Lake of the Woods (LOW) is a private, planned residential community of single-family homes located in the northeastern tip of Orange County, Virginia. The main entrance to LOW is on Virginia Route 3, 15 miles west of I-95 and 18 miles east of Virginia Route 29, about halfway between the cities of Fredericksburg and Culpeper. It is approximately 70 miles south of Washington, D.C., 60 miles north of Richmond, and 26 miles northeast of the town of Orange, which is the county seat. Civil War battlefields and other historic sites are in the vicinity.
LOW was developed in 1967 by Virginia Wildlife Clubs, a subsidiary of U.S. Land, Inc., and subsequently bought and developed by Boise Cascade Corporation. The Lake of the Woods Association, Inc. (LOWA) assumed ownership and control in 1972. LOW has since evolved into a community of permanent year-round residents, seasonal residents, and weekenders. A broad range of recreational, cultural, social, community service, and other activities are offered.
The LOW community covers approximately 2,600 acres with 4,260 lots (850 with lake frontage) distributed among 16 sections (many named after well-known southern plantations). The community has more than 41 miles of paved private roads.
As a private, gated community, LOWA provides contract security services 24 hours a day year-round. Lake of the Woods Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Inc., provides round-the-clock fire and medical transport services for LOW and northeastern Orange County, and is based inside LOW.
Lakes and Dams
Lake of the Woods has two lakes—the Main Lake and Keaton’s Lake—two dams, and a front entrance pond. The Main Lake covers 500 acres and is fed by Flat Run and numerous springs. Veterans Memorial Dam, spanning 1,400 feet along the northwest edge of the Main Lake, was built in 1968. This lake has two marinas, seven lake access areas, and eight sand beaches.
Keaton’s Lake, also known as the Fishing Lake, is a 35-acre impoundment, at the northeast corner of the community close to Route 3 created by damming Keaton’s Run. The dam at this lake is known as Keaton’s Run Dam. The lake has one public launch area and one sand beach.
The small entrance pond with a fountain at the front gate serves as a sediment retention basin and provides an excellent location for the annual Children’s Fishing Tournament.
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Founded primarily as a residential and recreational community, LOW offers nearly limitless opportunities for social/recreational activities and programs for members and their families.
These activities include swimming and boating on the two lakes, a USGA golf course with Pro Shop and Fareways Snack Bar, an Equestrian Center, two outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, Campground, a Clubhouse with food service and space for social and community and club events, Community Center with teen/youth and preschool facilities, and numerous parks with ball fields (three youth soccer fields and a lighted baseball/softball field), basketball courts, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, and walking/fitness trails.
Clubs and Activities
There are more than 50 active clubs and organizations at LOW, allowing members with diverse interests and hobbies to pursue them. A total of 13 national organizations have chapters exclusive to LOW (AARP, Lions, etc.).
The Lake of the Woods Association
Every lot owner is a member of the Lake of the Woods Association, Inc. (LOWA), a homeowners’ association governed by Virginia law and a seven member, volunteer Board of Directors (BOD) elected at large from among the LOWA membership. Each lot is entitled to one vote in all elections. The BOD functions very much like a town council, and is charged with the development of an annual budget and policies and strategies responsive to the changing needs of a growing community. Twenty advisory Committees staffed by volunteers from among the membership support the work of the BOD.
Board meetings are held on the first Saturday of every month. Both BOD meetings and Committee meetings are open to all property owners and tenants. An annual BOD election and membership meeting is held on Labor Day.
Covenants, By-laws, and Regulations provide an orderly structure for the proper operation of the Association. LOWA members pay an annual assessment set bythe BOD, which finances the operation and maintenance of all facilities and services, and partially subsidizes amenity operations. As required by the Restrictive Covenants, this assessment must be paid by May 1, the beginning of our fiscal year. Upon payment of the annual assessment, lot owners are issued identification cards, which are needed for registration of vehicles and boats, access to amenities or other use of LOWA property, and entry at the front gate in place of a vehicle barcode.
