Bell County, Texas is the proud home of two beautiful lakes – Belton Lake & Stillhouse Hollow Lake. Together they have almost 200 miles of shoreline. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lakes supply water, aid in flood prevention and offer recreational opportunities to surrounding Central Texas communities – not mention stunning views and landscapes! Many claim these lakes offer some of the best fishing, camping, and boating in the state.
It’s no secret that lakefront property is some of the most highly sought-after real estate in any part of the world. However, with these lakes being managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and serve as the primary water supply for communities as far south as Round Rock, there are some unique considerations for homeowners and potential buyers at Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Lake. The Corps owns much of the adjacent land surrounding the lake and in many cases are the first call of homeowners to gain approval for certain types of projects.
One of the most important considerations that can affect an individual’s use of lakefront property is the flowage easement land. In most cases, this land is privately owned, but the Corps has certain perpetual rights to this land to affectively ensure successful operation of the reservoirs and manage associated flood risk. In certain extreme weather scenarios, it may be necessary for the Corps to flood this land. At Belton Lake the government boundary prohibiting certain use and improvements is what we refer to as the ‘642 line’. This line sits 642 feet above sea level and is the area that would be flooded should the lake overflow. Similarly, the boundary at Stillhouse Hollow Lake sits at 671 feet above sea level and has many of the same restrictions.
Lakefront property owners who find any of their property in the flowage easement need to work closely with the Corps for any of the following reasons: apply for permit to mow or clear underbrush and vegetation, apply for a license to place a waterline over government property to withdraw lake water for private use, to construct a fence to or along the government boundary line or to have unlimited pedestrian access to public land. Property owners are expressly prohibited from constructing or maintain any structure for human habitation – other structures would require written approval of the district engineer.
Many clients interested in lakefront property want to know about access or the ability to construct a dock or other water access improvement on the lake. In almost all cases, as explained above, these lakes may not be your first choice if you require this type of improvement or access. However, both lakes offer several beautiful parks, boat ramps, marinas, and public beaches to enjoy. A short ride to the boat ramp or marina or even an adjacent boat storage facility could be an excellent substitute for a private dock. The agents of the Two Lakes Group – Fathom Realty are skilled in assisting clients navigate some of the unique characteristics of our beautiful lakes. If you or someone you know is searching for lake property in Central Texas, make sure Two Lakes Group is your first stop.
Belton Lake was the result of the damming of the Leon River, which was completed in 1954. Fourteen years later in 1968 the Stillhouse Hollow Lake was formed by damming the Little River.