From swimming pool pumps to dams and sidewalks, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors reviewed a number of maintenance projects during their Monday, March 9 Work Session.


Ramapo Dam Study

On the unanimous recommendation of the Lakes & Dams Committee, the Board moved forward to the Open Meeting a proposal to commission Jewell Engineering — the SLLA's dam engineer — to assess the capacity of the Ramapo Dam spillways, make recommendations for any design changes needed, and provide an assessment of the dam's ability to handle a fifty-year storm. The study is expected to cost $7,000.

The proposed study had generated significant debate during the Board's February 9 Work Session. Former Director and Lakes & Dams Committee member Don Fentzlaff argued that the dam experienced a 100-year rain event in 2013, when more than six inches of rain fell in less than five hours. Despite the fact that the primary spillway was not functioning at the time, the existing emergency spillways handled the overflow with no problems.

When President Bob Racine raised that point during the March 9 Work Session, Community Manager Ray Sohl argued that thunderstorms are highly localized, so it is not clear what volume of rain actually fell in the Lake Ramapo drainage area during that particular storm.

The NC Dam Safety Office, which is charged with inspecting dams throughout the state, classifies Ramapo as a low-hazard dam — one which, if it failed, would cause no more than $30,000 in property damage or interrupt the travel of no more than 25 vehicles per day.

That means repairs and modifications to the dam do not require state approval — and state approval was not obtained for repairs to the primary Ramapo spillway undertaken in late 2013, when the Association spent approximately $10,000 to install a siphon system to replace the collapsed metal pipe that had previously served as the dam's primary outlet.

"Though state approval is not required," Sohl said, "the Assocaition still has the responsibility to ensure that the dam is maintained according to engineering standards."

"We as board members are elected to act in the welfare of the people on this community," Director Chuck Leach said, supporting Sohl's point.

"There are thirty houses around that dam. We have two engineering firms recommending this study. Should that dam fail, there is a chance of a loss of property values. We recommended spending $4,000 to repair a lighthouse that does nothing. I totally support this proposal."

Ultimately, the Board voted unanimously to send the proposal to the Open Meeting for a vote. Racine noted that he felt is should be moved to the Open Meeting, but was not sure whether he would ultimately vote in favor of the proposal.


Pool Pump Replacement

"We have had this before several committees," Sohl said of a proposal to replace the aging pump at the Northside pool, "but the delays have saved us money."

The Work Session agenda included a $15,000 proposal that included a new pump, replacing two valves, rewiring the pump house, and running a new electrical line from the North Clubhouse transformer to the pump house.

But Sohl withdrew that proposal, telling the Board he expected to provide them with three separate bids at their April Work Session.

Sohl said one option is to use a variable frequency drive for the pump, which will save on electricity in the off season.

Racine asked whether the delay in settling on an approach and vendor would result in pool closures during the swim season. Sohl said the new vales and pumps could be installed in parallel with the existing equipment, allowing for a quick changeover, likely resulting in no more than one day's closure of the pool.

In other pool-related action, the Board forwarded to the Open Meeting a proposal to purchase a portable pool vacuum system at a cost not to exceed $1,500.

Sohl explained that the existing vacuum system is difficult to operate and inefficient. The new system is one recommended by SLLA's pool maintenance company.


Repairs planned for Landowners Office walkway

The Board asked Sohl to solicit additional bids on a $4,824 proposal to rehabilitate the walkway and landing at the entrance to the SLLA Landowners Office. The Manager had recommended a local contractor who recently handled the installation of the new bocce courts and had previously constructed the traffic island at the North mailhouse parking lot.

SLLA Board policy is to seek competitive bids for projects valued at more than $5,000.

Noting that the walkway and landing repairs came in just under that cutoff — and did not include the possible replacement of a handrail, which would increase the overall cost of the project — Director Steve Ritter asked whether it would be wise to solicit competitive bids.

Other Board Members agreed, and unanimously approved a motion asking Sohl to obtain at least three competitive bids on the project.


Other Business

In other business during the Monday, March 9, SLLA Work Session the Board of Directors forwarded to the Wednesday, March 18 Open Meeting for approval:

• Authorization for the Sandhills Sandsharks to organize Open Water Swim events on Lake Echo in June and September.

• A policy for the removal of abandoned boats and trailers unanimously recommended by the Lakes & Dams Committee.

• A policy for testing SLLA Lakes for the presences of e. coli, also unanimously recommended by the Lakes and Dams Committee. Manager Sohl explained that SLLA staff would collect samples to be tested by an outside laboratory at a cost of $1,350 for the Summer season.


In addition, the Directors agreed to meet at 2:30 pm on Sunday, March 22, just before the Annual Meeting, in order to vote proxies that landowners had assigned to the Board.

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