Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns the lake?
The lake is owned by Walnut Grove Lake Homeowners Association, Inc. Each lot represents one share in this corporation. Each lot owner is a member of this Association. Therefore when you purchaed your lot, you also became a shareholder in the corporation.
Why do we have a homeowners association?
When the subdivision was formed, it was set up so that all the lot owners would share equally in the upkeep of the common properties, which are the lake, the dam, three parks and Lovitt Field (which is located on the west side under the TVA lines).
What liability do individual homeowners have and how are we protected?
The lake is owned by a corporation, which carries liability insurance to protect against injuries occurring on commonly owned property. The injured party would have to sue the owner of the lake which is the corporation, not the individual shareholders. For example, if someone drowned in our lake and the Association was sued, the insurance would protect us. On the other hand, if someone falls into a private swimming pool in our subdivision, the Association insurance would not cover that individual homeowner.
What are covenants and how are they enforced?
Covenants are a set of rules that govern our neighborhood on things such as architectural considerations, lake rules, etc. When a lot owner is in violation of a covenant, he or she will be asked to comply. The final recourse to enforce covenants is by a lawsuit.
Can the covenants be amended?
Yes, by a 2/3 majority of the lot owners (315 owners).
When I bought my house, no one told me I had to pay Association fees.
You should have been told by your closing attorney that there was an Association and your attorney should have given you copies of covenants and bylaws, which are recorded with the Shelby County Register. Even if you were not informed, you still are a member of the Association if you own a lot in the subdivision and you must abide by the rules.
What kind of fish do we have in the lake?
Walnut Grove Lake has largemouth bass, crappie, bream, small stripers and catfish.
Is the lake safe for swimming?
Every body of water contains a certain amount of bacteria from many sources and Walnut Grove Lake is no exception. Annual water quality checks consistantly do not show abnormally high readings in any category tested. The greatest risk to swimmers is a cut from stepping on a can or bottle and getting an infected wound. Our lake contains a large amount of such debris accujmulated over 50 years, especially in the parks and dam areas. Aluminum and glass bottles do not bi-degrade quickly. The Lake Committee regularly cleans the shoreline, but can pick up only what can be seen from the bank or boat.
What can we do to control the algae in the lake?
A huge problem for Walnut Grove Lake is the almost constant sight of algae, especially in the covers. The sources for these algae are the large amounts of herbicide and fertilizers used on the lawns around the lake's drainage basin. These algae are most prevalent after a rain because the lawn chemicals enter the drains at the streets, which empty directly into the lake. In large concentrations algae depletes the oxygen in the lake after it blooms and drops to the bottom. Decaying algae not only has an odor but also iin high concentrations can be toxic to fish. The Lake Committee recommends that homeowners in the lake's drainage basin reduce the amount of weed killer and fertilizer used on their lawns, and instead use organic fertilizers and weed treatments, which would greatly reduce the algae problem. It is true that copper based chemicals such as Cutrine-Plus can be used in the lake to reduce the algae but that can have a negative effect on spawing fish because it reduces the amount of oxygen iin the spawing areas. The Lake Committee would much prefer to reduce the algae problem at its source rather than after these chemicals enter the lake.
I have noticed that the level of the lake or the pond below the lake has dropped. What causes this?
The water in the lake comes totally from rain and runoff - there are no natural springs, streams or rivers that feed it. Therefore, when we have lots of rain, the level of the lake is high, even sometimes overflowing the spillway. When we have periods of drought, the level goes down because of evaporation. The pond below the dam is fed from runoff from the lake. That pond was actually a "borrow pit" when dirt taken from there was used as fill when construction the new section. There have been questions about whether this pond could dry up and / or silt up. Certainly that is a possibility. This land is owned by the Wolf River Conservancy, not our Association, so we have no rights or responsibility as to its upkeep. We do, however, cooperate with them to see to the upkeep around the pond.
Why does the assessment go up when we have over $200,000 in our contingency fund?
The money in the contingency fund is there for extraordinary repairs and maintenance to the lake and dam. Every two years our dam is inspected and we must repair anything the inspector requires. Usually these repairs are minor, but not always. In 1995 major repairs had to be made because the dam was leaking. Fortunately for us, the developer was still responsible, because we were told it cost "well over $100,000" for those repairs. In 2000 the lake was dredged. Again the developer was responsible for that dredging with cost a total of $116,792. The assocition only had to pay $5,500 for some additional dredging in the coves.
