North, South Residents to See Higher Fees 

By Maggie Beamguard

Insider Editor

The Seven Lakes Landowners Association, which governs property owners in Seven Lakes North and South, held its annual meeting on March 23.

Three new members were elected to the board by the 552 votes, or 36 percent of eligible voters. Newly seated members Debbie Kelly, Amber Johnson and Jeff Nieter joined current directors Charles McElfresh, Heather Guild, Nanci Keating and Ann Turner.

However, a dues increase of $100, which would have required the affirmation of a majority of property owners, was not approved.

That measure received 630 votes, just 41 percent.

With the failure of the dues increase, SLLA board members regrouped to consider how to fund a $61,000 budget shortfall and a $90,000 contribution to savings to help cover state-mandated dam repairs and road maintenance and repair. 

According to Guild, serving in her third year as board president, the board looked for a fair and reasonable way to cover the needs. 

In a letter to property owners, the board communicated its approach to balancing the budget, which resulted in immediate cuts to amenity operations at the stables, yard debris, pool and annual fireworks. 

Fee increases included raising regular mailbox rental from $10 to $60 as well as slip fees, a non-refundable new construction road use fee and a renter administration fee.

The letter states that “the Board of Directors, as stated in the SLLA by-laws, also has the authority to raise fees as they see reasonable.” 

Guild acknowledged that, with the challenges faced by a community of this size, it is impossible to please everyone.

“The board truly does have people’s best interests at heart. We pay dues too. We do this because we care,” she said. 

“We believe that we live in one of the very nicest communities — and not just in all of the Sandhills or not just in all of Moore County — but in all of the state. It is very special, but we all have to work hard to keep it that way.”

In other business during the annual meeting, a number of accomplishments were highlighted.

Significant improvements were made to infrastructure, including new roofs for the mailhouses, siding for the gatehouses and maintenance building, new paint for the SLLA office building and mailhouse and $100,000 in road improvements. New tennis and pickleball courts approved last year will soon be installed with demolition of the old ones scheduled for the end of April.

The Architectural Review Board reviewed over 125 applications for various projects and oversaw over 30 new homes in phases of starting or completing. 

The Recreation Committee focused on reviewing the Seven Lakes Stables and ensuring functioning in a safe and efficient manner for riders, staff and horses and reinstituted riding lessons.

Lakes and Dams tended the proper drainage of spillways while also preparing the application for the Sequoia Dam Project.The application was submitted for the state in April and will take three to six months for review. 

The board is also requesting assistance from State Sen. Tom McInnis with state funding to help cover costs of the dam upgrade project.

Roughly 20 percent fewer cases made their way to the judicial committee this year.

A new gate system was overseen and installed by the security committee and the Neighborhood Watch continued under the committee’s oversight. 

Finance undertook a full policy review to ensure transparency and proper checks and balances, documenting procedures that were not in formal policies and updating old policies. A full insurance review of over 20 different policies is ongoing.

The board recognized Linda Christy as the 2024 Citizen of the Year. The Citizen of the Year is given to a community member who has made significant contributions to the welfare of the community for over five years. The board also took the opportunity to recognize two other volunteers making significant contributions with fewer years of service. Debbie Kelly and Bruce Layton received honorable mentions for their efforts. 

In the next year, the board will be weighing the service benefits and potential disruption for bringing fiber optic cable to the community. This consideration will include the opportunity for public discussion.

In the week following the annual meeting, McElfresh, who served on the Lakes and Dams committee, resigned for personal reasons. The board will be appointing someone to assume the remaining year of his term. 

Board officers and responsibilities were determined in executive session during the meeting. The members and their roles for the coming year include:

* Heather Guild, president and Facilities Committee;

* Debbie Kelly, vice president and Compliances;

* Amber Johnson, treasurer and Finance Committee;

* Nanci Keating, secretary and Architectural Review Board;

* Jeff Nieter, Security;

* Ann Turner, Recreation and Communication Committee;

Contact Maggie Beamguard at