these commercial development projects. 

A great example of this is what is happening in the Sandy Creek subdivision.  A developer wants to build two new commercial developments (Condominium complexes) within this residential area.  This community has been designated as a single-family subdivision on their property deeds.  Local homeowners were not notified about these commercial developments until the land was being cleared.  Local homeowners were not asked for their feedback or communicated with in any way.  Now, the local homeowners have formed an 200 + member HOA and are trying to get assistance.  There doesn’t seem to be anyone in authority that can assist them.

Lake Martin HOBOs is aware many of our members are concerned about condominiums being developed in areas that are designated as single-family residential developments.  If the County had the proper zoning procedures, this conversation may not be needed or taking place.   At the very least, it would be more transparent to the local community at an early stage.  Right now, property owners don’t know what is going on until construction starts which makes it impossible to have any meaningful conversation.

Without zoning and planning procedures in place in Tallapoosa County, these situations will continue.

It is not just the Lake that is in trouble either.  Without any zoning or planning, Hwy 49 will become a disaster. Have you seen the corner of Hwy. 49 and Hwy 34?  Every tree has been taken down.  There are other places along Hwy. 49 and Hwy 50 that are looking the same way.

Lake Martin HOBOs fully support this effort and will work hand in hand with our members, citizens, and community HOAs.  We believe this to be important for our community and our future.  We have seen other Counties in our State do this with great success.  We all, unfortunately, have also seen the result of areas that have no zoning and no planning for growth. 

The Lake Martin HOBOs is asking all citizens and HOAs around the Lake and in Tallapoosa County to contact your elected County Commissioner and request the Commissioners establish zoning ordinances and procedures and to form a Tallapoosa County Zoning and Planning Committee.  This is the responsibility of the Tallapoosa County Commission.  If this requires Tallapoosa County Commission to request State Legislature action, we would request the County Commission expedite this action and begin the process now.

The entire community needs to get involved.  This is the first step.   Please join the Lake Martin HOBOs in this effort.  The Lake Martin HOBOs can be found at or on Facebook.

Thank you.




PO BOX 1030
Dadeville, AL  36853

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