Officials Pull Plug On Rainbow Forest Lake

Reporter: David Tate

Botetourt County, VA - After more than ten years of trying, one neighborhood group in Botetourt County has lost its fight to keep a community lake... for now.

The dam that makes the lake no longer complies to state safety requirements and it must be drained substantially by July 1st but are running into problems meeting that deadline.

The sight of kids enjoying a hot summer's day swim will be all but a memory here soon.

The neighborhood group that maintains this lake has pulled the plug on the drain that keeps the deepest part at about 12 feet... which is 6-feet too high.

It's been a long battle for Judith Sanborn who sold her Smith Mountain Lake property to buy this home.

"I really don't know what we'll do if the lake goes. It would be disappointing. When we moved here we sold that because we enjoyed this. This was the only reason we bought our home here so if the lake goes, I might have to rethink living here," said Sanborn.

Mike Lubosch isn't giving up the fight especially after his most recent property assessment saw a $50,000 drop along with the drain order.

"You retire and try to have your last home before you leave this world and that's how it works. It's a kick in the butt... but what can you say?" asked Lubosch.

And while the group has pulled the plug, another lake upstream is refilling Rainbow Forest Lake as fast as it drains.

That has the neighborhood worried about new problems, like the state fining them for not complying... which would be on top of the 300-thousand dollars needed for the upgrade.

Frustrating? Yes.

End game? No... but there is no clear plan to move ahead either.

"I just really feel good about the community trying to come together to do what we can to save this lake," said Sanborn.

Reporter - "You're not rolling over?"

"No, not by any means," she said.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation says that there is some leeway in that July 1st deadline.

They are currently drafting an administrative order that will have more details on how the neighborhood group should proceed.