Volunteer workers from the LLPOA braved the rapidly flowing water from the Upper Lake to add a system of engineered steel reinforcement bars to the wooden Box Spillway on the Beaver (Upper) Dam. The work also included replacing missing spillway boards that had allowed the level of the lake to drop over the past few years. In addition, the entire upper deck of the spillway was replaced with new 12x12 cedar beams. The project, funded through the Laurel Lake Fair Share Assessment, is expected to extend the usefull life of the spillway for decades, ensuring the Upper Lake (Beach CLub Lake) will be here for future generations to enjoy.
As part of the ongoing maintenance and upgrades of the Dams, the NJ DEP required that all trees and woody vegetation be removed from the dams. The LLPOA was required to start by removing all trees from the earthen dam and fill all erosion. That work has been mostly done. There is still a lot of expensive work to be done, but a great start has been made. Maintaining the dams benefits everyone by providing recreation and swimming opportunities to the ENTIRE community (not just members) as well as providing the only nearby accessible source of water for protecting our homes from fire. Not to mention the beauty and increased property values that the lakes provide.
Work has been completed to replace the broken low-flow gate on the lower dam, part of the state mandated updates and maintenance projects paid for through the Fair Share Assessment. This work is being done to meet state requirements to bring the dams up to current standards. You may have already noticed the removal of all trees and brush from the dams-- also a safety maintenance requirement of the NJ DEP. The replacement of the low flow lift gate will enable the water level to be controlled, aiding with the ongoing maintenance of the dam embankments. It will also allow the lake to be lowered in the event of an emergency. See more photos.
The Yellow areas indicate the approximate boundary of the Original Laurel Lake development tract. Properties in this area have deeded rights to membership in the LLPOA and are subject to the Fair Share.. The Red shaded areas indicate subsequent tract expansions. These areas DO NOT have deeded rights to membership and are NOT subject to the Fair Share.
THIS MAP IS for Approximation Only. The original property deed will determine if a particular lot is located in the tract
The Laurel Lake Property Owners Association needs your help. Costs to maintain the lake are rising steeply. Fair Share is a way for the entire Laurel Lake community to ensure that the beauty and the benefits of the lake are preserved.
The Fair Share is applicable for all property owners in the boundaries of the original tract of the Laurel Lake Development as approved in the 1920s by the Township of Commercial and the City of MIllville.
After a series of dam failures, New Jersey began requiring all dams, regardless of age or condition be brought up to current standards. As a result, Lake Associations, struggling to meet the cost of these new mandates, began instituting Fair Share Assessments. These Assessments were challenged in NJ Superior Court and have been repeatedly upheld. The State Assembly, recognizing their vital importance, passed and the Governor signed legislation allowing assessments. The Laurel Lake Property Owners Association instituted its Fair Share in 2007 covering all properties in the original tract of the Laurel Lake Development. Since then, the fee has remained at $50 per year.
All residents of the original tract of Laurel Lake, as developed and deeded in the 1920s, have, guaranteed through the original documents establishing the development, the right to join the Laurel Lake Property Owners Association, and by such membership fully share in the enjoyment of the Lake. This right, whether you choose to exercise it or not, carries along with it the responsibility of providing for the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the lake, its property and its two dams.
The courts of the State of New Jersey have recognized—and upheld—the need for similar lake communities to help pay for the ongoing maintenance and expenses of maintaining lakes and dams throughout the state. All property owners in the original Laurel Lake development tract were granted the right under the terms of the development to join at any time. NJ courts have recognized that with that right comes responsibility.
Insofar as the state-mandated maintenance and repair far exceeded the LLPOA’s ability to spread the expenses among its limited membership, LLPOA instituted FSA in 2007, incorporating the holding Lake Lookover Property Owners Assoc., Inc. v. Olsen, 348 N.J. Super. 53 (App. Div. 2002), wherein the court found that a lake association that did not have the benefit of mandatory membership could nevertheless assess all individual property owners in the lake community for the cost of maintenance and operation of the dams.
Fair Share funds may only be used for those costs associated with the common community aspects of the lake, for example: Dam Maintenance and Inspections, Maintenance of other common areas such as beaches open to the public, Insurance and taxes. The funds collected are segregated and maintained in interest bearing accounts and the proceeds solely used for inspection, maintenance, operation and upgrades to the dams and the related costs, including insurance and taxes.
The LLPOA believes in complete transparancy and wants to keep residents informed on how their Fair Share payments have been used. For an accounting of how Fair Share funds have been used, see the Fair Share Balance Sheet
No. Laurel Lake is maintained by the LLPOA—your neighbors here at the lake. We receive no tax dollars to help meet the responsibilities for maintaining the community assets.
The Fair Share concept for maintaining NJ Dams flows from a NJ Superior Court decision that ruled in certain Lake Developments, (including Laurel Lake) non-members have a responsibility to share in the costs.
