Property values and lake issues

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By Jesse Osbourne


On the front page you may have noticed a story about the top landowners in the county.
In the past, I’ve talked about public records and the Open Records Act.

That story is a perfect example of public records.
With access to the PVA records, I was able to spend a few weeks looking through every property registered on the PVA website to try to compile the top 10 landowners in the county.
Just to be clear, no one in the PVA office had a clue I was working on this. None of the property owners knew about the project, either.
Though the information is public record, we intentionally left out the assessed value of the properties.
The motive for the story was to satisfy my own question of, “Who owns the most property in Washington County?”

Willisburg Lake update
Mike Gaudinier, a Willisburg Lake resident, stopped by my office last week.
His property was one that was featured in a picture last week in the story about Willisburg Lake.
He came by to defend his property.
A fence and gate on his property do sit on the city’s 100-foot easement, but he said it was his understanding that when he bought the land there was a 15-foot easement that was grandfathered in. The 100-foot easement would become retroactive if he ever sold the property. He was going to check with a lawyer about that later that day.
The fence and gate are for the three miniature horses he bought for his wife on their anniversary.
He added that he planted over 400 trees on his property and that when he bought it in 1993, several properties were mowed down to the ground.
Gaudinier said he thinks removing the 40-horsepower limit on boats has caused more erosion on the lake than removing trees and mowing grass.
He added that the rock structure built on the shoreline designates the high-water mark on Dec. 31, 1999.
The water has never been high enough to cause damage to a boat, he said.