Rensselaerville board agrees to begin inspection of Lake Myosotis dam

Enterprise file photo — Marcello Iaia

Lake Myosotis drains into a system to supply the town of Rensselaerville with water. A dam that is part of that system will be inspected and possibly repaired.

RENSSELAERVILLE — Water from Lake Myosotis in the privately-owned Edward Niles Huyck Preserve drains into a system to supply the hamlet of Rensselaerville with water. The dam that is central to that water system has been suspected of leaking since mid-winter.

The Rensselaerville Town Board agreed this month to go ahead with a contract to repair the dam.

On May 8, town board members met with representatives of the engineering firm Weston & Sampson to discuss their options for inspecting and repairing the dam, said Supervisor Steve Pfleging at the May 10 town board meeting.

Councilwoman Marion Cooke lamented that representatives from the Huyck Preserve had not attended the meeting. The town’s attorney, Thomas Fallati said the town would not necessarily need their involvement.

Stone has settled behind the gatehouse as well as above on an old road, Pfleging said; one of the causes could be old tree roots decaying. The outlet pipe, gravel, and stone wall must be inspected, he said, noting that images of the pipe show it is submerged when it should not be.

To inspect and repair the dam, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation must first be notified before the engineering firm begins its investigation, which would include inspections by closed-circuit television feed and an inspection by a diver, said Pfleging. A summary would be provided with findings and repair notifications.

Sending a notification letter to DEC would cost $1,000; an inspection by closed-circuit television would cost $8,600; an “evaluation technical memorandum,” or the findings, would cost $2,800, said Pfleging. If needed, piezometers, which measure pressure, would cost $12,400, and a survey would cost $1,000.

The supervisor suggested that, initially, the town proceed only with the required notification to DEC and the inspection, and the findings be carried out.

Pfleging said that Councilman John Dolce, who was not present at the town board meeting, had previously questioned if a survey of the dam wall is needed.

Councilman Jason Rauf said that at least the first two steps of notifying DEC and conducting an inspection should be carried out. Fallati later noted that the scope given for the services states that items like the piezometers would only be charged to the town if they were required, and suggested changing the document to state “if required” and “upon approval of the town,” along with other changes.

All four board members present agreed to have Pfleging sign the contract, with the agreement contingent on the company agreeing to the Fallati’s changes.

Sidewalks in Preston Hollow

Walkability has been a concern of residents of the Preston Hollow hamlet for years. While this was mainly about speeding in the 40-mile-per-hour zone, it led the town to look into repairing the sidewalks in the hamlet.

Last September, Highway Superintendent Randall Bates went over the rules and regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for sidewalks and what the highway department could do to repair sidewalks in the hamlet.

Pfleging said at the May meeting that he and other board members had recently inspected the sidewalks in Preston Hollow with Bates and found it dangerous.

Bates outlined a $10,000 plan for the town’s highway crew to re-do 2,000 feet of sidewalk that stretches from the firehouse to the church in a five-foot-wide space. A milling machine rented by the town would grind up the current sidewalk with asphalt paved over. Tactile mats at crosswalks for the blind would also be installed. The project could be completed in late summer over about a week, Bates said.

The curb appears to have shrunk, he said, because paving raised the road to meet the curb, making the sidewalk unsafe to walk on.

The board voted unanimously for the highway department to repair the sidewalks with an amount not to exceed $12,000; the board intends to fund this with money awarded from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Other business

In addition, the board also:

— Set a public hearing for June 14 at 6:45 p.m. for Local Law 3, which would allow the highway superintendent to set temporary weight limits on roads. Some board members were concerned about vehicles transporting utilities or supplies to homes, for which Fallati said permits would be needed;

— Extended until June 12 the deadline for residents to submit letters of interest to serve on a solar energy committee because only two letters had been submitted; and

— Accepted the resignation of alternate planning board member Thomas Crop and planning and zoning board secretary Tracy Ricci.

More Hilltowns News

  • The Rensselaerville Post Office is expected to move to another location within the 12147 ZIP code, according to a United States Postal Service flier, and the public is invited to submit comments on the proposal by mail. 

  • Anthony Esposito, who lost his house along State Route 145 in Rensselaerville when an SUV crashed into it, setting it on fire, said he had made several requests for guide rails because he had long been concerned about cars coming off the road. The New York State Department of Transportation said that it has no record of any requests.

  • A Spectrum employee was killed in Berne in what the company’s regional vice president of communications called a “tragic accident” while the employee was working on a line early in the morning. 

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