General Information about LAWNA activities and IRS 501c3 declarations
IRS Approval PDF
The Lake Auburn Watershed Neighborhood Association (LAWNA) (the “Corporation”) has focused its activities in four major areas: 20% 1) educating the general public and property owners within the Lake Auburn watershed about water quality concerns, threats, and best practices; 18% 2) the establishment of conservation easements within the Lake Auburn watershed to protect Lake Auburn and the current and future viability of Lake Auburn as a public drinking water source; 43% 3) maintaining and improving recreational trails and easements for responsible, environmentally-friendly use by the general public; and 16% 4) voluntary participation in public planning and processes to promote water quality through education and responsible land use. 3 % Other activites
Although there is some overlap within the aforementioned activities, the Corporation has carried out and continues to carry out the following specific activities within each category:
a. The Corporation provides information and education as a responsible management entity, through face-to-face communication and its website, to landowners within the Lake Auburn watershed in regard to proper operation, maintenance, and repair of their septic systems. The Corporation also provides expertise to said landowners in the repair and replacement of failing septic systems. In providing this service to the landowners and the public, by protecting the public water source from point-source pollution, the Corporation also coordinates free resources from other entities to accomplish the necessary repair and replacement.
b. The Corporation provides educational information through its website, the local school system, and public involvement in regard to soil erosion relating to personal landscaping and other yard-improvement or yard-maintenance projects, and the impact of soil erosion on the watershed and Lake Auburn.
c. The Corporation provides boat tours of Lake Auburn in an effort to educate the participants about various threats to Lake Auburn and the water quality of the Lake.
d. The Corporation provides free screened loam to residents of the watershed to promote conservation and best management practices. The Corporation is working to enhance the provision of educational information to recipients of the loam in regard to conservation and best practices. Erosion Control Mulch is also available!
e. The Corporation provides assistance in monitoring illegal activities on and around Lake Auburn to lessen the burden of public enforcement and to protect the quality of the water.
f. The Corporation is working to form and expand partnerships with other public and private entities, clubs, and associations to provide educational opportunities and promote environmentally responsible land use within the Lake Auburn Watershed by recreational users and land owners.
3) The Corporation has initiated and pursued a conservation program whereby private and public landowners will encumber their land, acre for acre, with perpetual conservation easements. The program will protect against changes in the use of the land that would, in turn, endanger the water quality of Lake Auburn. Another significant aspect of the program is to educate property holders about the environmental concerns and the problems that certain land use changes could create for the Lake and the watershed.
a. The Corporation provides information to the public about the existing mixed-recreational use trails around Lake Auburn and the historic existence and use of those trails.
b. The Corporation provides a safe off-street parking area by which the public can access the trail systems.
c. The Corporation provides voluntary maintenance of the trail systems to promote convenient and safe use by the public, as well as to protect against soil erosion and runoff into Lake Auburn.
d. The Corporation partners with other entities, clubs, and associations to raise awareness of the recreational trails and to educate users about environmentally and ecologically responsible use of the trails. The Corporation plans to utilize these partnerships to apply for and receive grants to maintain and improve the trails to reduce and prevent soil erosion.
e. Through the aforementioned education, maintenance, and the implementation of good-neighbor policies, the Corporation works to preserve public access to these historically significant recreational trails.
a. Through the voluntary involvement of its members, the Corporation has provided assistance to the City of Auburn in its Comprehensive Plan update process by providing information on water quality issues and concerns, as well as providing research and education relative to improved technology for the treatment of septic effluent. The Corporation has also provided voluntary assistance promoting and carrying out a technical study relative to an updated private waste-water and septic ordinance to provide the greatest protection for the watershed and, ultimately, the public water supply.
b. The Corporation has provided funds and volunteers for public beautification through the City of Auburn’s American Flag project.
c. Through its website, its newsletter, and word-of-mouth, the Corporation has provided information to the public about municipal activities, including, but not limited to, the dates and times of Committee and Planning Board meetings open to the public.
