July 23, 2019
At the BOD meeting of this date, one Director stated “,,,the growing number of wake boats … may create an untenable situation … in a few years”. As a normal course of the meeting, the LAKE Committee noted in its REPORT #5 that a related motion had been discussed within the committee; that motion, “4. “, was a proposal to enact a moratorium on future registrations of wake boats. Very important to note that the motion would have “grandfathered” existing registrations. The motion was seconded, but ultimately withdrawn.
Sept 3, 2019
A member of the LAKE COMMITTE submitted a letter to the Chairman of the committee. Highlights from this letter are:
- Proposal to ban future wake boat registrations permanently, but again grandfathering the existing boats
- wind-driven wave heights, measured over years, including during storms – 34 in. max
- wake boat wave heights – 56in. to 64in (Typical)
- wind-driven waves can disturb bottom sediments to a depth of 7.5 ft
- wake boat waves can disturb bottom sediments to a depth of 23 ft. At this depth, fish habitat/spawning would be affected.
- with multiple wake boats, waves can merge to have greater effect
- 13 community residents support the ban
While these observations can be criticized as coming from someone without “proper credentials”, what they really show is a need for study by properly credentialed experts.
Sept 24, 2019
Confirming the 9/3/2019 letter above, the LAKE COMMITTEE chair informed the BOD that “… discussion on wake boarding was continuing.” In the future, a report would come to the BOD; the BOD President concurred such was needed.
The “Committee Monthly Report” issued by the Lake Committee formalized a motion for the moratorium on future registrations of wake boats; also prohibited was the addition, on any existing boat, aftermarket devices for large wake creation. “Grandfathering” extended to allowing existing owners replacement of boats with newer models. The Moratorium was scheduled to end July 2021. In committee, the motion was voted and passed: 8 – 4.
Oct 22, 2019
A PETITION was circulated apparently in October 2019 and presented by a resident at the BOD meeting. The PETITION’s 520 signers indicated non-support of “a ban of wake boats” and they classed as “residents”. No comment offered , nor was inspection ever made possible, in regard to further classification such as “age”, “one vote per lot”, etc. The PETITION has never been seen since the BOD saw it. The PETITION’s text was based on a false premise – a ban of wake boats was not under discussion; rather just a time-limited moratorium on new registrations; arguably, the PETITION did not relate to the motion before the Board
A director confirmed that only a time-limited moratorium was under consideration and that the motion would not be advanced. Instead, an Ad Hoc Wake Boat Committee would be formed.
Nov 3, 2019
With an 8 page letter, one resident expressed extreme frustration with the wake boat issue. In particular, the letter cites more than a few instances of inconsiderate or dangerous behavior during interactions with boat operators. This letter was sent to BOD members and three committees.
Nov 4, 2019
A letter sent to the “Ad Hoc Committee on Wake Boats” reiterates that, in fact, a ban of wake boats was not under discussion. More importantly, the writer emphasizes uncontrolled future growth is the true concern.
From a vocal advocate for wake boats came a quick response to the letter above. This wakeboater commented at length about the motion’s failure:
- “THERE IS VERY LITTLE ACTUAL DATA IN SUPPORT”
- “THE MOTION WAS NOT DATA DRIVEN”
Both of these letters were forwarded to the Ad Hoc Committee on Wake Boats and preceded later proposals for the NCU Lake Study.
Jan 11, 2020
After an exchange of emails between a moratorium supporter and a vocal advocate for wake boats, a request was made to a knowledgeable community resident, “… we have been very hungry for an outside source of scientific/technical information….”
The community resident, Steve Short, authored a well reasoned merging of published technical data and observations for Lake Auman itself. The document “Wake Boats and the Lake Auman Community” has 14 pages, each one is a worthwhile read.
- An excerpt from pages 8-9 yields information very specific to our Lake Auman
- [The wave height data collected at the bulkhead on Lake Auman at 170 Simmons Drive]
- A wave height of 32” was recorded from a wake boat supporting surfing when the biased ballasted side of the boat faced our shore and a 28” wave when the boat was traveling in the opposite direction.