Lake Lookover Property Owners Assoc., Inc. v. Olsen, 348 N.J. Super. 53 (App. Div. 2002), wherein the court found that a lake association that did not have the benefit of mandatory membership (such as Laurel Lake) could nevertheless assess all individual property owners in the lake community for the cost of the repair of the dam.
Cumberland County Court Upholds Laurel Lake's Fair Share
In 2008 a non-member resident of the LLPOA tract challenged the LLPOA’s authority to collect FSA in Cumberland County Small Claims Court (Coverdale v. LLPOA). Judge Farrell upheld the validity of collecting FSA finding that the intent of the original deed transferring land to the LLPOA was to convey common areas and have the LLPOA benefit its members by conveying all public works and common areas for benefit of all present and subsequent members of the original tract in the 1929 deed. Judge Farrell held that because there is a benefit to all inhabitants of the LLPOA tract, all inhabitants of the tract were required to share the burdens, including contribution to dam upkeep as owners in the tract. Judge Farrell upheld the validity of LLPOA’s collection of annual FSA for dam maintenance.
No, the Fair Share is a recognition of everyone's legal right and responsibility to share in the benefits of the Lake as well as the costs. However, everyone who owns property in the original tract, created in the 1920s and upheld by the NJ Courts in 1958 and again in 1972, has the RIGHT to join the Association. This RIGHT granted when the community was created and subdivided in the 1920s, is the very basis for the Fair Share. However, we welcome you to help build up your community by joining the LLPOA
Although Laurel Lake (as well as the upper lake, known as Beach Club Lake) are privately owned, all property owners in the original development tract were granted the right under the terms of the development to join at any time. This is a valuable right, whether you choose to exercise it or not. Additionally, the LLPOA has donated its property to our fire departments for standpipes into the lake which have been used as a vital source for water that our fire companies use to protect all of our property from fire;-- LLPOA members and Non-members alike. When the dam was breached in the 1950s, area newspapers reported that many homeowners wells went dry. More pragmatically, whether you live one block or 20 blocks from the water, owning property near a lake— especially property that carries the right to membership— gives all our property a premium value—which has been estimated as high as 20-30 percent by local real estate professionals. This is especially true for CURRENT PROPERTY OWNERS-- The price you paid for the property already included the fact that it was "water influenced" Take away the lake, and you lose that valuable asset--and your property value DECLINES. Look at the for sale ads: property sold in the tract always includes proximity to the lake as a selling point.
No. The dams are in good shape. The issue is, the state is requiring ALL dams, regardles of when they were constructed or how sound they may be to be upgraded to today's design standards. The state is also requiring periodic inspections which cost $4,000-5,000 each, PER DAM. It has been estimated that the cost to perform this work is $400,000 per dam—and the LLPOA maintains two dams bringing the total needed to $800,000
The LLPOA maintains beaches that are open to all members of the community, whether you choose to exercise your right to Join the LLPOA or not. These beaches, accessible via an annual beach tag are open to everyone. Additionally, the LLPOA has for decades hosted holiday parties at Christmas and Halloween open to ALL children in the area.
LLPOA donates to area youth sports teams
LLPOA opens its facilities up at no charge to a wide variety of youth groups including Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and area church and civic groups.
LLPOA has donated its property to to the Fire/Rescue squads for standpipes for drawing water to fight fires and for a boat ramp to allow the squads access to the river in an emergency
The cost to bring the dams up to current standards are enormous. Estimates are up to $400,000 per dam (There are two dams) So approximately one half of the Fair Share funds are used to pay current expenses, while the other half is being invested until there is enough to complete the work. The goal is not to raise enough funds to pay for all the costs in one year, but to ensure that, through all of our neighbors contributing their Fair Share, the ongoing needs can be met as they arise. see the Fair Share Balance Sheet
Facing rising costs and dwindling resources, the Trustees, Directors and Members of the LLPOA considered all options, one of which was draining one or both the Lakes. However, nothing in New Jersey is free, especially when dealing with the State. If the lakes were to be drained, the state would require extensive remediation to the property to restore it to its previous condition-- just like is now required of sand mines and other operations.
The cost of this remediation work, estimated to be many hundreds of thousands of dollars, would still be shared by the property owners because of the same rights and responsibilities that is the basis of the Fair Share and would be CONSIDERABLY MORE than the Fair Share, since much of the cost for the dams is already paid by the LLPOA members.
In the meantime, residents would be left with a stinking, fetid , mosquito-infested swamp and eyesore putting a huge drag on property values, instead of one of the cleanest most beautiful lakes in the state. Anyone remember what it was like when the dam broke in the 1950s? Imagine trying to sell your property then--or trying to get a home equity loan and finding out that since the lake is gone, your property is now worth 40 percent less than you thought.
The requirements for waiver are the same as the municipal hardship requirements.
1.Only totally disabled people will get full exemption.
2.Senior citizens with an income of less than $10,000.00 (INCLUDING SPOUSE INCOME) after permitted exclusions of SS OR disability benefits will qualify for a rebate.
3.The person will need to present their original tax bill, payment receipt, and paid up status as evidence in order to get equivalent Fair Share forgiveness.