Friday, January 13, 2012

Managed community a lakeside treasure

Residents of Waverly seem to welcome the rules and regulations as much as they do the walking trails and clubhouse.

Jerry Hale

Situated on 130 gently sloping acres fronting four miles of shoreline on the northern shore of the lower Blackwater, Waverly is a community inhabited mostly by full-time residents. With around 90 homes built on its 120 on- and off-water lots, Waverly offers a 26-slip marina, clubhouse, pool, tennis court and more than a mile of shaded walking trails popular with residents, their pooches and their guests.

"Waverly is a very close-knit community," said Jim Hoffman, who bought a lot in 2003 and built a lakefront retirement home in 2010. "You see lots of neighbors out walking and at neighborhood events, and we really enjoy our beautiful surroundings."

As some of Waverly's newest residents, Hoffman and his wife, Jeanne, were promptly recruited to serve on the community's social committee, which planned monthly TGIF parties during the summer, a hoedown dance in mid-October and the annual Christmas social held in early December.

"Helping organize social events is a great way for newcomers to get involved and meet their neighbors," said Debbie Thomas, who served on the social committee in 2007 and 2008. Her husband, Kim, is president of the board of the five-person Waverly Property Owners Association (POA) which manages the community's grounds and amenities.

Through annual dues, POA members contribute to a reserve fund that is earmarked for updating and refurbishing capital items. Recent improvements have included resurfacing of the tennis court, re-roofing of the docks, resurfacing the clubhouse parking area and refurbishing signage throughout the community.

"There are extensive state-level mandates for how neighborhood associations manage their capital reserve accounts," Kim Thomas said. "A state auditor visits us every five years to make sure our procedures comply."

Waverly is a covenant-governed community and every property owner is expected to abide by guidelines established to keep the neighborhood attractive and desirable. Property owners, for example, can't let their landscaping go untended and are precluded from parking RVs or boat trailers in their driveways. Covenants and POA bylaws are included in a packet of community information which real estate agents share with prospective buyers.

"Assurance that the neighborhood will be kept to a high standard is comforting to many buyers," said resident and Realtor Dixie Steele of RE/MAX Lakefront Realty, who has sold a number of Waverly properties over the years and currently has three homes listed. "It makes for an attractive place to live and contributes to the value of every home in the community."

Thomas estimated that Waverly home values typically are $700,000 and up, which is verified by an the average tax assessment for the 88 homes in the development of $748,000, not including the value of the land on which they sit. That average, however, is significantly influenced upward by the cathedral-like residence so evident from the lake near marker B10; it is assessed at more than $3 million, and another 13 homes tax-valued at $1 million-plus, some substantially more.

There are smaller off-water homes assessed in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Lot values run from $82,000 to just over $800,000; the average for 117 dwelling land parcels is approximately $364,000. About 30 lots remain vacant, though a few of those do have docks.

In 1989, George Barrow, who is now 84, and his wife, Phyllis, became the first to select a lot on Island Pointe Lane, the initial offering in Waverly. Coming to SML from the Maryland-Washington, D.C., area, the Barrows lived in nearby Windmere for nearly 10 years but had admired the waterfront of the coves that the new subdivision would face.

While walking one day, Barrow came across Dave Reemsnyder, a neighbor who worked for Snyder Hunt, Waverly's developer. Barrow casually asked how the project was going, learned that lots were about to be released for sale and put down his $1,000 deposit a few hours later.

"We loved Windmere, but have never regretted our decision to build in Waverly," Barrow said. "We have wonderful neighbors and the community has matured in very appealing ways. Over time, much of our social life has shifted toward the friends we've made here. Phyllis loves the Waverly book club. I like the way the community is managed.

"We've considered moving closer to one of our four children [who are in Maryland, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina], but none live anywhere that we think is nearly as nice," he continued. "We'll stay here as long as we're able to take care of the property."

A health-conscious senior citizen who uses twice-weekly golf at The Waterfront and daily walks to stay in shape, Barrow still does most of his own yard work, "except for mulching and cutting the grass, which I now subcontract," he said.

Arguably Waverly's most dedicated user of the paved walking trails is Linda Masengarb who, with seemingly equally enthusiastic 8-year-old chocolate Lab Molly Brown, walks the neighborhood loop most every day.

Another out-and-about regular is Bob Williams, 76, who can be spotted most days riding the community's roads and trails - and even along Scruggs Road to Lake Mart Deli, The Boardwalk and The Landing - on his Segway two-wheeler.

"I used to be a runner †did the New York Marathon 10 times, but then my legs gave out," Williams said. "Now the Segway is my way to get around and see other people."

Many residents use the community's trails for leisurely strolls as well as more vigorous walking and jogging, said resident Doug Pafford.

"The exercise is great, but part of the attraction is meeting and greeting other people," added his wife, Sharon.

The Paffords also took full advantage of the Waverly's clubhouse and marina pavilion when they held a wedding reception for their daughter, Meg, who was married in June of '98.

"It was about the hottest day of the summer," Sharon Pafford said, "but the lakefront setting helped keep everyone's mind off the heat."