- Wave heights of 12” to 15” were recorded for wake boats towing wakeboarders.
- Wave heights of 3” to 5” were measured upon passage of a ski boat pulling a skier.
- [ boats were minimally 300-400 feet or more from the measuring site ]
Aug 1, 2020
46 Wake Boats
As growth in wake boat numbers continued strongly, the Lake Committee compiled a working document to identify the wake-capable boats (i.e., capable for wakeboarding and/or wakesurfing). Using the 7LW Boat registration data, 46 boats were in this category as of end of July 2020. This compilation is not a certain list of “wake boats”; the 7LW “Boat Sticker” data is imprecise for this purpose.
Aug 24, 2020
The BOD President gives a short, polite response to a community member’s detailed report of lake-side wake boat problems and other observations.
Sep 26, 2020
For the period of Nov. 4, 2019 through Sept. 26, 2020, the 7LWLA Message Board has a variety of posts, for and against the “moratorium” and/or “a study of the lake”. Interestingly, again a vocal wake boater strongly feels it is:
“…absurd to ban new registrations of a certain class of boat BEFORE any direct scientific evidence from this lake…”
Reply by: Jason Nowakowski Posted on Oct 04, 2020 (pg. 4)
It will be useful that community members will propose a study, in very near future, of Lake Auman by North Carolina University.
Oct 27, 2020
The Minutes for this BOD meeting shows 15 community members speaking in the MEMBERS’ OPEN FORUM; no information about each of their concerns is provided .
The Lake Committee’s REPORT 4 states:
” The Dam Committee is in the process of 2 very important studies so it was decided for the lake committee to focus on studies of their own and couple their conclusion with the outcomes of the dam committee studies ,,,”
The Lake Committee’s “own studies” are not detailed as to content, or status. “Studies” are to “finished the latter part of November.”
Note: 11/17/20 BOD Minutes & 12/15/20 BOD Minutes – Lake Committee REPORTs make no mention of “studies”.
The recent formation of a community group LAVA (LakeAumanVitalityAssoc.) is introduced to the BOD by letter, describing the group’s focus, and signed by seven community members. Five attachments accompany the letter, but, curiously, only three of the attachments are viewable in the BOD minutes. The two omitted attachments are viewable here:
BOD Minutes, of this date, also include four letters addressed to the Board:
- #1 – Support of the Wake Boat moratorium
- #2 – Do not do any wake boat study , it is not needed
- #3 – BOD too quickly dismisses input from Committees (Safety & Sec. Comm.)
- #4 – Request for BOD publication of the PETITION “presented at last year’s … meeting”
Pertaining to #4, the 10/7/21 request for the PETITION, the BOD President did provide the documents to the resident. As a reminder, ” The PETITION’s 520 signers …” appears in the BOD Minutes of OCT 22, 2019. The resident’s analysis had major points.
- 197 property owners correctly signed … lot number showing….
- Many signatures were “electronically signed” – no direct tie to PETITION’s wording
- Same signers for multiple lots (Owner of multiple lots? – unresolved)
- “I believe the inflated number greatly influenced the board’s perspective”
Nov 1, 2020
Growth of all power boat types from 2019 to 2020
Reference: email to BOD, Lake Committee, Dam Committee
WAKE BOATS – Grew by 40% last year To date, only 8% of TOTAL
“Casual Boats” – 75% of TOTAL
Nov 5, 2020
The LAKE COMMITTEE MASSACRE
“This evening the Lake Committee chair (Chris Mace), co-chair (Josh Davis), and Board Director Todd Brown have finally found a way to solve the wake boat issue. Via a re-organization, most of the senior members of the Lake Committee have been dismissed from the committee, including Don Smith, Don Snell, Dick Williams. Charlie Flinchum and me.”
Excerpt from: Letter “GAME OVER” by Jane Sessler
Ms. Sessler sent this letter to 70-80 community members. A vast majority of recipients were well aware that Chris Mace (Chatlee Marine, Sales), Josh Davis, and Todd Brown are wake boat owners/advocates, as are many additional BOD & Committee members.
