Prior to 1992, PG&E owned the land in the Pines Tract (255 acres) and the Williams Resort held the master lease. The Williams Resort informally divided the acreage into 550 residential lots, commercial properties and the road network. The Williams Resort then subleased these informally-divided lots to people who built cabins. The cabins were owned, but were built on subleased land. The subleases were set to expire in 2012, and as the expiration date approached, it was uncertain if PG&E would grant the Williams Resort another master lease. As each day passed, most people believed there was nothing that could be done about it, but Henry “Barney” Bernard was among a small minority of people who believed something could be done.
The Beginning of Bass Lake Homeowners Association
In 1984, Barney formed the Bass Lake Homeowners Association. With a lot of hard work and help from Madera County, the Bass Lake Homeowners Association was able to buy out the Williams Resort in 1989. Negotiations commenced with PG&E where an additional 125 acres were purchased by the Bass Lake Homeowners Association. In 1992 homeowners began receiving deeds to their land and immediately started improving their property.
Following Success Stories of the Association
Property Taxes: In 1994, the County Assessor reassessed all the lots in the Pines Tract, Willow Cove and the Falls Tract. This resulted in retroactive property tax increases for all the lots which had transferred title in 1992. The increase more than doubled the taxes. After one failed attempt to get the County to reverse the reassessment, the Association appealed to the Appellate Court in Fresno. The three-judge appellate court reversed the trial judge, and the tax assessments were rolled back resulting in retroactive tax refunds and significantly lower tax bills.
Lake Level: In 2001, the Bass Lake Homeowners Association was the originating force and a key element in working out an agreement with PG&E and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to modify the historical lake draw-down procedures and timing. This resulted in the lake level being only five feet down from full by Labor Day weekend in 2001. This was a huge improvement over previous years, and the agreement remains today.
We look forward to making new history.