General Jeff Lofgren presented the Ad Hoc Cooper Land Evaluation Committee Final Report to the Board of Directors on July 20, 2022.
“The ad hoc committee consists of 7 members from multiple standing committees: Gen. Jeff Lofgren, Chair, Finance & Planning Committee; Janet Rowe, Vice Chair, Trails Committee; Thomas Gale Smith, Public Services Committee; Mark Quinton, Parks & Recreation Committee; Concetta “Pookie” Dixon, Lakes Committee; Karen Crowson, Governmental Affairs Committee; and Max Billingsley, Common Property, Forest & Wildlife Committee. The Board Liaison to the Committee is Robert McLeod.”
The HSV Gazette report consists of Lofgren’s PowerPoint slide presentation to the Board. Included before each slide is the associated portion of Lofgren’s presentation. It is advisable to watch the full presentation on YouTube as this report is NOT a transcription.
Cooper = CCI
The ad hoc committee’s first task was to go on a field trip to every single CCI reserve property for sale “to determine if there were equities for the property owners existing on that reserve property.”
The criteria for evaluating each property were developed. Primarily the ad hoc committee was looking for infrastructure and/or amenities on the property. They also evaluated the possibility that the property would be needed for infrastructure or recreational use in the future.
This slide shows all of the CCI reserve property. Everything in red belongs to CCI. You will need to enlarge the slide below to see the “P” numbers. The parcels with “P” numbers are the properties that are for sale. The red areas on the map are boundary tracts. CCI maintains a boundary in certain areas to protect the Village.
After going through all 52 of the CCI properties that are for sale, the committee identified the following list of properties as having equity for the POA.
Lofgren said, “The accounting system between the county and our own GIS and Cooper needs some work because they don’t all say the same thing. The bottom line is the West Gate is not an issue. Cooper deeded us this land in 1971. It is just not recorded properly, but that is being fixed right now…There are no concerns at the West Gate.”
Lofgren stated, “There is identified in yellow the two signs when you enter off of Highway 5, a tract of land on the right side of DeSoto Boulevard leading into the East Gate and another piece just on the left side as you are coming in from the East Gate. This was originally designed to allow for expansion of DeSoto at the East Gate and what we have been able to coordinate with Cooper is Cooper is willing to quit claim deed this to us so that we would have this available to us in the future for expansion and obviously control over the two sign areas.”
We are responsible for survey and recording costs.
In the blue outline is a boundary tract parcel, which is not currently for sale by CCI. Inside that boundary tract is the Danville Gate, itself.
After talking with CCI, it was decided the area highlighted in blue was proposed by CCI to be resurveyed to parse off the Danville Gate and they will quit claim deed that parcel to the POA. The POA will be responsible for the survey and recording costs.
This slide depicts the Danville Gate area which CCI is willing to quit claim to the POA.
Five water tanks sit on CCI land. CCI will quit claim deed these water tanks to the POA. One water tank sits on a 5-acre tract, where CCI will parse off the portion containing the water tank and the access to the tank. The committee believes there will only be recording fees to transfer these properties to the POA. (No surveys are needed.)
Images of the five water tanks currently sitting on CCI-owned reserve property. There is a discrepancy with the county/CCI/POA recording of P29 and P30 and the records need to be corrected.
Lago Dam is a POA water source. There should be a 300-foot setback around the lake to prevent contamination. There is one parcel (outlined in blue), which is still CCI reserve property. This tract encroaches on the 300-foot setback. CCI is agreeable to quit claim deed the entire parcel to the POA. The POA must pay for a survey and recording fees.
This is the Coronado Golf Cart Parking Lot and is too small whenever there is a tournament. The parking lot sits on CCI reserve property. CCI is willing to sell this to the POA for $5,000. There may be a survey fee and also a recording fee. The parking lot needs expansion and purchasing this lot would give the POA the space to do so. It was determined there was no other option for relocating the Coronado Golf Cart Parking Lot.
The DeSoto Golf Cart Path curves into CCI reserve property. If this reserve property was sold, the POA would have to move the golf cart path.
The DeSoto Multipurpose Trail is also associated with this parcel.
CCI is willing to quit claim deed this whole tract to the POA. The POA will be responsible for the survey and recording costs.
