The Lake Lotawana Development Company was incorporated on 12/30/1927. That company was responsible for the original development of the lake and surrounding land.
Approximately four and one-half years later, Lake Lotawana Association, Inc. (“Association”) was incorporated on 6/10/1932. This is the same corporation under which we operate today. However, that corporation was only set up to exist for 50 years. In 1982 our attorney legally changed the original corporation to a not-for-profit and also changed its existence to a perpetual corporation; meaning it will no longer expire under its corporate charter. The Association had little involvement in the management of the lake until the late 1980’s as will be explained below.
Now let’s step back to the Development Company in its early years. A secretary for that company handled most matters for the ownership, including the daily management of the lake. Lots were sold, some with restrictions and others without. Then, in 1947, the original deed of restrictions had to be renewed and where necessary the restrictive covenants applied. There were multiple plots of developed land that contained lake lots and at this point the Development Company wanted to have the restrictions applied to them too. So, whenever you look at the deed of restrictions today you will note that there are several different sections that apply to different lots. This was a result of the original owner’s intent to bring all of the different developed plots of land into one combined deed of restrictions. It is also instructive to note that during this same time the Association was only in charge of collecting minimal dues for the Development Company. The Development Company maintained complete control of the lake, including lot development and minimal maintenance of the roads and surrounding areas. Moreover, several renewals of the deed of restrictions occurred every 20 years as required by the terms of the deed of restrictions.
So, keep in mind that until the early 1980’s the Association only collected a small amount of money from the lot owners; otherwise, the lake was controlled and managed by the Development Company, which by that time was owned by one person through an inheritance.
In 1982 the Association hired counsel to gain more revenue for the Association from the Development Company. At the same time the State of Missouri was establishing strict new guidelines for lake dams throughout the State. The Development Company decided that compliance with the new State dam rules to make the Lake Lotawana dam a Class 2 dam was going to be too costly. This perfect storm also included the Association filing a lawsuit against the Development Company for more control over the lake, as well as more revenue from the lot owners of the original subdivision so that better care could be provided to the lake’s dam, spillway, roads and other vital infrastructures.
In 1988 a settlement was reached between the Association and others resulting in the Association being given ownership and complete control of the lake. It is noteworthy that for many of those early years of the late 1980’s and 1990’s the Association was run by just one person in the office. Thereafter, on May 11, 1999, the first official rules and regulations document of the Association was enacted and published. Obviously, that document has been amended repeatedly since then. Given the history of the lake it is good that we have a set of rules by which we are guided, which puts all of us on a level playing field to provide some general consistency for everyone in the future; at least since the late 1990’s.
So hopefully when you are trolling around the lake you will now better understand some of the diverse aspects of the lake that you see.