Lake Of The Woods Association
Every lot owner is a member of the Lake of the Woods Association, Inc. (LOWA), a homeowners’ association governed by Virginia law and a seven member, volunteer Board of Directors (BOD) elected at large from among the LOWA membership. Each lot is entitled to one vote in all elections. The BOD functions very much like a town council, and is charged with the development of an annual budget and policies and strategies responsive to the changing needs of a growing community. Twenty advisory Committees staffed by volunteers from among the membership support the work of the BOD.
Board meetings are held on the first Saturday of every month. Both BOD meetings and Committee meetings are open to all property owners and tenants. An annual BOD election and membership meeting is held on Labor Day.
Covenants, By-laws, and Regulations provide an orderly structure for the proper operation of the Association. LOWA members pay an annual assessment set bythe BOD, which finances the operation and maintenance of all facilities and services, and partially subsidizes amenity operations. As required by the Restrictive Covenants, this assessment must be paid by May 1, the beginning of our fiscal year. Upon payment of the annual assessment, lot owners are issued identification cards, which are needed for registration of vehicles and boats, access to amenities or other use of LOWA property, and entry at the front gate in place of a vehicle barcode.
The General Manager, who reports to the President of the BOD, is employed by LOWA to implement and supervise the overall day-to-day operations and maintenance of LOWA facilities and common grounds. The Association has a paid staff of 90 to 135 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees.
Barcode Information and Policy
Application forms for barcode decals that automatically activate vehicle-control gates at the front and back entrances to LOW are available at the Holcomb Building. To ensure proper placement, a staff member must affix barcodes to vehicles. Activation of barcodes may take up to five business days. Members must present current membership card/tenant card or valid guest pass with the state vehicle registration and a completed barcode application to the Holcomb Building office staff. The name on the membership card must match the name on the vehicle registration and barcode application. If you have more than one vehicle, each must be brought separately.
Property owners or tenants not in good standing (those having unpaid assessment fees or fines) may have their vehicle barcodes deactivated by the Association Office until such fees or fines are discharged. However, barcodes may also be deactivated for other reasons. If you find your barcode is not working, please contact the LOWA Office at 972-2237.
When a vehicle is sold, the barcode must be removed and returned to the LOWA Office. If you cannot remove the barcode, the Association must be notified of its disposition in writing. Any barcode left on a vehicle after sale or disposal is the responsibility of the person to whom the barcode was assigned. Barcode deactivation forms are available at the LOWA Office.
All boats and watercraft used on LOW’s lakes must be registered annually by May 1 and display a current LOWA decal, including sailboats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, and personal watercraft. Launching of “guest” watercraft that does not display a LOWA decal is not permitted.
Members registering a boat must show evidence of having passed the LOW Safe Recreational Lake Users’ Examination, have a current member or tenant ID card, and proof of craft type, ownership, and adequate insurance. All boat registrations are handled at the Holcomb Building.
Powered boats and sailboats over 18 feet operated on our lakes must be titled but are not required to be registered with the state of Virginia unless other use or situations require it. Members are advised to be familiar with registration requirements appropriate to their own situation.
Boat Slips and Vehicle Storage
The Association provides boat slips at the two marinas and maintains a large fishing lakevehicle storage lot near the main dam where members can store boats, RVs, and trailers year-round. Members may store their boats on their own lots, subject to LOWA regulations regarding appropriate placement and cover materials. A slip assignment can be requested by calling the Association Office, but there is normally a long waiting list. Members are encouraged to make docking arrangements with lakefront residents whenever possible.
Guest Entry Passes and Procedures
Members must call Security or enter guests via the visitor management system to authorize entry of their guests to LOW. The General Manager must clear groups of 25 or more. Members may purchase annual guest passes at minimum cost for immediate family members, who may choose to have a barcode affixed to their vehicles to facilitate entry. The member must renew guest passes every year before May 1 or the guest barcode will be deactivated. Members may also request an extended pass for vendors who provide services on a regular basis (cleaning services, lawn care, etc.). Three-month passes are available for such vendors through Security, and members must renew such passes quarterly or notify Security when services are terminated.
Communications at LOW
The Association publishes a biweekly newsletter, Lake Currents, which is mailed to all property owners and tenants of record. Lake Currents is the primary vehicle for communication from the BOD, LOWA management, and staff to our members. The newsletter also serves as the primary means of communication for reports from amenity managers, LOWA Committees, and clubs, and features a “Calendar of Events,” which lists meetings, fundraisers, notices, and other services.
Members and tenants may submit articles for publication in Lake Currents that are of general interest to the community. Guidelines for submissions are available from the Communications Office.
The “ViewPoints” section of the newsletter offers members an opportunity to share their views on relevant issues with other members, subject to the ViewPoints guidelines:
The deadline for submissions is the Monday after the biweekly publication date. Submissions should be e-mailed to the Communications Office at lakecurrents@LOWA.org.
Advertising space is available for businesses, club activities, and fundraisers. Charitable organizations receive a discount on advertising. Please contact the Communications Office for more information on advertising rates and requirements.
LOWA Channel 18 is a public service channel provided by Comcast cable television. It disseminates information to LOW residents with the following topics given priority: emergency notices, Association business, monthly reviews of BOD meetings, Orange County Sheriff’s Office reports, and Orange County Board of Supervisors meetings. Other features include club meetings, fundraisers, and special events in our community and local area. Members are encouraged to submit video of local special events or other topics of general interest to residents. Please contact the Communications Office for more information on Channel 18 video guidelines.
LOWA Web Site
The Association web site is a convenient resource for a broad range of member information needs. Posted regularly are Lake Currents, a full year of BOD meeting minutes, up-to-date LOWA Regulations, and other archival documents. Many frequently used LOWA forms are also available. Members will find the web site a good resource for local and government information, current LOWA committee information, and club contact listings.
E-mail notices of back gate closings, unexpected water service interruptions, and other timely announcements as deemed appropriate by the General Manager are sent to residents who sign up for the LOWA blast e-mails. Members can add their names by clicking on the Constant Contact link on the Members Central page after logging into the member side of the website.
The Information Center is located in the lower level Clubhouse parking lot. The Center houses newspaper vending machines and provides secure display boards for members to advertise the sale of personal and household items, boats, vehicles, and real estate; post information on lost and found pets; offer small business services; or to offer to buy various items or arrange carpools.
Members may submit a 3-inch by 5-inch card per item to be advertised. Photos are acceptable as long as they do not exceed size requirements. Postings must be submitted to the LOWA Receptionist in the Holcomb Building no later than noon on Wednesday. Cards will be posted for four weeks at no cost. Members are asked to put their name, lot, and section number on the back of the card.
Small business may also post business cards or other index-card size ads at a cost of $6 per month. Commercial space is sold on an annual basis. Please contact the Communications Office for details.
Other Communications Services
The Holcomb Building vestibule, open 24 hours a day, has a brochure stand sponsored by the Orange County Department of Tourism, a box for retired American flags, and a slot in the inside wall for the convenience of members to drop off items/payments after hours.
LOWA also maintains the Reading Room in the lower level of the Holcomb Building. This room can be accessed during regular business hours, and is the central depository for important Association documents, such as BOD and Committee meeting minutes, Committee Charters, governing documents, and reports from special ad hoc committees and outside consulting firms.
Residents should be aware that major disasters affecting LOW are managed under the legal authority of Orange County and covered by Virginia statutes. However, the LOWA General Manager has the responsibility of directing the emergency plan at LOW in coordination with proper civil authorities.