The General Manager, who reports to the President of the BOD, is employed by LOWA to implement and supervise the overall day-to-day operations and maintenance of LOWA facilities and common grounds. The Association has a paid staff of 90 to 135 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees.
Barcode Information and Policy
Application forms for barcode decals that automatically activate vehicle-control gates at the front and back entrances to LOW are available at the Holcomb Building. To ensure proper placement, a staff member must affix barcodes to vehicles. Activation of barcodes may take up to five business days. Members must present current membership card/tenant card or valid guest pass with the state vehicle registration and a completed barcode application to the Holcomb Building office staff. The name on the membership card must match the name on the vehicle registration and barcode application. If you have more than one vehicle, each must be brought separately.
Property owners or tenants not in good standing (those having unpaid assessment fees or fines) may have their vehicle barcodes deactivated by the Association Office until such fees or fines are discharged. However, barcodes may also be deactivated for other reasons. If you find your barcode is not working, please contact the LOWA Office at 972-2237.
When a vehicle is sold, the barcode must be removed and returned to the LOWA Office. If you cannot remove the barcode, the Association must be notified of its disposition in writing. Any barcode left on a vehicle after sale or disposal is the responsibility of the person to whom the barcode was assigned. Barcode deactivation forms are available at the LOWA Office.
All boats and watercraft used on LOW’s lakes must be registered annually by May 1 and display a current LOWA decal, including sailboats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, and personal watercraft. Launching of “guest” watercraft that does not display a LOWA decal is not permitted.
Members registering a boat must show evidence of having passed the LOW Safe Recreational Lake Users’ Examination, have a current member or tenant ID card, and proof of craft type, ownership, and adequate insurance. All boat registrations are handled at the Holcomb Building.
Powered boats and sailboats over 18 feet operated on our lakes must be titled but are not required to be registered with the state of Virginia unless other use or situations require it. Members are advised to be familiar with registration requirements appropriate to their own situation.
Boat Slips and Vehicle Storage
The Association provides boat slips at the two marinas and maintains a large vehicle storage lot near the main dam where members can store boats, RVs, and trailers year-round. Members may store their boats on their own lots, subject to LOWA regulations regarding appropriate placement and cover materials. A slip assignment can be requested by calling the Association Office, but there is normally a long waiting list. Members are encouraged to make docking arrangements with lakefront residents whenever possible.
Guest Entry Passes and Procedures
Members must call Security to authorize entry of their guests to LOW. The General Manager must clear groups of 25 or more. Members may purchase annual guest passes at minimum cost for immediate family members, who may choose to have a barcode affixed to their vehicles to facilitate entry. The member must renew guest passes every year before May 1 or the guest barcode will be deactivated. Members may also request an extended pass for vendors who provide services on a regular basis (cleaning services, lawn care, etc.). Three-month passes are available for such vendors through Security, and members must renew such passes quarterly or notify Security when services are terminated.
The Association publishes a biweekly newsletter, Lake Currents, which is mailed to all property owners and tenants of record. Lake Currents is the primary vehicle for communication from the BOD, LOWA management, and staff to our members. The newsletter also serves as the primary means of communication for reports from amenity managers, LOWA Committees, and clubs, and features a “Calendar of Events,” which lists meetings, fundraisers, notices, and other services.
Members and tenants may submit articles for publication in Lake Currents that are of general interest to the community. Guidelines for submissions are available from the Communications Office.
The “ViewPoints” section of the newsletter offers members an opportunity to share their views on relevant issues with other members, subject to the ViewPoints guidelines:
The deadline for submissions is the Monday after the biweekly publication date. Submissions should be e-mailed to the Communications Office at lakecurrents@LOWA.org.
Advertising space is available for businesses, club activities, and fundraisers. Charitable organizations receive a discount on advertising. Please contact the Communications Office for more information on advertising rates and requirements.
