FAQ

FAQ

Published by The Lakes Homeowners Association Architectural Control Committee

Welcome to The Lakes community!

We have published this guide in order to answer some of the questions that our residents might have. If you don’t find your answers here contact the Homeowners Association President or any member of our Board Of Directors. Their names and numbers are listed on our internet site, and in the issues of The Lakes Newsletter.

(Please note that this FAQ is meant as a convenient and quick reference guide for homeowners at The Lakes. The answers herein our based on our covenants. This is not a legal document. The final legal reference are The Lakes Covenants and our Homeowners Association By-Laws as filed with Lafayette County, State of Mississippi.)

Architectural Control Committee (11)

The Architectural Control Committee is comprised of three (3) members that are directly elected by our residents at the same time as they elect the Board. As with the Board any resident can run for this committee.

The Architectural Control Committee, guided by our covenants, reviews the plans for all new construction, additions, fences, swimming pools etc. Their final decisions are final and not review-able, however they must respect the guidelines of our covenants.

Our covenants state only that “Fencing shall be of suitable material…”

It’s best to refer to the covenants, item (b). In brief, you may not build a fence that extends toward the street beyond the rear sill line of your home.

Anything other than chain link.

Six foot, maximum height.

Yes. You will need approval from the Architectural Control Committee. It is not necessary to go into extreme detail. They will want a simple sketch showing the location of the fence, height and material. You may not start your project until your plans have been approved and a signed Approval Letter has been given to you.

No. Chain link fences are specifically prohibited by our covenants.

No. Our covenants specifically do not permit them.

Of course. Plans will have to be submitted to the Architectural Control Committee for approval first. You may not start your project until your plans have been approved and a signed Approval Letter has been given to you.

No. Our covenants specifically do not permit them.

Covenants (12)

Yes. Our covenants state that “Ground cover/vegetation may not exceed eight (8) inches in height on average.”

In case of conflicts the covenants take priority over the bylaws.

You may view or download and print them from The Lakes internet site or, contact the Homeowners Association for a new copy.

It means that there are legally binding “covenants” that act as guidelines for construction, additions, fences, swimming pools etc. The covenants also address property maintenance in addition to other items that may affect your property. The Lakes Covenants are a legal document that have been filed with Lafayette County. As a property owner at The Lakes you are legally bound to comply with these covenants. You will have been furnished a copy of these covenants when you purchased your property or home at The Lakes and they are a part of the deed to your property.

Our covenants are protective, not restrictive, in that they are intended to maintain the appearance of the subdivision and protect your property value. (As an aside, all subdivisions in Lafayette County are covered by covenants as required by the Lafayette County Subdivision Regulations.)

Yes. Our covenants address this.

No. By our covenants your dog must be restrained on your property by a fence, or by an electric “invisible fence.” When away from your property your dog must be on a leash. Note that in no situation is “voice control” acceptable.

No. “Domestic cats and dogs and customary household pets” only.

Kennels must have prior approval of the Architectural Control Comm. and be “concealed from view.”

Yes.

It depends. Our covenants restrict the lots to “single family residential purposes.” That language alone prevents residents from opening up a “store front” business. Also, you may not have a business that “… may become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood.” In addition our covenants state that “No structure nor activity may be undertaken for a commercial nature or for a commercial venture …” However, all is not lost. You may run a business out of your home, or have an office in your home, “… if the office does not require customers or clients coming and going from the home.”

Yes. Our covenants restrict activities that “… may become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood.”

Yes, by law. Lafayette County ordinances specifically address that subdivision covenants are enforceable “by proceedings at law.” For more information on this see “Lafayette County Subdivision Regulations, Revision 2006-2” and The Lakes Covenants, Section y.).

Emergency Services (1)

Fire hydrants are strategically located throughout The Lakes however these can only be activated by Punkin Water. The Lakes is served by the Lafayette County Volunteer Fire Department. Our nearest fire station is in Yocona, about 5 miles to our east. They will respond with pumper trucks sufficient to put out any house fire and call in reserves if necessary.

History (6)

At the Yocona Community Center, in Yocona, about 7 miles southeast on County Road 334. We are in Lafayette County District 1.

The Lakes started to be planned in 1999 and was platted out in 2000. The first homes were built in 2000.

There are about 213 home sites.

The Lakes is approximately 185 acres.

Yes, www.thelakesatoxford.com

No. The bank foreclosed on the original developer some years ago so they got the unsold lots and the sewer system at the time. That is the extent of their “ownership.”

HOA (12)

The Board is comprised of five (5) members that are directly elected by our residents in the annual elections, held in the month of June each year. Anyone can run for the Board and an announcement for candidates will be made before the election.

You automatically become a member when you purchase a lot or home at The Lakes.

January 1st. of each year. A billing will be mailed to you.

There is a grace period of thirty (30) days. After that time the Homeowners Association may place a lien on your property and include penalty fees and associated costs.

