The promise of the season ahead is already formed as the days begin to lengthen again and the winter solstice is left behind.

An unusually warm and very wet start to winter will likely mean a long period in February or March (or even earlier) when LPA streets will need to be limited to loads less than five tons in weight. Wet soils usually produce conditions that result in serious road damage without the prohibition by weight. So, as you plan projects and deliveries for later in the winter, keep these in mind.

Safety and Security is always a concern at any time of year. The absence of occupancy of around half of Lake Panorama residences in winter means homes that are more susceptible to issues. Although it has been years since a few brazen individuals broke into homes in broad winter daylight to take furniture, high end technologies and other treasures, it is always a good idea to have someone you trust keep an eye on your uninhabited residence. If you don’t have a neighbor or security system to keep watch, the LPA Security department provides a twice weekly service that can check home temperature (to watch for furnace failure and avoid pipe freeze-up) and/or check doors and windows to insure no unwarranted activity has taken place. Call the LPA office at (641) 755-2301 for details of the service. LPA Security routinely patrols all streets in the development.

ICE–As of the first of winter, little ice has formed on the lake.  Ice is always a safety issue at Lake Panorama because of variable weather and variable ice quality. The LPA recommends staying completely off of ice unless there is at least four inches of clear (not cloudy in appearance) ice to support human weight. Be sure you know ice conditions can vary from place to place. areas with river current can have much less ice than quiet coves and undisturbed open areas. An example–during an exceptionally cold snap, 17 inches of ice was measured near Boulder Beach and on the same day, near the upper end of the lake where river current was active, less than three inches was present. Another reason ice can be dangerous is due to wildlife. The resident Canada goose population can keep areas of the lake open despite extremely cold temperatures. Even in arctic conditions there can be open water. Snowmobiles should only be operated on the ice by experienced operators who know and understand Iowa ice variability, especially after light snows which can mask areas of very thin ice as falsely appearing as solid and safe.

LPA members should keep all the materials in the annual statement sent out in mid-December.  The 2016 member update is a good reference for updates and resources. The boat permit applications remind boaters that 2016 will require their vessels to have renewals on the Iowa DNR registrations and copies of those renewal registrations are needed before the LPA will send out any boat stickers for 2016. By regulation, your assessments must be paid (or arranged to be paid by EFT) and the boat permit applications completed, in addition to the updated DNR copies, prior to any permits being sent or picked up.

CHANGES for 2016 are fairly minimal. Plan ahead for projects at your property. Building or land disturbing permits are likely to be required. Owners must sign all permit applications (signatures can be obtained and sent via fax and email).