The developer is now completely out of the picture, and any future repairs or dredgings are totally our responsiblity. In 2001 we incurred around $20,000 of expenses in repairs. And in 2010 we had to completely rebuild our spillway which cost almost $113,000. If emergency repairs were needed and we did not have the funds available to cover them, we would either have to levy a special assessment to all homeowners to cover the cost, or the State of Tennessee would make us drain the lake.
When the responsibility of the Association was transferred from the developer to the residents in 1993, the annual assessment was $50. This was obviously not going to be enough to cover expenses and still have some left over to put away for emergencies. Each year the board considers potential expenses and liabilities and then decides whetger to increase the assessment, but this is not an automatic increase. Our Association dues are very low compared to other Associations in the area with comparable amenities.
I don't live on the lake. Why do I have to pay the same amount as lake front owners?
The lake and the parks are for the benefit of all homeowners, not just the ones whose homes border it. Special efforts have been made for neighborhood residents who don't live on the lake to have easy access to it and we continue to explore ways to make it more inviting to all residents including the public pier, and the picnic tables on the dam and in the parks, as well as playground equipments, boat ramps and boat storage.
Where does our money go?
Between May 1, 2016 and February 15, 2017, here is where our money went:
Professional Services $24,160 37%
Lakes, Parks and Dam $15,654 24%
Safety Patrols $13,375 20 %
Insurance $ 8,237 12%
Office Supplies / Printing / Website $ 2,925 4%
Utilities / Trash Pickup $ 1,700 3%
Why do I need approval before building a fence, room addition, deck, etc.?
This is for your protection as well as that of the neighborhood. With submitted plans, the board can determine if your project cojnforms to the covenants. If you do not get permission to build and later it is determined that your construction does not conform, you may be forced to remove the structure. You can obtain a Construction Approval form from our website or call or email the Association.
Do I need approval to paint or repair my house?
What are the rules about having a boat?
Only electric trolling motors may be used. If your boat has a gasoline motor it is not permitted, even if you only use your trolling motor, because of the danger of pollution. There is some space on the dam and in Simpson Park for off-lake residents to store boats. Please contact a member of the lake committee for more information. Your boat must have WGL+your lot number clearly displayed on the front on both sides so it can be identified as belonging to a resident.
What is the Association doing about security on the dam and in the parks?
There are gates at Farrell Park and Simpson Park which are locked at sunset to keep vehicles out of the parks. Neighbors living near the parks and dam are asked to call the police if they see inappropriate activities, especially at night.
Why can't we build a fence around our subdivision and become a gated community?
First of all, the City of Mamphis owns the streets and sewers and would not look kindly on us closing those streets. But what if the city did allow it? We would then be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all the streets and sewers in our area, as well as the expense of building a fence surrounding our large subdivision, and maintaining manned guard houses at each entrance. The cost would be considerable - just to pay minimum wage to guards 24/7 at our 7 entrances would raise everyone's annual dues to over $900. And that doesn't include building the fence and guard houses, electricity, insurance, maintenance, etc.
Who pays for the fireworks?
Fireworks are paid by voluntary donatons to the fireworks fund.
What if I see a car parked in the street for more than 24 hours?
Call the police department at 545-2677 (545-COPS). It is a City of Memphis ordinance that vehicles are not to be parked on the city streets for more than 24 hours at a time. If you see such a vehicle, please report it to the police. Often it takes several calls from several neighbors to get results. Also try the Mayor's actiojn line - 576-6500. If you live in Section H (Norseman, Glen Gyle, Byre Hollow and Walnut Creek), call the Sheriff's office at 867-1400.
Who do I call if I see someone in the neighborhood acting suspicious?
Call the police at 545-2677 (545-COPS). If you think it's a break-in in progress or other emergency, call 911. You should also notify WGLHA or your neighborhood watch block captain, but the first call you make should be to the police.
We live in a very safe part of Memphis. The most frequently reported crime out here is vehicle break-ins. To protect yourself from this type of crime, park your car in your garage if possible. If your car is parked in the street it is more likely to be a target. And NEVER leave valuables in your car in plain sight - that is just asking for trouble.
What if my street light is out?
Get the street light ID number off the pole and call 320-1498.
Professional Services $24,16037%
Lakes, Parks and Dam $15,65424%
Insurance $ 8,23712%
Office Supplies/Printing/Website $ 29254%
Utilities / Trash Pickup $ 1,700 3%