Beautification Committee (appointed):
Works to improve the appearance of The Lakes.
Public Works Committee (appointed):
Works to interface homeowner’s needs for electricity, gas, water, sewer and internet service.
Social Committee (appointed):
Plans social activities for our community.
Covenant Compliance Committee (appointed):
Responsible for individual compliance with The Lakes covenants.
Architectural Control Committee (elected by the homeowners):
Reviews and approves all new construction, additions, fences, etc.

Absolutely. The Homeowners Association represents you, the homeowner.

The President’s position does require some personal time and our owners appreciate their service- which, like the Board members, is voluntary and without any pay. Board members usually only need to spend an hour or so each month at the Board meetings. Architectural Control Committee members will need to spend whatever time is required to review new construction, additions, fences etc. The head of the Architectural Control Committee spends more time as he/she must evaluate, recommend or not recommend to the other members and draw up the approval letters.

We have our elections once a year at our annual meeting in June. At least 30 days prior to that the Association will solicit names from our residents that wish to serve on the Board and the Architectural Control Committee.

Like all covenant communities, The Lakes is like our Nation in that we are a republic. The Association has a Board of Directors that is directly elected on an annual basis by our property owners. The Board in turn elects a President who runs the day to day affairs of the Association and reports to the Board.

Yes, the Board of Directors usually meets once a month. The meeting dates, times and locations will be announced in The Lakes Newsletter or on our internet site.

Yes. Committees are formed from time to time by the Board and you may volunteer to serve on them.

Yes. Assessments are mandatory and a legal obligation. Currently our annual assessments are $100.00 a year.

Lakes (17)

The “Common Areas” are designated for the use and enjoyment of all residents of The Lakes whose annual assessments are current. The two prime common areas serve Rock Lake and Spring Lake. Boats may be launched from both locations.

The pavilion located on the east end of Rock Lake is for the use of our residents.

Rock Lake and Spring Lake.

Use the designated launch areas. Parking is limited in the launch areas, and it may be necessary that you park your vehicle and trailer on the adjoining road. If you do, please pull over on the shoulder of the road so that you don’t block traffic flow.

Your guests may fish from your property, or the common areas on Rock Lake and Spring Lake, or use a boat. However, you must accompany them if they are not on your property.

Except for the common areas, or your own property, you may not go ashore. The land is private property and you may not trespass.

All property owners at The Lakes subdivision that are current in their Homeowners Association Fees. If you are not a signature of The Lakes covenants, or are not current in your Association fees, you may not use the lakes in any manner.

Absolutely. You can launch from your property, or use one of the designated boat launch sites on the Common Areas.

Yes. It must extend onto or over the water and be approved by the Architectural Control Committee prior to construction.

Counting large and small ones, there are five. Spring Lake is the largest, followed by Rock Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Crooked Lake and Old Lake.

Swimming in the lakes is prohibited by the covenants.

Old Lake, Crooked Lake and Horseshoe lake are surrounded by private property and are accessible, and usable, only by the property owners that own the property around each lake. Rock Lake and Spring Lake each have land that is not a part of our subdivision that abuts them. Under Mississippi law if you have legal property access to a lake you may use the entire lake. So, our residents may use the entirety of Rock and Spring lakes, as may the owners of the property outside of our subdivision that have land that abuts those lakes.

No. Boats must be removed from the lake or tied up to a dock after use. They may be dragged up on your property, or tied up to your dock. They may not be left on other’s private property or the common areas.

Yes. Maximum size is 10 foot wide and 16 foot long. and it must be approved by the Architectural Control Committee prior to construction.

Boating, yes. Jet skiing, no. The lakes are restricted to small boats, 16 foot maximum length, with electric trolling motors.

Yes. Spring Lake and Rock Lake have been stocked.

No. Spring Lake and Rock Lake are open to all of the residents. The rest are accessible only to property owners that surround those particular lakes.

No. Old Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Crooked Lake are surrounded by private property and are available only to the owners of that property.

Mail (3)

Look at the location of the mailboxes on your street. On some the Post Office allows them to be on both sides of the road, on others they are supposed to be on the same side. We are not certain why this is so. In any event place your mailbox on the same side as the others on your street, close enough to the road where it can be easily accessed by the Mail person, yet not so close to the road that it presents a hazard to passing traffic.

Mail service is provided by the U.S. Postal Service Monday through Saturday, except for holidays.

No. The Lakes covenants require that you use a “cast aluminum replica” painted black. Cast aluminum mail boxes are not cheap, however they are required by our covenants. For more information contact the Homeowners Association.

New Construction (5)

Houses must be a minimum, total under roof and excluding open porches, of 2,300 square feet- including a minimum 500 square foot garage. The heated and cooled area in total may not be less than 1,800 square feet.

Submit your plans to the Architectural Control Committee. The Committee is really not concerned about the interior layout of the house, only how the exterior appears and that the construction meets the guidelines of our covenants (items c, d, e, f among others in our covenants). These items, along with others, will be addressed in the Approval Letter issued to the contractor or lot owner prior to construction.

