Lake Adger to auction lakefront lots

Published 12:52 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lake Adger Developers will auction off six lakefront lots and other acreage to the highest bidder Saturday, July 24.

Every lot will sell, regardless of price, said developer Jim Smith, of Jim Smith & Associates. We want to reenergize the market at Lake Adger and find out where the current market price is.

Smith said the developers will offer 75 percent owner financing so buyers do not have to try to work through bank financing at this time.

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These are not left over, scag lots, Smith said. They are deep water front lots, with docks or marina slips.

Four of the lots are in the Mountain Park gated community, and two are in the Jackson Cove West gated community. In addition, at auction will be an 11.7 acre wooded tract and five mountain building sites.

The sale will be conducted by Carolina Auction Team Inc. of Spartanburg, S.C., at the Mountain Park Marina at 10 a.m., July 24. Tours of the property will be offered by appointment and daily the prior week.

The auction sale is the primary focus right now for Lake Adger Developers, Smith said. The firm has no development plans for the additional land it owns.

Lake Adger Developers purchased the 3,250 acres of land around Lake Adger in 1996, along with all the water frontage and a perpetual recreational easement to the lake. To date, Smith said the developers have sold about 475 lots.

The development has been a big plus for Polk County, Smith said, currently providing about $700,000 annually in real estate taxes with few services required.

There are about five children from Lake Adger attending local schools, Smith said. Police and fire services required for the development are minimal, he said. Lake Adger has been a triple net home run for Polk County, Smith said.

The county was leery of Lake Adger Developers at first, Smith recalled, and in 2002, some peoples worst fears came to life when public access to the lake was restricted.

The developers, who built and were operating the marina at the time, put up a chain to limit hours of access to the boat ramps at the marina after dark. At the time, Smith said he needed to limit access at night to stop incidents of vandalism. A small fee was also being charged for launching boats.

The county commissioners, however, took up for area fishermen, many of whom had had access to Lake Adger all their lives and who worked during the day and fished well into the evenings. Fishermen also questioned the horsepower restrictions on the lake, restrictions which were put in place by Duke Power when it sold the recreational easement.

An agreement was finally reached in October, 2004 between the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Lake Adger Developers Inc. and the Lake Adger Property Owners Association. Since that time, the public access has been free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The marina is now jointly operated by the Wildlife Resources Commission and the property owners association. Horsepower and the other original Duke restrictions remain in place.

That controversy has been settled long ago, Smith said. The public now has access to the lake. It is a happy place, and has been a successful deal aesthetically and economically.

Polk County purchased Lake Adger in 2009 for a long term water source, and Smith said he often gets calls from people who are confused about the countys ownership and whether the rules on the lake have changed again.

Nothing has changed. Polk County acquired certain rights to the lake, Smith said. The county bought the land under the water, the buffer strip to the high water mark and the hydro-electric plant. But nothing else has changed. The county bought those rights subject to the existing documents on record in the Duke Energy, Lake Adger recreational easement.

As for the future, preliminary plats are still on file with the Polk County Zoning Administrator, with the deadline for final plat approval extended to 2012 under a law passed by North Carolina extending zoning approval expiration dates by two years to give relief to developers during the recession.

Smith said one of those preliminary plats, the 332-acre Woodland Streams subdivision, was a joint venture that is now ended.

There is also a preliminary plat filed for 162 acres in Jackson Cove Phase II.

If final plats are not filed by 2012, the development would have to refile as if new, and the plans would fall under any new zoning and subdivision ordinances in Polk County.

But Smith said he was not worried about Polk Countys zoning laws changing, and was in no hurry.

Everything we have ever done has been far in excess of required Polk County standards, he said. Going forward, we will be doing larger tracts, not smaller, and more upscale, not less.

Smith said he expects to build a house in the Jackson Cove section, perhaps starting this year, and that he, his children and grandchildren will continue to be involved in Lake Adger for decades to come.

I dont know of a more scenic lake in America, he said. The remaining lots held by me or family trusts, no one is in a hurry about.