This tract of land includes the access road to the Cedar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and Beaver Dam Trail. CCI is willing to dedicate the road to the POA, which will alleviate any access concern. We will need to pay for a survey and recording cotts.
There are underground water and force mains located here which would be protected. This also offers protection for the Balboa Storage Area, and parking area.
We are supposed to have a 300-foot setback off of the Cedar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and we do not in all areas. Lofgren said, “In addition, there are some liability issues if we don’t.” CCI reserve property is identified on the slide below by the numbers 1-6. CCI is willing to quit claim deed this all over to the POA. This would give us the required 300-foot setback for the wastewater treatment plant and also gives us expansion capability for the plant. Surveys and recording costs would need to be borne by the POA.
Lofgren said the lake you see in this slide is Lake Cornado. This is the dam for Lake Cornado. The road you see going through the middle is Minorca Road. This is where the Sanitation Department has all of its equipment. The blue outlined area is CCI reserve property. CCI reserve property surrounds the Sanitation Department area. The lower arrow points to the Cedar Creek Trail Head.
The Sanitation Department has grown outside of the POA property boundaries and is partially located on CCI reserve property. Moving the Sanitation Department to a different location was deemed cost prohibitive.
CCI is willing to resurvey this land in order to determine how far the POA has encroached on CCI land. At this point, we would have to decide whether to buy only the land we have encroached on or purchase the entire parcel. The whole parcel is for sale for $45,000. This price may be negotiable.
This was already mentioned when Lofgren talked about the DeSoto Golf Cart Path. CCI is willing to quit claim deed this parcel to us.
The committee evaluated whether this would be a good future recreation area for the POA and decided it would not be. This property has a road going up to the levee. The maintenance workers use this road and it is important.
There is a pump house and pipeline that provides irrigation water from Lake Balboa to Magellan Golf Course, and also Isabella, Granada, and Ponce Golf Courses.
The committee feels it is important to establish an easement on two parcels so we can protect the pipeline and the access road. CCI is willing to modify the current deed for the land to include an easement. There is already an easement on this land for the powerline going through the middle of the property. There are potential buyers for this land, so this would need to be quickly executed.
Waypoint Trail runs through Lago Properties. We have an agreement with Laggo Properties that the POA will maintain the trail. Waypoint Trail also goes through CCI reserve property located behind El Jimador Restaurant. If this reserve property is sold, we have two options:
- Talk to the new owner and see if we can establish the same agreement we have with Largo Properties
- End the trail at the Lago Properties.
No action will need to be taken at this time on the trails listed below.
Initially, Lofgren felt this would not be a hard decision, but now realizes the issue is a lot more complex than he originally thought.
“On the far left-hand side of the slide below, that is P100. This goes across the road at Minorca and ends. P101 is in the middle where it says, “CCI”. When you add up the two properties, it is about 76 or so acres.”
“On the left-hand side is Lake Coronado.”
“The blue line going down the middle is Cedar Creek.”
“On the right-hand side of the slide is Lake Balboa.”
“The trail itself is the yellow dash line. One goes up into the neighborhoods and the other goes down on Cedar Creek Trail and turns around and comes back.”
“The next piece of this is, is that all of the stuff you see in the red hashed area is a Fema Floodway… A Fema Floodway means according to federal law, you can build nothing in there. You can’t get flood insurance. You can’t do anything.”
“The blue area is buildable but at risk. (At risk for flooding, but not considered a Fema Floodway) That makes a lot of that property not buildable.”
“We talked to Cooper and asked them if we could divide up the property. Can we just buy the creek from you?”
At this time, CCI does not want to divide the property. CCI believes the creek is a selling point for anyone who wants to buy the land.
“Because this is a waterway that feeds into Lake Balboa, we believe there are some potential water right issues for us, should somebody buy this property and we not buy it. If somebody wants to buy the property, then there could be potential…they could dam stuff up. They could do other kinds of things and that could impact the water into Lake Balboa, which would then impact all the residents that live on Lake Balboa. That is a risk that we believe is something that needs to be thought about. We believe you [the Board] need to go get a legal opinion from Rose Law Firm quickly on issues associated with water rights in the state of Arkansas. No one on the committee had enough expertise on water rights in the State of Arkansas to be able to give you anything more than, ‘we need a legal opinion from Rose Law Firm to understand water rights – water access – contamination – all the kinds of things that would be associated because that water is going to flow from Lake Coronado to Lake Balboa.'” There could potentially be impacts to Lake Balboa.
