Property Management Lake Kahola Kansas

Lake Kahola is a relatively small, man-made reservoir located in the Flint Hills of east-central Kansas (Fig. 18-14). It was built in the 1930s as a water-supply lake for the nearby city of Emporia, and the lake surroundings were developed as a park with recreational cabins and homes. The building lots were leased from the city under a long-term arrangement with the Kahola Park Cabin Owners Association. Early in the twenty-first century, however, the city began the complex legal process of selling the land to the Cabin Owners Association. This sale was completed in 2007, when the renamed Kahola Homeowners Association (KHA) took ownership of the lake and surrounding property.

Over the years, development of cabin sites at Lake Kahola had proceeded in a somewhat piecemeal manner, which was aggravated by the lack of original survey markers. The existing plat of lease lots was a schematic blueprint chart of unknown age, which was not a legally valid survey (Fig. 18-15). This problem had become exacerbated in recent years by the construction of increasingly large recreational homes and numerous garages, boat-houses, docks, and other structures. Two issues were of primary concern: (1) wise management for future development, and (2) arbitration of disputes between adjacent lot owners. In such densely developed situations, a few inches

FIGURE 18-15 Portion of existing property chart for northeastern part of Lake Kahola, Kansas. Size and shape of building lots are idealized and do not correspond to actual lot dimensions. Adapted from a blueprint of unknown age (Aber and Aber, 2003, fig. 2).

(cm) are sometimes critical for accurate planning and construction purposes.

Recognizing these issues, the Cabin Owners Association began an effort in 2000 to place permanent survey markers at the corners of all building lots in the park. To supplement the ground-based survey markers and lot measurements, large-scale airphotos were selected as the tool for documenting lakeshore development and lot boundaries. Vertical KAP was conducted during the winter, leaf-off period in order to obtain views with minimal obstruction from trees (Aber and Aber, 2003). This approach proved to be the most cost-effective means to acquire imagery with sufficiently high spatial resolution for property management applications at Lake Kahola.

Conducting vertical photography around an irregular shoreline proved challenging, especially in regard to numerous power lines, roads, fences, and trees in vicinity of the buildings. The kite flyer and camera operator were usually out of visual sight of each other and had to communicate via personal radios to keep the camera on target. Because each section of the shore could be photographed only with certain wind direction, multiple field sessions were necessary. Furthermore, images had to be acquired without snow cover, so that survey markers could be located. These requirements limited the number of suitable days in which fieldwork could be conducted. Collection of kite aerial photographs spanned a total of four months in 2002 (January-March, December) in order to complete all building sites around the lake perimeter.

Lot boundary markers were identified with additional ground survey, and these markers were annotated on the images as well (Fig. 18-16). Relating ground survey markers to the airphotos was straightforward in most cases, except where long winter shadows fell across features in the images. Individual images are arranged in sequence to provide complete coverage of all buildings and lot boundaries around the lake, and sets of overlapping images were mosaicked together. However, the ground survey markers were not georeferenced, so a controlled mosaic could not be produced. Nonetheless, approximate spatial dimensions of images could be calculated, based on field measurements of selected ground objects (Fig. 18-17).

The images were assembled in web page format on a compact disk (CD), so that users can easily select images for visual display or paper printout. The KHA is able to access the images quickly to evaluate architectural plans, building permits, and property changes. The images in this database could be updated periodically to add new annotation as needed, for example, locations of water wells, propane tanks, and sanitary holding tanks. Already in the short time since the airphotos were acquired in 2002, many changes have appeared in connection with construction of new houses, retaining walls, parking areas, sheds, garages, decks, etc. This trend accelerated after the KHA acquired private ownership of the lake in 2007. New SFAP may be necessary by 2012 to reflect property changes around Lake Kahola.

FIGURE 18-16 Vertical kite aerial photograph showing a portion of northeastern Lake Kahola, February 2002. The image is annotated with lot numbers and survey markers (red). Features as small as 15 cm, the size of survey markers, can be identified in the original image. Note long tree shadows. North toward top; compare with right side of chart in Figure 18-15. Adapted from Aber and Aber (2003, fig. 3).

FIGURE 18-16 Vertical kite aerial photograph showing a portion of northeastern Lake Kahola, February 2002. The image is annotated with lot numbers and survey markers (red). Features as small as 15 cm, the size of survey markers, can be identified in the original image. Note long tree shadows. North toward top; compare with right side of chart in Figure 18-15. Adapted from Aber and Aber (2003, fig. 3).

FIGURE 18-17 Mosaic assembled from two images using D Joiner software showing a portion of northeastern Lake Kahola, February 2002. Scale bar applied on the basis of ground measurements. North toward top; compare with upper-right portion of chart in Figure 18-15.
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