The Corporation provides one-on-one services to land owners. The Corporation’s intention is to be a source or clearinghouse of information that is necessary or useful to land owners relative to development, land use, conservation, etc. The Corporation’s intent is to provide existing data and resources and excess to the sources of such data and resources that is either not provided or not readily available through the municipalities and quasi-municipal entities governing the Lake Auburn watershed.
In addition to direct, one-on-one services to land owners, the Corporation makes information available to its membership and the general public through its website, newsletter, and emails. For example, the Corporation has provided information relative to a study of the watershed, including dangers to the water quality and approaches to protect the water quality. The Corporation also monitors and provides information relative Water Quality Reports from Lake Auburn, costs related to or arising from the existing drinking water filtration waiver, as well as advancing technologies related to drinking water filtration and the cost of implementing said technologies and constructing the necessary infrastructure.
Currently there are 234 members and 3 associate members. Dues for associate members is twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per year. In addition to membership, the Corporation maintains an email server to disseminate information about the Lake Auburn watershed to the community that currently has 1845 subscribers. The Corporation has also provided and coordinated a cooperation agreement for the Maine Trails Advisory Committee amongst itself and several other local groups and organizations concerned with public recreation, including the Oakwood Equestrian Center, Perkins Ridge Sno-Travelers, Andy Valley Sno Gypsies, Optimist Club of Lewiston/Auburn, Rainbow Bicycles & Fitness, and the City of Auburn Parks & Recreation Department.
The Lake Auburn Watershed Neighborhood Association (LAWNA) (the “Corporation”) has no lectures, classes, workshops, or seminars scheduled or planned at this time. If the Corporation conducts such activities in the future, it is anticipated that they would be open to the public.
Because Lake Auburn is the public drinking water supply for several municipalities, the Lake water must satisfy certain Federal and State standards due to the existence of a filtration waiver. Accordingly, the City of Auburn, within which Lake Auburn lies, has established limitations relative to activities on and in the Lake, and relative to zoning within the Lake Auburn watershed. There are agency letters on file with the State of Maine Recreational Trail Grant Program and the City of Auburn indicating that the existence and proper use and maintenance of the recreational trails have no adverse effect upon Lake Auburn.
The Corporation does not truly attempt to influence legislation, although it does attempt to raise public awareness and involvement. As stated in 4(c) above, the Corporation does, indirectly, promote public involvement in local legislative processes by advertising the dates and times of meetings. This activity is duplicative of information provided by the City of Auburn, but is presented in different formats and venues. The Corporation’s research and provision of information, as described in 4(a) above, along with the involvement of its members in public processes could indirectly influence legislation depending on how the City of Auburn chooses to use the information and how involved individual members choose to be. To the extent the research and information does influence legislation, it will be due to the content of that research, information, and involvement not due to influence by the Corporation.
The Corporation does not spend any money or dedicate any staff time to influence legislation. As described in the foregoing paragraph, the Corporation’s efforts are directed toward education and preservation of the quality of the public water supply and any legislative impact, if any, is incidental to those efforts.
Pursuant to Maine statute, 33 M.R.S. § 476(2), and the Corporation’s organizational documents, the Corporation is eligible to hold a conservation easement for those landowners who desire to create a conservation easement. Having said that, the Corporation anticipates that the Androscoggin Land Trust or Maine Heritage Land Trust, both of which the Corporation is a member, or a similar land trust will manage and maintain the any conservation easements, as well as provide expertise and guidance on the process
The Corporation does intend to operate a conservation easement program for private landowners and organizations. The conservation easement program is in the planning and developmental stages and, therefore, much of the requested information cannot be known or produced at the date of this submission. The Corporation is happy to provide that information to you as the plans progress and the information becomes available. As a general proposition, the potential conservation easements will serve a “conservation purpose” as defined in the Code section 170(h)(4)(A) and cited in your request dated June 18, 2010, and will provide a public benefit.