“Let’s talk a little bit more about this. I told you that the FEMA Floodway is not buildable. However, there are three areas that are buildable on this land. The first one is in the upper left-hand corner. You can see the little outlined area, next to one of our current communities. There are a few areas in there where you could actually build a house.”
“The next piece is if you look at the bottom left, you will see a road that basically creates the boundary edge on the left-hand side of the Cooper land. That area is buildable land. There are communities already outlined there for Hot Springs Village. You could definitely put some houses in that part of the area.”
“The final piece is over on the upper right corner is another section that is buildable land.”
“There is buildable land here, should somebody ever want to buy or we buy it and sell it to a developer.”
“Going forward, we believe there are several things that you should very definitely consider.”
- Get a legal opinion about Arkansas water rights.
- CCI has hired a national land real estate company and a market analysis is being done on the Cedar Creek land. The current price is $500,000. [Originally, CCI was asking $1 M.]
- The market analysis, based on the committee’s research says the property should be valued at less than $500,000. The committee believes the market analysis will probably come in less than $500,000, however market analysis takes the input from the seller so it may not be lowered below the $500,000 mark.
- CCI has agreed to share the market analysis with the Board.
- CCI will finance this property for five years at zero percent interest.
- CCI is willing to do a first right of refusal. The committee believes this first right of refusal should be in writing.
- First right of refusal means that should CCI sell the property, the Board will have a very short time period to make a decision so this decision will need to already be made.
- The buildable parts could be sold to defer the cost of the land.
- The road on the right-hand side is Danville Road, which is not part of the POA. Should somebody buy this land, they have in accordance with the Declarations, the right to determine whether that land will be in or outside of HSV. If the property can be accessed from a road that is not inside HSV, and they don’t use our amenities or utilities, then that tract could be considered not inside the Village. This means that right in the middle of HSV, you would have this chunk of land that would be ‘not HSV’. If it is not HSV, the owner does not need to follow any of our considerations with regards to how the land is used or what is put on the land, etc.
- The final risk associated with this land is that because CCI has hired a national company to get a market analysis and put this up for sale, it increases the POA’s risk of this property being sold.
- There were clear-cut recommendations regarding all of the other properties except for Cedar Creek.
- It may be possible to receive donations to help with the purchase.
- The Board may want to survey the community. Lofgren highly recommends an information paper be developed before a survey is done. If you throw a survey out there right now, you are not going to get an educated opinion. The community needs to know all the factors so they can make an informed decision.
- If there is a vote done, Lofgren encourages this to be included in the April Board Member vote. You do not need a vote to buy the land.
- Because of the gates, we are unable to obtain donations from Arkansas Natural Heritage or Nature Conservancy to save the Cedar Creek Trail.
Lofgren said there are some easement issues for underground infrastructure. “Our current Declarations protect us in those cases. For property that could be sold and not be part of the Village, the committee thought it important to get an opinion on underground infrastructure.
Prescriptive rights are allowed in Arkansas. If the property is used over and over for the same reason over seven years, you start to gain rights on that property, even though someone else may be the owner. We’ve been using the properties for a long time so there may be some loopholes within the State of Arkansas that may protect us going forward.
Board Director Bob McLeod asked if someone bought the Cedar Creek land and also a lot inside the Village if they could have access to the Cedar Creek land from inside the Village. Lofgren said that they could have access from inside the Village.
Board Director, Jama Lopez asked if dedication is better than an easement. Lofgren said that it is. A dedication would give the POA all rights associated with that land. It is almost like deeding the land to the POA.
Ad hoc committee member, Karen Crowson, said she is concerned that the company CCI is hiring for the appraisal and listing agent is one that specializes in selling recreational-type tracts of land for hunting lodges.
General Manager, Kelly Hale, said we need to keep the emotions out of this and put the issues in priority order. Priority number one is protecting the water rights between Coronado and Balboa. “Let’s look at this logically,” stated Hale.
HSVPOA Board Meeting (Video Starts at Beginning of Lofgren’s Presentation)
Report by Cheryl Dowden