LOWA Channel 18 is a public service channel provided by Comcast cable television. It disseminates information to LOW residents with the following topics given priority: emergency notices, Association business, monthly reviews of BOD meetings, Orange County Sheriff’s Office reports, and Orange County Board of Supervisors meetings. Other features include club meetings, fundraisers, and special events in our community and local area. Members are encouraged to submit video of local special events or other topics of general interest to residents. Please contact the Communications Office for more information on Channel 18 video guidelines.
LOWA Web Site
The Association web site is a convenient resource for a broad range of member information needs. Posted regularly are Lake Currents, a full year of BOD meeting minutes, up-to-date LOWA Regulations, and other archival documents. Many frequently used LOWA forms are also available. Members will find the web site a good resource for local and government information, current LOWA committee information, and club contact listings.
E-mail notices of back gate closings, unexpected water service interruptions, and other timely announcements as deemed appropriate by the General Manager are sent to residents who sign up for the LOWA blast e-mails. Members can add their names by clicking on the Constant Contact information at the bottom of the front page.
The Information Center is located in the lower level Clubhouse parking lot. The Center houses newspaper vending machines and provides secure display boards for members to advertise the sale of personal and household items, boats, vehicles, and real estate; post information on lost and found pets; offer small business services; or to offer to buy various items or arrange carpools.
Members may submit a 3-inch by 5-inch card per item to be advertised. Photos are acceptable as long as they do not exceed size requirements. Postings must be submitted to the LOWA Receptionist in the Holcomb Building no later than noon on Wednesday. Cards will be posted for four weeks at no cost. Members are asked to put their name, lot, and section number on the back of the card.
Small business may also post business cards or other index-card size ads at a cost of $6 per month. Commercial space is sold on an annual basis. Please contact the Communications Office for details.
Other Communications Services
The Holcomb Building vestibule, open 24 hours a day, contains a drop-box for articles to be submitted to the Orange County Review newspaper, a brochure stand sponsored by the Orange County Department of Tourism, and a slot in the inside door for the convenience of members to drop off items/payments after hours.
LOWA also maintains the Reading Room in the lower level of the Holcomb Building. This room can be accessed during regular business hours, and is the central depository for important Association documents, such as BOD and Committee meeting minutes, Committee Charters, governing documents, and reports from special ad hoc committees and outside consulting firms.
Residents should be aware that major disasters affecting LOW are managed under the legal authority of Orange County and covered by Virginia statutes. However, the LOWA General Manager has the responsibility of directing the emergency plan at LOW in coordination with proper civil authorities.
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Clubhouse Dress Code
Emergency Vehicles Right of Way
When visiting the Clubhouse, please respect and abide by the Dress Code. Sports clothes may be worn in the Grill Room and bar area, while more appropriate dress is recommended for the Club Room and other areas. The manager on duty is responsible for interpretation and enforcement of the Clubhouse Dress Code.
Fires, Firearms and Fireworks
Residents are reminded that when they see an unmarked vehicle with a flashing light moving quickly along our roads, it is one of our Fire and Rescue volunteers responding to an emergency. If you see such a vehicle, please move to the side of the road to alow it to pass as you would any other emergency vehicle.
The outdoor burning of leaves, garbage or household trash is not allowed in LOW. Controlled campfires are allowed at the Campground. Only a law enforcement officer in the performance of his/her duties may discharge a firearm within LOW at any time. Regulations governing the use of fireworks follow those set forth by the laws of Virginia, which prohibit the use of explosives and flammable aerial devices without a special permit (with the exception of sparklers, pinwheels, etc., which are allowed).
The following types of signs may be posted with ECC approval: 1) A regulation 2-inch by 4-inch by 5.5-feet stake with lot and section number and phone number which indicates the property is for sale; no other "For Sale" signs are allowed; 2) Political signs, one per candidate or ballot issue, each of which can be no larger than 4-feet square and not installed on LOWA property, posted no earlier than six weeks prior to election and removed one day following election; and 3) small, inconspicuous security system signs. No yard sale or moving sale signs are permitted.
