The Edmond Sun

December 18, 2013

Access point to lake kept off limits

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — The Edmond Planning Commission agreed 3-2 this week with the site plan and deed certification of three office lots to be located east of Santa Fe, south of Bridgeview Boulevard.

Chairman Barry Moore and commissioner Rob Rainey cast the no votes. Members of the Lake at Bridgewater Estates Homeowners Association, located east of the development, also opposed the plan.

Applicant Paul Harris wants the office buildings on the lot area of 37,582 square feet to look similar to large homes, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner. Landscaping has been approved.

Each of the three buildings will have pitched roofs on a brick and stone exterior. Single garages are a unique feature of the 2,500-square-foot office buildings, Schiermeyer said. Twenty-five parking spaces are planned, which includes the three garage spaces.

“There are offices to the north and the lake is to the south,” Schiermeyer said. “They will have some drainage into the lake.”

The pond is equipped with three fountains that the homeowners association services by use of a boat. The lakes belong to the Lakes at Bridgewater Lakes Homeowners Association, said Dennis Gagliardi, president of the lake at Bridgewater Estates Homeowner’s Association.

He said the previous developer, ERC, connected the neighborhood’s utilities with the commercial property. The electric line that services the fountain is also on the commercial property.

So residents of the Lakes at Bridgewater Estates assumed the undeveloped land that the intended office space was to occupy was a common area when they purchased their properties, Gagliardi said.

“I know of one residence where the real estate broker said that was our common area,” Gagliardi said. “Be that as it may, one day we all drive home and there is a commercial for sale sign on the property.”

One must cross the commercial property to access the main fountain, with the exception of a small tract of land, Gagliardi said. The matter was discussed privately by Gagliardi and project engineer Mark Ritchie, representing the applicant.

Harris granted the homeowners association a maintenance easement to reach the junction box for the fountains. Gagliardi had asked for a pedestrian easement of 10 feet all the way to the lake. Harris has denied that request due to factors of liability, Gagliardi said.

“I can kind of see that,” Gagliardi said.

However, the 39 homeowners would like to arrange access to their shoreline, he said.

“We do not oppose the buildings. We think they are aesthetically fine, nice and well constructed,” Gagliardi said.

The homeowners association is concerned about keeping their lake clean, he said. Gagliardi pointed out that salt used on surfaces during winter months could enter the lake. Filtering by Colorado River rocks will not solve the problem, he said.

Moore asked Ritchie if there could be further discussion arranged by Harris and the homeowners in order to find a peaceful solution in the spirit of the holidays.

Ritchie said that Harris did not know the homeowner’s electric line crossed his property line when he purchased the land. A private access easement to service the fountain has already been granted, Ritchie said.

“As far as the lake frontage — I am confident that even if we tried to do a continuance — our position on that one remaining issue will not change,” Ritchie said. “They’ve only had access to that edge of the lake because of the misfortunate location the developer placed on the property line.”

The homeowners have never had legal access to the part of the lake in question, Ritchie said. The only outcome of further discussion would be for Harris to grant access to part of the lake.

“We’re not going to grant them access,” Ritchie said of the 10-foot by 80-foot strip of the lake owned by Ritchie.

He said that a boat is already used by the homeowners to access their 95-percent ownership of the lake.

“They have signs already that say ‘no trespass,’” Ritchie said. “So, we’re going to do the same thing to keep the fishermen out of our property.”

Action on the item was completed by the Planning Commission’s vote, Moore said. | 341-2121