The “restructuring” plan, having various CLUBS seat a voting member, was not well received !
The LAKE AUMAN SPORTS CLUB , in their “OPEN LETTER” (11/12/20), commented:
- “all five LC members who were summarily dismissed last week “
- “The plain, hard fact is the LC restructure has created, in our opinion, a highly political environment in which the LASC does not wish to participate.”
The SEVEN LAKES SAIING CLUB similarly declined to participate under the BOD’s terms.
Nov 5, 2020
For the meeting agenda of the reconfigured Lake Committee, a committee member provided a relatively uninformative tabulation of “… boat registrations over the last 6 years …”
One can easily notice this chart’s emphasis of moderate growth. Re-looking at the chart of NOV 1, 2020, the 2020 growth of “Ski/Bowrider’ category was 32% and within that category, Surf-Boats grew by 40%. A looming question: Is there a drastic change in boat types occurring ?
Nov 17, 2020
Following the “LAKE COMMITTEE MASSACRE”, the BOD meets for first time. A number very important events take place. However, it is important to review the preceding events …
- One year delay, with continued serious discussion of a time-limited moratorium on NEW Wake Boats, after Lake Committee PASSES motion 8-4 (Oct 2019)
- “No moratorium, need more data/science”
- The LAKE COMMITTEE MASSACRE ( Nov 5, 2020)
- Premise for restructuring the Lake Committee has no basis
In session, the BOD does the following:
- Motion: to adopt NEW Wake Boat Moratorium voted: FAILS 1-6
- Amendment to Motion (1st by BOD VP): FAILS 2-5
- Amendment to Motion (2nd by BOD VP): FAILS 2-5
- Board Director T. Brown declares failed Motion is not same as Motion (for a moratorium) passed (8 – 4) by LAKE COMMITTEE IN October 2019. BOD Motion (FAILED) supersedes Lake Comm. Motion (PASSED).
- Another Motion:, by BOD VP, for upper limit (60 boats): FAILS 1-6 ( This motion has been submitted with an extensive amount of supporting information [EXHIBIT 2] )
- Lake Committee MOTION for RED lights on top of buoys: PASSES 7 – 0. No other contribution from Lake Committee.
SLWLA Dam Committee (Report 8A) recommends study and continued monitoring of “upstream” side of dam due to “the effects of larger, more frequent waves generated by wake boats.”
Included at the end of the published BOD Minutes there are 23 letters from community members against the Moratorium; it can be assumed these were solicited by members of the Board and/or the Lake Committee. In the past, the BOD typically did not include letters received from community members favoring the Moratorium, or any other action addressing growth of wake boarding/surfing.
Nov 19, 2020
At first glance, a Board Director’s email with procedural question for
“looking at imposing a special assessment to do a wake study on Lake Auman”
might indicate a serious plan by BOD for a study, however this is not likely.
- No specific ‘wake study’, with estimated cost, has been forwarded to the BOD
- SPECIAL ASSESSMENTs require a 2/3 majority vote and are VERY unlikely to pass
This Board Director owns a wake-capable boat (Mastercraft CSX220, 400HP).
Dec 15, 2020
At this BOD meeting, the Lake Committee Report #9 , it would appear to been benign, but of the 4 items listed, two are noteworthy.
- new Lake Committee Charter (unpublished)(published in Feb, 2021)
- new Volunteer Lake Patrol Charter (unpublished)
” We felt this was needed after the LASC declined to participate under LC oversite. We feel as the committee charged to oversee the lake it only makes sense to have over sight to lake enforcement such as the VLP. “
One can only guess how this my affect enforcement activity on Lake Auman.
Jan 19, 2021
Four community members, with engineering/scientific backgrounds, reached out to four Universities for help with information and possible ‘study capabilities’ for our Lake Auman. After reviewing a few study proposals, the group proceeded with the proposal from NC State University (Dept. of Marine, Earth, & Atmospheric Science). The group proposed adoption of the study to the ‘ad hoc Lake Auman Master Planning Committee’.
