Springboro pond levels lowered to reduce risk of ‘catastrophic failure’

The level of a Springboro lake will be dropped two feet while litigation over who should pay for state-ordered work on its “highly hazardous” dam continues in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Magistrate Andrew Hasselbach issued Wednesday an order agreed upon by the Settlers Walks Homeowners Association; MCS Development, owner of the strip center anchored by Dorothy Lane Market; and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“We have made some modifications to the drainage system to allow the water levels overall at the spillway to be reduced by two feet,” said Jason Evans, HOA president.

MCS continues to weigh whether to solve issues with the substandard dam between the shopping center and homes in the Springboro planned community without waiting for resolution of the state lawsuit, lawyer Michael Sandner added Friday.

The lawsuit, filed in August 2019, claims the HOA and MCS failed to take action after multiple state safety inspections. MCS claims it is not responsible.

RELATED: State sues over Springboro dam safety

The dam is located on a large pond off Remick Boulevard and between homes and the shopping center at the entrance to the planned community off Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro.

If the dam failed, the lawsuit claims its spillways would direct floodwater toward a child care center, the strip mall and eight homes located downstream.

“The reduced water level is an interim measure required under a recent agreed partial judgment order that was negotiated between the state and the defendants, and then approved by the court,” Dominic Binkley, spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said via email.

Hasselbach’s order indicates the state, HOA and MCS agreed to lower the lake to “mitigate the risk to human life and structures located downstream” that could otherwise be “impacted in the event of the dam’s catastrophic failure.”

The state ordered the the dam to be improved or breached by totally draining it.

The lawsuit leaves it up to the court to decide who is responsible for the condition of the dam.

The lowered lake level is “partial relief,” according to the order.

A three-day trial is scheduled in November.

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