I am in the negotiation stages of buying some land that to build on in the future. There is an existing 10 ac. lake on the land. It was built in the 1950's and has never had any issues from what the family has told me as far as leaking, etc. There are at least 50+ trees on the backside of the dam.
Before I place an offer on the land, the bank is requesting me to have an engineer inspect the dam. I am meeting with them next week. I've tried to research and came upon this website and have learned alot! Awesome site.
There is a unique and unfortunate aspect in the fact that a neighborhood was built 15 years ago about 40 yards behind the dam. I am getting all this insepcted becuase I dont want to have a liability issue on my hands in the future if this goes into the houses.
The lake is approx. 8-10 ft deep in the center where the creek channel is. the spillway was running normally when I was there. What issues do you see in the future? Should I just leave as is?
If I left it as is? Could this realistically last another 20-30 years? Or is that a bad gamble? I am going to look at property tommorrow again and will take more pictures of the actual dam and trees behind it. I was so excited the first day looking at it that I didnt even bother to notice all the trees. The banker just happen to ask me about it and then I realized I had a problem on my hands.
On one hand, this could provide me with negotiating power on reducing the overall price of the land.
Assuming the worst case scenario, what is a cost range that I should expect? Lets say I have to remove all trees, including root balls, repair dam, etc... are we talking 5-10K or more like 40-50K?
The only advantage that I see of having to drain the lake and make repairs would be that I could make the lake deeper? My future goals of the lake are to have trophy LMB! Is 8-10 ft deep enough for that?
Second..+1 to what John said. I agree it is a beautiful lake but with the way the weather in Texas has been in the last few years.....that lake is potentially a bunch of lawsuits waiting to happen, especially if you do anything to "improve" it. IMHO My first stop would be a top notch law firm to assess the situation.
First, what a beautiful body of water - scenic and lovely. Wow.
Second, the aerial snap showing the housing development downstream ... all I saw was "holy crap when that dam breaks there is gonna be a mess over in that neighborhood".
Unrelated to the dam failure, when you walk the pond/lake, do you see anything that identifies people have been there? Aside from the dam my concern would be kids in the neighborhood using the water to play, swim, run R/C boats, fish, etc. And then adults using the water to fish. If you invest your time and money into a trophy bass lake, how are you going to keep poachers out? They're literally right across the dam from you, dam it. ha ha
I would also look at the liability insurance in case there are kids and someone has an accident - that water is SO close to a development you might need to insure yourself.
Yes. I definitely have had all those thoughts. I plan on building on a hilltop overlooking the lake, so when that happens, I'm not too worried about poaching. But in the past and current, no telling who has had access to it.
I keeping thinking how crazy the homeowners are for even wanting to build below that! I hope they have flood insurance , lol
No matter what is in writing, you are still not lawsuit proof. Also with that many people around, there is no way that you can keep everyone off. If a Kid slips in and drowns, your life will change forever.
If you take out the trees, you will damage the integrity of the dam. If a tree dies the dead roots will leave a void. I see a lot of inherent problems with negligence allowing the trees to even get started.
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.
Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.
Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Here is an updated picture zoomed out a little further.
I agree with you all as well. Ya'lls reassurance is helping me say no!
Only scenario I would say yes is to have current land owners fix the issue with a new dam entirely. Have all the liability of construction on their hands. At this point with regualtions, etc I'm not so sure it would even get cleared to be redone. On the flip side, if I were the home owner below it, I would WANT it redone. Still can't believe they even offered houses on those 4 lots below it.
I will keep updates going as I am meeting with an engineer this week.
I'm meeting with landowners this afternoon, I'm going to open the can of worms on them.
Here on the forum we talk a lot about a site being suitable for a pond or lake. However, we always seem to place the most emphasis on soil samples, clay content, watershed....Maybe a potential site can have all the basics covered in good standing and STILL be unsuitable for a pond, due to what lies below.
In this scenario the pond is already in place, and the question becomes one of whether or not to purchase. Granted, the pond was there first, but can "after the fact", off property changes render a previously suitable, existing pond or piece of property, unsuitable? I believe so.
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"
If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1) And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1) Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT? PB answer: It depends.
Without knowing the full story and/or your situation it's hard to say, but there are certainly some concerns.
I know you must be thinking "I already own the 25 adjacent acres and if I don't buy it, somebody else will, and they will enjoy it for years....life is short...it's probably now or never...and I will probably be kicking myself".
It appears from the limited pictures the surrounding area is in the process of long term development which can be good and bad. The good is your property would probably be a very good investment, the bad is that it could be a trespassing and liability nightmare. I guess it depends on your situation, your goals, and level of "baby-sitting" you are willing to do going forward.
Besides speaking with an attorney friend, I would also speak with a very experienced insurance friend and be totally frank "face to face"....nothing via e-mail at first. Explain the situation...good and bad....and ask the insurance expert what are their thoughts, advice, and the parameters of low cost and high cost of umbrella policies that would help cover potential risks. Insurance as we all know can vary greatly in costs. Insurance involves gamble. The less risk for you the more the cost. You will have to decide how much you are willing to pay to lessen that gamble.
