The Gordon Lakes dam has passed a New Jersy DEP inspection, officals said.
don webb photo
BY ANN GENADER WEST MILFORD – People living in the Gordon Lakes community do not need to worry about their lake dam failing, according to state officials. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Dam Safety recently advised Township of West Milford officials, and its various municipal boards, that the larger lake dam, rebuilt about 15 years ago at the lower end of Otterhole Road, has been inspected and was found to be in satisfactory condition. The report dated Jan. 23 said that the routine dam maintenance that was recommended by the division could be undertaken without further approval from the state. The lower dam was reconstructed after the DEP Dam Safety Division labeled it as a "Class One High Hazard Dam" in 2002, and recommended that there be repairs. Gordon Lakes is one of the second home summer residences that sprung up throughout the township in the 1920s and 30s. The lakes remained in the care of the Stanley Gordon Hunt family, developers of the community, for three generations. In December 2000, township officials determined that someone named Anthony Carino, who did not appear to be around anymore, then owned the lake. Former Township Attorney Martin Murphy, at that time, hired an investigator to locate Carino. A nationwide search found 25 people using that name, and those contacted denied owning the lake in New Jersey. An attempt to reach one person, believed to be the owner of the lake by some people, lived in Colorado. Attempts to contact this Carino by mail failed with township letters to him returned by the US postal service. The cost of the improvement was estimated in 2003 at $800,000. In March of 2002, the Township Council authorized an agreement between the municipality and the Gordon Lakes Property Owners Association that said the township would foreclose on the property and take title to the dam and then convey ownership to the Gordon Lakes Property Owners Association. The association, according to the agreement, would bear responsibility for the dam assessment and taxes. The property owners agreed to repay the cost over a period of years through an assessment added to their tax bills.