Jan 26, 2021
At the next BOD meeting the ‘ad hoc Lake Auman Master Planning Committee (ahLAMPC)’ introduced the NCSU study to the BOD. The proposal was prefaced with a detailed explanation of issues important to the SLW community.
The importance of the proposal led to a review, by both the BOD President and the ahLAMPC Report 4, of the Committe’s history, structure, and goals.
During the MEMBERS’ OPEN FORUM, three speakers spoke of the study’s importance to the community. A fourth speaker addressed a relevant concern, also.
- Don Smith expressed concerns that the Lake Committee was too heavily weighted towards wake boat owners and suggested that the Board exert some oversight.
Somewhat coincidentally, the Long Range Planning Committee Report 6 provides a snapshot of the communities growth.
We now have approximately 1200 “improved” lots and 700 “unimproved” lots (600 privately owned lots and 100 “developer” lots). Allowing for a certain amount of unbuildable and “recombined” lots (say 50), at full build-out there will be approximately 650 more homes, or a 50%+ increase in families beyond our current population.
The paragraph above is an excerpt from a half page document which the Long Range Planning Committee titled as:
Statement to the Community
This “Statement …” was never published to the community, in whole or in part, by the BOD.
Feb 17, 2021
The Dam Committee Report submitted to the BOD ends with a note.
“In addition to more boats, residents have observed larger waves which appear to be generated by wake boats that were not in existence when the dam was originally designed and constructed. Whether these larger boat generated waves will adversely affect Lake Auman Dam over extended years of service is unknown.”
Feb 23, 2021
The Presidents Report for this BOD meeting is a lengthy paragraph primarily describing the EXECUTIVE SESSION approach for discussion of the study proposal to be announced at this meeting.
- Excerpt #1: “…Lake study that is on the agenda. More importantly was to have a confidential discussion about the contract, how to fund the study, and how to administer the study if approved to ensure the most community support.
- Excerpt #2: “…very sensitive and confidential conversation, specifically because we called out members by name that should be included in the managing of the study
- Excerpt #3: “…as important, those members who should not be involved in any way
- Excerpt #4: That part of the discussion would have been very inappropriate in a public meetings.
In context, #4 refers to #3 and #2. The #1portion of EXECUTIVE SESSION does not justify such lack of transparency. Upon exit from the session, no public information regarding the parameters used pertinent to #1. For #2, a plan ( e.g., the ‘approved’ community members) was not revealed.
Perhaps there was some nervousness that the plan might be adopted….
To avoid any possible revelation of BOD position, or possible ‘Motion to adopt’, the Motion to declare “significant interest to the community” passed 7-0.
Also unusual, the ‘ad hoc Master Planning Committee’ Report 5 provides a two-part Motion made in committee, but not voted. The Motion addressed funding and study management. Report 5 also provides important “operational” aspects of study adoption.
Submitting its Report 4, the Lake Committee went on record to:
- expand the scope of the study, despite design by experts and technical review by the ‘ad hoc Master Planning Committee’ members
- offer a clear method of ‘study management’.
Despite the guidance from two committees, the BOD had to use EXECUTIVE SESSION to address how to configure and present “study management”, and how to include/exclude specific community members. And, again, despite the guidance – could not reveal a result from their EXECUTIVE SESSION.
Mar 8, 2021
First public meeting for discussion of NCU Lake Study
Mar 16, 2021
Community MESSAGE BOARD – “only friends of BOD need apply …”
At the community’s website sevenlakeswest.org, the Message Board (Msg Bd) is the place for members to ‘Post’ or view items of interest. In some cases multiple Posts are better described as a ‘conversation.’ The Msg Bd is monitored by the BOD; there are instances when ‘monitoring’ changes to self-interested censorship.