I would think your dam risks could probably be minimized if you are willing to pay for and work with an expert in lake building and create extra measures of safety like extra emergency drains that could be opened if a dangerous situation arose. Fully inform the expert lake builder you want to go over-board on dam measures that would protect the housing community from dam failure/flooding. Document and preserve all measures (pictures, notes, paid invoices) that address dam safety measures that an attorney in the futures could examine and see if it would help you during litigation.
If you can get a certain level of confidence that your dam is really solid and has something like new backup emergency releases that would greatly minimize catastrophic failure...then your liability may shift to trespassers or guests who could be injured, killed, or drown. That kind of umbrella might not be nearly as expensive. Of course you will need to place proper "No Trespassing" signs and take pictures of those in place. Just looking at the pictures I would think trespassing could be an on-going issue.
Beautiful lake. I can see why it has your interest. The trees on the dam....do they also serve as great "privacy wall" between you and the houses? Also looking down the road are you the owner of much of the vacant pasture land around the lake? Or is that additional potential development "problems" down the road of trespassing and liability. Does the housing community around your property have an HOA?
I don't think any professional engineer would sign off on it, because some of any future liability could be on him. To me, this place is one that would be un-sellable. Why the developers below were even allowed to develop this is questionable. If you purchase it, the local authorities could make you drain it in the future, if they deem it a great risk due to dam safety. Even if you were to be found not liable in a future scenario, the cost to defend it could run many thousands of dollars. Please keep us posted on your findings. This is an interesting case.
Its worse than I thought. I really think there are 100+ trees on it. Not to mention the width of the dam is very narrow. It also drops straight "down" right at the middle of the dam. There is no slope at all. The back yard property line of those houses are only about 30 yards from the dam. I really dont think there is even enough room for a perfectly built dam. Long story short, I'm done with this, hopefully its a learning experience for someone in the future if they ever see this. Luckily I never put any earnest money down!
I have convinced my self and my wife that sleep is more valuable at night than having to worry about this problem. I talked to the land owner today and told them an engineer needed to look at it, and they said that I needed to pay for one.
The way I see it this is no different than finding out a house has termites at the inspection and at that point , it is the sellers problem, not the buyers! Im going to call the realtor and tell her im not interested. Much less headache that way.
Thanks for you guys input. My property is right next by, so if anything ever happens I'll let you know years down the road. After looking at the pictures I posted on this reply, a problem WILL happen, its just a matter of when.
Its appealing, but risky. The drip line of the trees shows that some roots have made there way to the water. I would do a little more research to see exactly what your liability would be if you did nothing to the dam. What does the emergency overflow look like? Would the seller be willing to assume the long term liability in writing in a land contract? A good real estate lawyer would be my 1st order.
Somebody will buy it. Someone will fall in love with its beauty and blindly trust the realtor/mortgage/title system to employ all the due diligence necessary. After all, the four homeowners below the dam were sold a "bill of sale" that none of us would have accepted. And I also know that if I had lived near that pond when I was a kid, you would have had trouble keeping me away from it! This is a ticking time bomb primed for tragedy and court action(s).
I wonder if the owner who originally built the pond also owned the land below it and sold it for the housing development. Note to self: Never sell the land below my pond!
Talked to the realtor today and told her my issues. She said "well we have a pond at my house with trees all over the dam!"
I said, I bet there aren't 20 houses below it! She replied back that it has been fine for 60 years, I said, I don't care about the last 60, I care about the next 60 and I don't want a new orleans flood on my hands!
I've made my decision to not purchase it, but I am going to do some additional research just for the heck of it. The creek flows into my 25 acres after it passes through the neighborhood, after that, it crosses a state highway in which it dumps into a big time lawyers 4 acre lake. Not only would the homeowners sue after a dam breach, so would the lawyer after his pond gets all the water! Too many unfavorable scenarios. I'm having an engineer friend that builds lakes go out there for free one day this week. That's another issue :"the current owners said it's all on my dime to get it checked out"
My prediction in the future will be that it will turn into a mud hole. It will eventually break and the owner will not be given permission to re-build due to houses and state hwy... its a shame, because the place is beautiful with rolling hills on each side of it. Not only did it have bass, but it has ducks on it as well.
Will keep you guys posted on what engineer says. Thanks for all that have taken the time to comment on this thread. It's definitely a unique scenario!
I'd be leery of purchasing the property with the pond on it.
BUT, since the property connects to yours, is there a way to talk the owners into slicing it up and allowing you to buy the majority of it without purchasing the pond portion too?
It's 57 acres, about 15 acres on one side of lake and 30 on the other side. The dam is also the only way to get to the other side, and the "other side" also happens to be the only home build site...go figure.
"Sometimes the writing is clearly on the wall that things just happen for a reason!"