Lake Largo Needs Assistance from Prince George's County 's Leadership
We need our county leadership to take responsibility for their contribution to Lake Largo's storm water maintenance, and to not pass along the cost back to homeowners in the area. If the County does not step to plate, there will be negative economic impacts for the LTCA and its affiliated communities, which are key stakeholders in Downtown Largo. A failure of the County to act will undermine the great plans that the county initiated for Downtown Largo, its residents, and visitors.
More on the Issue
Largo Town Center Association (LTCA), is responsible for governing and managing several residential communities and commercial retail spaces surrounding and including the Largo Town Center. For 30 years, LTCA has supported the community by maintaining the common areas to provide an ideal place for the community to Live, Work and Play. The lake and surrounding amenities has been one of the most recognizable attractions for new residents and businesses in the community and developers seeking to capitalize from buyers who value having access to a nearby area with a water feature.
Lake Largo is classified as being a significant hazard. Despite being labeled as a recreational pond, the lake serves a dual purpose for collecting stormwater. This is especially important when there are no stormwater facilities in the area. The property management company for the LTCA reached out to the Commission as well as the Department of Public Works & Transportation (DPW&T) for assistance with maintenance and improvements to the lake. However, the DPW&T’s position was that the LTCA is legally responsible for “functional maintenance.”
This position is troublesome when the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (“Commission”) acknowledged that “management of stormwater runoff will continue to be an issue as the area develops” and “management of stormwater on-site will be a critical issue in the future” in its December 2013 Master Plan, Sector Plan and Transit District Development Plan. Also, the Commission stated that it has a strategic goal of “[sharing] stormwater management facilities and functions between development sites to reduce the overall land consumption needed to manage stormwater with an emphasis on managing stormwater quantities in shared facilities.”
It is important to note that the Commission is the owner of several parcels of land that is included in the LTCA. Also, the Commission owns and operates a fountain that is in the lake. Thus, DPW&T’s position and unwillingness to aid the LTCA in finding a collaborative resolution with the Commission regarding the lake is a direct failure to serve county residents. Furthermore, this is problematic because the LTCA cannot make changes to its governing documents, including making changes that adversely affect the lake or modify the method of determining and collecting assessments without the prior written consent of the Commission. Due to the LTCA’s financial restraints, it has not been able to maintain the lake.
Now, the recent legislature requiring mandated reserve funds has contributed to disproportionate assessments against the LTCA’s affiliated communities while exempting the Commission. This is completely unacceptable as the Commission own’s a fountain that is a part of the lake and parcels of land that contribute to the stormwater run-off. Moreover, the plans for a new headquarters for the Commission will likely increase its stormwater contributions to the lake. Further, the County has taken two parcels of land but has refused to contribute financially to the upkeep of the areas that run off into the lake, distributing the cost back to county residents. These circumstances require county involvement to ensure that there are adequate funds to maintain the lake in a manner that does not pose a risk to residents and visitors.
Although Prince George’s County is marketing Downtown Largo as a location filled with opportunity, the issue with Lake Largo demonstrates that that opportunity comes with a cost for homeowners. Prince George’s County has a significant interest in addressing the issue affecting the LTCA and its affiliated communities because the issue is rooted in the county-approved plans for Largo Town Center. If county leadership does not get involved to aid in a resolution, there will be a repeat of the economic impacts for the LTCA and its affiliated communities, which are key stakeholders in Downtown Largo. A failure of the County to act will undermine the great plans that the county initiated for Downtown Largo, its residents, and visitors.