You may start grading on your property, however you may not start any slab/foundation work until your plans have been approved by the Architectural Control committee and you have a signed letter of approval from the committee.

No problem. Plans will have to be submitted to the Architectural Control Committee for approval first. One of the things that they will look for is that external material used for the addition will be harmonious with your existing structure, and that the addition is a minimum of 60% brick, stone or masonry.

No. Log cabin exteriors are specifically forbidden by our covenants. However you may finish off the interior of your home any way you wish to.

Yes. Lafayette County requires that all new construction in subdivisions:
1. Have a building permit
2. Post a copy of that permit in the front yard, visible from the street
3. Have a portable toilet on the site
4. The contractor must be licensed by the state of Mississippi
5. The plumbing and electrical contractors must also be licensed by the state
6. Smoke detectors must be hard-wired
7. House numbers must be visible from the street

These, and other items will be listed on the Approval Letter from the Architectural Control Committee issued to the contractor or the owner of the lot before construction begins.

Roads (1)

All of the roads are owned and maintained by Lafayette County.

Storage (7)

They are not allowed to be on your property longer than two weeks.

As long as it is “out of sight” of people using the streets.

No.

No. Our covenants state that “… no machinery other than machinery common to garden use or lawn keeping or for the operation and maintenance of a residence shall be stored on the premises.” Commercial-use equipment may not be stored on your property.

No. Our covenants state that “No unused, or non-currently licensed vehicles, wrecked vehicles or parts of vehicles are to be stored on the premises.”

Yes, as long as “.. it is out of site of people using the public streets…” (The Lakes covenants, section h)

They may not be metallic. You may erect any shed that is 100 square feet or less without permission from the Architectural Control Committee. If you want to build a storage building/shed greater than 100 square feet you must submit your plans to the Architectural Committee for approval prior to starting construction. Also, buildings larger than 100 square feet must match the architectural style of the home and be a minimum of 60% brick, stone or masonry that matches your home.

Utilities (16)

The Lakes water supply is furnished by the Punkin Water Association. The water comes from wells owned by the Association. Distribution and pressure is from two water towers; one just south of highway #6 a few miles to our west, and one is located in The Lakes at the top of the hill on Rock Springs Drive. http://punkinwater.com/

Our trash collection is done by Lafayette County every Friday.

NOTE: Plastic liners must be used in all trash containers.
NOTE: Trash containers may not be set out more than 24 hours prior to collection, and must be removed within 12 hours after collection.

Holiday schedules will be published in the Oxford Eagle newspaper. Special pickups (furniture, tree limbs, appliances, etc.) will be made by the County at no charge. Call 662-236-2535.

Contact Lafayette County Solid Waste – http://lafayettems.com/departments/solid-waste/

The Lakes has its own Sewer System which is currently supervised by BancorpSouth who is negotiating with an independent party to operate both the sewer lagoon and the sewer lines, including ownership, maintenance, billing for services, etc. At the time of this FAQ edition the bank has not sold the service to an operator and that is why our residents do not pay a monthly fee.

The homeowner.

Contractors that work on the units seem to come and go. Contact your HOA for the current list.

If your home is less than a year old, contact your builder for warranty coverage. If your home is more than a year old you will need to contact a serviceman for repairs.

Your individual house pump requires power to operate.

If the red light comes on and stays on it means that your pump is not working. You will need to have the unit serviced.

If you have a mind to, it’s not a bad idea to remove the cover and flush out the interior and pump with a garden hose. Doing this once a year should help the systems performance.

Each home has its own “holding tank.” That’s it outside your house with the round green cover on it. Inside of the “holding tank” is a system that is kind of like an upside down garbage disposal. As the level rises in the tank a float switch engages that turns on a grinder -the “garbage disposal”- and a pump. The pump forces the fine slurry from the grinder through an underground pipe to the main line that runs along the street outside your house. At the street your home’s line connects with the main sewer line through a check valve. Once in the main line the content is pumped by your pump, and the pressure from other resident’s pumps via the main line to a holding pond that is located just east of Punkin Road near our south entrance. In addition there is a lift station on the south side of Lakes Drive North.

The contents of the holding pond are treated over time and released as it is converted into potable water by the system.

You should never pour or flush down any of the following:

* Grease
* Explosive or flammable material
* Kitty litter
* Aquarium gravel
* Strong chemicals or toxic, caustic or poisonous substances
* Degreasing solvents
* Diapers, feminine products, or cloth of any kind
* Fuel or lubricating oil, paint thinner or antifreeze
* Plastic objects
* Seafood shells

The Lakes electrical power is furnished by Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association. They in turn purchase their electrical needs from the TVA, The Tennessee Valley Authority.

Our natural gas is provided by Entex.

No. Small tanks for grills are certainly OK.