More than 60 homeowners now fighting Liberty University in Ivy Lake lawsuit
BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) - More than 60 homeowners say they plan to fight a lawsuit filed by Liberty University asking them to take ownership of Ivy Lake in Bedford County.
The lake was gifted to the school in 2009, but now the Department of Conservation and Recreation is requiring Liberty to make $1 million in repairs to the dam.
There are more than 460 people included in the lawsuit, and as many as a fourth of them may be trying to fight this.
Some homeowners that don't even live on the lake say they don't mind paying to use it, or to drive over the dam, they just don't want to own it.
Ivy Lake homeowner Reggie Lynch has lived there for 6 years, and he says owning a lake wasn't something he or his neighbors signed up for when moving in.
"They feel like they're being bullied into trying to take ownership of the lake," said Lynch.
All of them received a Memorandum of Understanding at their door in March asking them to join a Property Owners Association and ultimately take ownership of Ivy Lake, but the lake's dam needs repairs to come up to code with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
"That new DCR regulations required them to updates to the spillway, they have to reinforce the spillway with concrete," said Lynch.
Those repair costs, valued at $1 million dollars, would also shift to the homeowners.
Homeowner Susan Faulconer says it's a shock to many residents.
"I feel like they are wanting to shift that burden to my neighbors and me, and I don't appreciate it," said Faulconer.
There may also be a price for non-compliance.
"If you don't pay, then they can put a lien on your house. You'd be forced into this POA," said Lynch.
Attorney David Helscher in Roanoke says this type of agreement is outside the norm.
"Typically you do that up front, so that every time the title to the property changes hands, that deal has already, it's part of what you're buying, as opposed to imposing that on people who already own the land," said Helscher.
That imposition is being felt by some at the lake more than others.
"I had one lady sitting here, stage 4 cancer, wondering why, with everything she's got to deal with, that she has to deal with this," said Lynch.
Lynch and his wife filed around 60 responses to Liberty on May 18th, saying they didn't want any part of ownership.
They haven't hired a lawyer and plan to defend themselves in court if necessary.
"We just don't want the responsibility and the headaches that go with it," said Lynch.
About 130 homeowners have signed the Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to set up a Property Owners Association and take ownership of Ivy Lake.
A court date has not been set for the suit to be heard in Bedford Circuit Court.
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