MESSAGE BOARD censored by BOD – example
This example shows arbitrary removal by BOD; the post did fit the posting “guidelines”. Many posts are censored when they do not support BOD actions, or the post supports a position/viewpoint not held by the BOD. The censored Post(s) came from the Community Advocate, Ron Shepard; they informed about a dispute between the BOD and a resident. The dispute was resolved in favor of the resident by the Community Advocate and the Community Manager. The BOD received a ‘Letter of Reprimand’. Swift BOD retribution followed for the Advocate’s action. (see Mar 23, 2021)
Even the Chair of the Judicial Panel, familiar with the situation, agreed censorship was inappropriate – raising the censorship as an “Allegation against the Board.” Having given support to the Advocate’s complaints, the Chair of the Judicial Panel was next in line for BOD retribution. (see APR 27, 2021 to learn the fate for the Chair)
LakeAumanWatch.com has been created to overcome BOD censorship of the MESSAGE BOARD
Mar 23, 2021
Other than the reminder of the March 29 second Public Meeting, the in-session discussion by Directors does not make reference to the NCU Lake Study.
However, the Dam Committee Report 6 to the BOD clearly and strongly endorses the NCU Lake study.
The Committee unanimously agreed that the NC State Proposal to evaluate natural wind and boat wave energy and its impacts on Lake Auman should be conducted to better understand the depth and magnitude of all wave forces on the dam.
Community Advocate DISMISSAL
Elsewhere in the REPORTS section, the Legal Affairs Committee will be dismissing the Community Advocate, Ron Shepard, apparently in retribution for his Message Board postings. Shortly before R. Shepard was originally appointed in November 2019, the BOD, at its meeting of August 2019, set the term for the CA to be three years “with an annual reconfirmation thereafter. ” At that same meeting, “Attachment 3” outlines the Responsibilities, Authority, etc. for the CA appointment.
As follow up to this dismissal, three letters were sent to the BOD
- A protest from the dismissed CA, Ron Shepard
- A supporter for the CA and his qualifications
- A Motion of “extreme displeasure” from a unanimous Judicial Panel
Challenges to BOD reap Retribution
The Chair of the Judicial Panel, a while later, pointedly made “Allegations Against the Board” regarding the “letter of reprimand” by the CA and the dismissal’s lack of due process. To date, there no response from the BOD re: Letter of Reprimand. (except, of course, CA dismissal)
BOD subsequent actions (retribution) against the Judicial Panel, are more fully detailed elsewhere. (see Apr 27, 2021)
With the recent election of Directors, and announcement of results, a community member registered a complaint with the Community Manager and the newly appointed Community Advocate. The procedure for registering this complaint strictly followed relevant By-Law steps.
Did Developers cast ballots in the election?
The response from the BOD came via eBlast ( not following mandated procedure) and never gave a actual answer.
“... regardless of whether or how they were cast, we have determined that these votes did not determine the outcome of the election.“
The BOD has refused to release vote count details to the community in spite of the fact that the number of developer votes could be 100 + (a partial list identifies 76)
Mar 29, 2021
Second public meeting for discussion of NCU Lake Study
April 27, 2021
First Reading of the Motion -adopt NCU Lake Study?
With a noticeable lack of clarity, the “First Reading of the Motion” ends up being a rejection – “Voted 3 Yes, 4 No“. The first reading was the last reading, although such terminology, even with a vote, typically means a “2nd Reading (& vote)” should occur.
With two of the NO votes coming from just elected Directors, challenges to the validity of the election have been made. In addition to the “Developer voting issue” (see Mar 26, 2021), much more information can be found on the ELECTION page.
Prior to the BOD meeting of this date, Pat Zlotin (BOD President) communicated with the Judicial Panel. Her message was for that “Committee” to meet immediately after the April 27, 2021 meeting to select a chair. There were two problems with the request.
- the Judicial Panel is not a committee, and it operates with a level of independence from the Board, more so than true committees.
- The Chair (Terry Card) and members were appointed to the Judicial Panel at the BOD meeting May 26, 2020. Term for members and Chair set as “through fiscal 2023”.
Either because the Judicial Panel did not pick a “committee chair” on 4/27, or as retribution for Terry Card’s high profile opposition to BOD dismissal of the Community Advocate – the BOD did not accept Terry Card’s continuation as Judicial Panel Chair.