There are no business relationships between the Corporation and any officers or directors or financial interests in businesses that do business with the Corporation.
The Corporation is not involved in any litigation or class-action suits and none are planned or anticipated. The Corporation will not fund any individual or private litigation.
The Lake Auburn Watershed Neighborhood Association (LAWNA) (hereinafter the “Corporation”) provides one-on-one services to land owners as follows:
- The Corporation provides septic system inspections and relevant training, maintenance, and/or information to promote and protect public health. For example, the Corporation may inform property owners what they should do if their septic system fails, explain the importance of a properly maintained septic system, and advise the property owner if a system malfunction is evident or suspected. The Corporation provides said inspections upon the request of the property owner or upon researching the age of a residential septic system using publicly available data through the applicable municipality. Samples of materials are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit A;
2. The Corporation utilizes the municipal GIS system to delineate and identify zoning and watershed boundaries as applicable to the land owner. A land owner’s property may fall entirely or only partially within the Lake Auburn Watershed overlay district. By using the municipal mapping resources from Auburn, Minot, Buckfield, and Hebron, the Corporation helps individual property owners understand the limitations on the use of their property with regard to local and specialized zoning. Samples of materials are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit B;
3. The Corporation explains to property owners how conservation easements work and encourage the use of conservation easements and the participation in matching land programs among abutting property owners. The Corporation promotes land stewardship and easements with the Androscoggin Land Trust and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Samples of materials are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit C;
4. The Corporation provides and maintains recreational trails and historical access to Lake Auburn. The Corporation works with land owners to promote said trails and access, and to provide maintenance services to the Perkins Ridge Sno-Travelers whose members maintain a joining network of trails providing access to over thirty (30) miles of multi-use trails in the community. Samples of materials are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit D;
5. The Corporation conducts site visits to help land owners convert impervious or erodible soils to grassy, vegetated, or other Low Impact Development options. To that end, the Corporation also provides free loam and erosion control mulch as needed. Samples of materials are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit E;
6. The Corporation provides information to eligible land owners of potential property tax reduction opportunities and provides guidance on the process of achieving said tax reductions. Samples of materials are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit F; and
7. The Corporation assists land owners with the acquisition of permits required by the special watershed zoning requirements. Samples of materials, including letters and correspondence, are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit G.
The Corporation does not charge a fee for one-on-one services to land owners. The Corporation does charge a $25 annual fee for parking at the maintained trail head for access to the recreational trails and Lake Auburn.
The land owners who receive one-on-one services do receive private benefit for those services, but the general benefit of the Corporation’s services, including the one-on-one services, flows to the general public. As has been stated, Lake Auburn is the public drinking water supply for several communities. The quality and ultimate viability of the drinking water supply is directly tied to land use within the watershed. The public benefits from educating individual land owners about the environmental impact of failed or poorly-performing septic systems and surface water runoff, and how to avoid those environmental impacts. Furthermore, ensuring that private septic systems within the watershed are properly maintained and are functioning properly, as well as converting impervious and erodible soils to vegetated soils, helps avoid environmental deterioration of Lake Auburn and the watershed. The public is also benefitted by the existence and maintenance of recreational trails and will be benefited by conservation easements. Proper maintenance of the recreational trails helps reduce erosion and harmful surface runoff. Recreational trails and conservation easements both contribute to the aesthetic enjoyment of the community at large, and conservation easements will help maintain the water quality of Lake Auburn by limiting development. Finally, educating land owners about the applicable land use limitations and assistance with land use permitting will help ensure that objectives of those limitations are achieved and reduce unknowing land use violations, and, thereby, degradation of the watershed.
The aforementioned activities meet the purposes of section 501(c)(3) by providing instruction to the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community, lessening the public burden, and promoting social welfare.
Please direct any questions with regard to the Corporation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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