Dam Regulations An Issue For Two Area Lakes

Forest, VA - Liberty University has told state regulators it will not fix the dam at Ivy Lake, which could mean the state will order the draining of the lake.

Neighbors feel the university, which owns the lake, should pay the entire $2 million to $3 million to bring the dam into compliance, under new regulations.

Jerry Falwell, Jr. says the university is unwilling to take the property owners to court, to get them to pay half the cost.

A similar situation is going on in a Botetourt County neighborhood.

The state ordered the draining of Rainbow Forest Lake two summers ago. The water is now about six feet lower than in 2011. The neighborhood recreation association has a conditional permit for the dam, which is set to expire in September.

"Our membership has gone down very much, not to mention the property value people worry about," said Jackie Rowe, who lives across from Rainbow Forest Lake.

The repair work at Rainbow Forest would cost half of what it would take to repair the dam at Ivy Lake. Unlike the neighbors in Forest, the responsibility there falls on the neighborhood association, and homeowners aren't required to join.

Liberty University believes the Ivy Lake dam should be grandfathered in. The university is requesting a waiver from the 2008 regulation changes, calling the type of storm event the new dam regulations are designed for rare if not non-existent in Virginia.