Members are requested to do their part by keeping the community public areas free of litter. This includes roadways, parks, beaches and the lake. Adequate waste receptacles are provided around LOW for this purpose. Smokers are encouraged to properly dispose of cigarette butts, not along roadways and entrance points, as they are not biodegradable and remain unsightly.
Responsibility for Guests
Pets are not permitted to run at large within LOW, and are not allowed on the public beaches or golf course. Barking dogs are a nuisance and should be reported to Security. Pet owners are reminded they are responsible for keeping LOWA property and their own yards free of pet waste, which if left untended pollutes our lakes, creates unsanitary conditions and presents health hazards.
Residents are responsible for ensuring their guests are familiar with and obey all LOWA rules while visiting the community. This includes awareness of road speed limits, boating and PWC regulations and all rules pertaining to the proper use of the amenities. Members are responsible for any LOWA-related indebtedness incurred by visiting family members and guests.
Sledding and Ice-Skating
Virginia state laws that apply to the use of secondary roads also apply to the use of roads in LOW. This includes laws that apply to pedestrians; title, inspection and licensing of vehicles; operators' licenses; and all laws governing the road use of bicycles, motorcycles, mini-bikes, mopeds and scooters.
Sledding is not allowed on Veterans Memorial Dam or Keaton's Run Dam. Sledding on the dams risks turf damage that could allow water to seep in, resulting in a dam failure. A safe sledding area is available on the right side of Riverdale Lane just past the Main Marina. Because winter temperatures generally do not stay cold long enough to ensure safe ice-skating conditions, ice-skating is not allowed on the lakes or entrance pond.
No soliciting of any kind is permitted in LOW except for the following: Fire and Rescue fund drives, annual White Cane Days sponsored by the Lions Club, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts sales, and casual solicitation by LOW schoolchildren in support of school activities. Should you be approached by anyone solicitng any other sales or service, you are advised to report this activity to Security. A permit to solicit for aproved purposes can be obtained with written permission of the General Manager.
The speed limit in LOW is 25 mph with the exception of some areas, which are marked 15 mph. The speed limit is strictly enforced and violators are ticketed. The fines range from $35 to $50. Please inform any guests of the speed limit. Should a guest or vendor receive a speeding ticket and not pay the fine, the property owner will be responsible.
Walking on the Golf Course
In order to preserve our natural surroundings, residents are prohibited from removing any tree on their property that is more than six inches in diameter without prior permission from the Environmental Control Committee (ECC). unsightly, dead or damaged trees should be removed as soon as possible, also with the permission of ECC. the ECC generally does not approve the removal of a "dead" tree during the winter months (November through March) except where it may pose an obvious hazard.
Use of the golf course is reserved for players only, and recreational walking on the golf course is not allowed at any time. For safety reasons, walking on the cart paths is only permitted when the course is closed to regular play, usually from dusk to early morning.
Wildlife abounds at LOW. Often seen are squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossum, fox, geese, ducks, swans, beaver, turtles and occasionally deer and bear. The feeding of wild or stray animals is prohibited. Trapping or killing of wild animals other than rats, mice and moles are also prohibited. Residents are advised to minimize exposure to any unwelcome guests by keeping trash inside and not leaving food for domestic pets outside that could be a potential food source to attract wild animals. Problems with wild animals that cannot be solved by the homeowner, or the discovery of any sick or injured animal that needs help should be reported to Security.
Enforcement of Covenants and Regulations
The Association employs a Covenants Inspector who ensures consistent application of the LOWA Restrictive Covenants and Regulations throughout the community. The Inspector responds to complaints by property owners, works with owners to resolve violations, and conducts periodic inspections of all residential sections within LOW to ensure member compliance.
The following list offers members an opportunity to perform a self-review of their property relative to some of the most common infractions of our Covenants and Regulations.
