Lesher Mill Dam removal may be pending

By on June 8, 2016
This picture of the Lesher Mill Dam, with waterfalls running higher than usual following recent heavy rains, doesn’t show the crumbling foundation or erosion at each end of it. Photo courtesy Ken McCrea

This picture of the Lesher Mill Dam, with waterfalls running higher than usual following recent heavy rains, doesn’t show the crumbling foundation or erosion at each end of it. Photo courtesy Ken McCrea

The dilemma over repairing or removing the badly deteriorated Lesher Mill Dam, off Stevens Road in East Cocalico Township is before the township supervisors.

Whatever direction is finally decided, restoration work will include continuing the popular public activity of fishing at this location.

Financial estimates indicate removal of the dam is a better choice for cost, on-going maintenance, and liability than dam restoration.

Supervisors indicated at their Thursday, June 2, meeting an estimate for dam removal, with one caveat about where sediment would be placed, was $57,000. Interim Manager Steve Gabriel indicated, in a phone call after the meeting, that the “rough estimate so supervisors would have some idea about possible costs” was made by Flyway Excavating on Nov. 24, 2015.

A proposal from Rettew Associates engineering was reviewed and supervisors authorized Rettew to proceed with costs for design and allow for removal of the dam. The proposal includes cleaning channels and beds and restoration work for public fishing.

Gabriel reminded supervisors that as soon as a decision is made for repair or removal, the township needs to notify DEP.

In other business, three township commission vacancies were announced. The planning commission has two openings and the recreation board one.

Citizens interested in serving in any of the vacant positions should submit a letter of interest to the township office. Supervisors indicated they anticipate appointments being made at their next meeting on June 16 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.

Included in the above vacancies was the June 2 meeting resignation of Lyndon Engle from the recreation board which was accepted with “deep regret.” Engle cited other commitments which preclude him continuing on the board.

In other business:

* Resident Jeff Mitchell asked during public comment whether supervisors have done any more work regarding a firearms ordinance to protect residents from another accidental shooting like the one that occurred in Reinholds in late February. A 23-year-old nurse, while sitting inside her residence, was seriously wounded by a stray bullet.

Supervisors said there was nothing to announce.

They reiterated the dilemma of an ordinance which could protect one class of people, such as residents, yet infringe on the rights of most hunters/target shooters who exercise safety and caution. Supervisors said they will continue to “wait and watch” what occurs with the legal proceedings for the seven individuals charged in the Reinholds shooting.

* Supervisors continued discussion about how to amend “Local Delivery Only” signs on certain roads which have handicapped some local businesses unintentionally.

While truck restrictions could be put on axles, weight and size, each of these has significant issues. Weight entails purchase of a scale for around $10,000. Axles can get confusing. While leaning toward restricting length on trucks, supervisors say this proposal needs more work since it is possible to have a smaller, yet very heavy truck that would do damage to the roads.

* The Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue organization, located on Vera Cruz Road in Reinholds, received conditional final land development approval for its project. This includes an approximately 5,600-square-foot pole building to house animal events that were formerly held outdoors. A future Phase 2 part of the plan includes a 2,400-square-foot building for office and storage. Total acreage for the DVGRR property is 5.8 acres.

* Officer in Charge Corporal Terry Arment reported 42 total criminal cases in May. Of these, 28 were in East Cocalico and 11 cases were cleared. Denver Borough had 14 criminal cases with 11 cleared.

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