Challenges to BOD reap Retribution
Associated with the Chair decision, BOD Minutes show a Motion under “NEW BUSINESS Rescind motion of May 26,2020. Judicial Panel” The only substantive change is that Terry Card is no longer identified as “Terry Card, Chair”. The Motion, as revised – PASSES 7-0
On April 28, 2021 Terry Card was informed of the BOD decision and the Judicial Panel was instructed to pick a Chair person. In response, Terry Card did an “Open Letter to SLWLA Board President, Pat Zlotin” pointing to NCPCA (NC Planned Community Act) rules governing the Judicial Panel.
“…the Judicial Panel was set up 17-18 years ago by the then Board, thereby making it impossible for succeeding Boards to interfere with or have any control over JP in the following areas:
Assessing Fines “
“The Judicial Panel is the Department/Division within the Association that upholds the rights of the Community Members, and is their Voice.”
Entire JUDICIAL PANEL under Threat
Emailed reaction from one member of the Panel includes BOD threat to remove every member of the Judicial Panel. In response, Terry Card continues his role as JP Chair and demands “legal opinion from outside counsel“. Five specific allegations of misconduct by the BOD are put forward:  Judicial Panel has authority independent of BOD,  Chair position continues unchanged. The other three allegations are covered elsewhere –  Community Advocate dismissal (March 23, 2021),  Message Board Censorship (March 16,2021), and  Community Advocate Actions (March 23, 2021).
Curious that BOD demands for Judicial Panel do NOT seem to have been for all Committes. Perhaps BOD can refute this.
Apr 30, 2021
After the NCU Lake Study was rejected, BOD President Pat Zlotin sent responses to questions/issues raised by a community member. The member was appreciative of the detailed answers and promptness of “closing the loop'”
- Include some of the reports/studies by our own committees. (i.e., in eBlast)
- When did WAKEBOATS arrive in residence at Lake Auman
- How many are registered? Show the progression data over recent years.
- Identify the BOARD & Committee members that are registered owners of a WAKEBOAT. Is this a “conflict of interest” while
- considering issues at hand?
- There is what I’d call a rumor – A Committee president is a “seller of WAKEBOATs”. This needs to “out in the open”, if true.
- With the delay of a decision on this study, will eventual approval (if made) allow useful data collection for the majority of this
- year’s boating season?
Pat Zlotin’s responses were as follows:
- PZ: … see their committee pages on the SLW web … Comment: some reports are very important and of great interest – these should appear in the weekly eBlast, for example. The “Committee” portion of sevenlakeswest.org is very poorly maintained.
- PZ: … around 2005 …
- PZ: … do not have good enough records… not classified by ‘wake or ballast’ boats until recently… & … 2015 … 12-15, last year … 48-50 Comment: Boat Registration data for 2012 thru 2020 has identical data entry fields; including one for “Ballast/Dry well”. Indeed, data is not nearly adequate to confirm wake-capable, or not (to this day).
- PZ: … I do not have the answer to that … Comment: 57% of Directors are pro Wakeboat, 62 % of all Committees have at least one pro Wakeboat member, chair, or Board Liason. This is for a boat type (growth rate 30-40 % per year) which today is still about 8% of total.
- PZ: … Chris Mace, who works at Chatlee [Marine] … does not sell any ‘wake’ boats that a member can put into our lake. Comment: True, ‘jet driven’ boats are not allowed on Lake Auman. Many wake-cabable boats are “outboard’ or “inboard/outboard” style. Chatlee advertises ‘Bowriders’ for wake surfing and sells bladders, accessories, etc. to convert a boat to wake-capable.
- PZ: The study was not approved.
Answers to 3,4, & 5 make one wonder if the BOD President is misinformed for some reason. See the Wake Capable Boats page for general information about wake-capable boats and there presence on Lake Auman.
May 10, 2021
This HISTORY has brought a number of community members together to more widely distribute important information, including a USPS mailing to every community member.
May 25, 2021
The JUDICIAL PANEL Massacre
(A brief synopsis of the most recent BOD meeting for now, more to come… )
The BOD carried through with their “warning” to the JUDICIAL PANEL – all members summarily dismissed after yet another EXECUTIVE SESSION. The list of the new members was given.
To be continued …