All structures and improvements to property on all lots must be approved by ECC, including fences.
Unregistered vehicles must be stored in a completely enclosed garage. Vehicles titled or tagged as a truck are not to be parked overnight on any property without special permission.
Fuel tanks must be screened by shrubs or fencing.
Trash receptacles must not be visible from the street, lake, or golf course, except on collection day.
All lots must be kept in an orderly manner, free of yard equipment, toys, rubbish, dead trees, and/or debris.
RVs are not to be kept on any lot, unless ECC has been notified. They are not to be used as sleeping or living accommodations while on the property.
Boats and/or trailers are to be stored in reasonably inconspicuous locations when on residential property, with covers of muted tones.
Every resident is required to have a street number displayed on the front of the house or at the street property line.
Dog pens on lots must be approved by ECC and conform to LOWA guidelines.
Property owners should review the LOWA Covenants and Regulation documents for a complete list of requirements.
LOWA employs a Director of Environmental Resources who is responsible for ensuring that our lakes remain healthy for humans and wildlife. Because upland streams feed our lakes, and our lakes affect water quality downstream, the water resources management program at LOW is quite comprehensive. Some elements of the program include water quality testing, monitoring and controlling lake water levels, oversight of water resources, maintenance and operation of the dams, installation of fish habitat in the lakes, research on our watershed, along with mapping, consolidating, and compiling historic and current water resources data using the computerized Geographic Information System. Other elements of the program include the hydrographic survey which defines the true volume and capacity of our lakes, lake morphology studies, obtaining concrete land use information (forested, agricultural, and residential areas), statistics on population and road density, and historic land use changes.
LOWA has its own dredging equipment that is used to remove sand, silt, and organic matter from both lakes at storm water fallout sites every three years. Dredging activity maintains a three-foot buffer from all private property structures. Dredging activities are halted during spawning season to avoid interference with fish reproduction. A hydrographic survey was completed in 2003, so lake bottom contours are now known and this information has proven valuable in assessing present and future dredging activities.
The Maintenance Department is the community’s primary resource for repair, replacement, and upkeep of all community-owned and managed properties and facilities. The Director of Facilities Management oversees the staff and has overall responsibility for the maintenance and repair of all buildings (including custodial services), grounds, roads, paved surfaces, rights-of-way and walking/biking trails, lakes, and other real property facilities, including vehicles and installed equipment.
A commercial security services contractor provides security to the LOW community 24 hours a day. The company provides such services as controlling entrance access, enforcing speed limits, providing seasonal boat patrols on both lakes, investigating member complaints, and providing assistance to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies. Members should be aware that the LOWA Security contractor’s primary responsibilities are those assigned to it by the Association as conservators of the peace, and do not include law enforcement or criminal investigations, which are the responsibility of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Monthly security reports are presented to the LOWA Board of Directors and General Manager, published in Lake Currents, and forwarded to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office by the Chief of Security to share information and help monitor trends or changes in community activity.
Neighborhood Watch Program
LOWA has an active Neighborhood Watch (NW) Program consisting of volunteers who perform the duties of NW Coordinator, neighborhood Block Captains and NW Participants. The NW Coordinator reports directly to the LOWA GM and meets weekly with the GM, President of LOWA Board of Directors, Chief of LOWA Security and LOWA Director for Facilities and Maintenance to communicate resident concerns involving security and safety of the community. The NW Coordinator is also responsible for direct coordination with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as well as membership and liaison with the Safety & Security (SSC) and Legal and Compliance (LCC) Committees. The LOWA NW Program is registered with the National Sheriff’s Association. The purpose of the LOWA NW Program is to provide additional eyes and ears within the community to REPORT suspicious activities and supplement LOWA Security, LOWA Management and local law enforcement in crime prevention! Should individuals require more information on the NW Program or wish to sign up as a Participant please contact the LOWA General Manager's Administrative Assistant at 972-2214 or email Jim Hutchison.