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Deadline to clear Shelley, Bashore islands now 2020

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 11/6/19

York Haven Power Co. now has until July 31, 2020 to remove all of the structures from Shelley and Bashore islands.

The Londonderry Township Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to grant an …

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Deadline to clear Shelley, Bashore islands now 2020

Posted

York Haven Power Co. now has until July 31, 2020 to remove all of the structures from Shelley and Bashore islands.

The Londonderry Township Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to grant an extension from the original Oct. 31, 2019 deadline to the company during its meeting Monday.

Recreational lot tenants on Bashore Island and the northern portion of Shelley Island lost their recreational lot leases due to a compliance agreement between the township and island owners York Haven Power Co. that was signed by both parties in April 2016.

Shelley and Bashore structures do not comply with the township’s floodplain ordinance. A Federal Emergency Management Agency inspection following Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 resulted in the threat of a loss of government-backed flood insurance if the township didn’t bring the island buildings into compliance.

York Haven has since been acquired by Cube Hydro Partners.

Island tenants, some who had used their lots for generations, had asked for the opportunity to bring their cabins into compliance but were denied.

Under the agreement, by the end of the 2017 recreation season, all recreational lot licenses were to be terminated. The power company was to require the licensees to remove their personal property, demolish and remove structures, and return their lots to “their original unimproved and unoccupied condition,” the agreement said.

“If you will recall, back when the compliance agreement was entered, one of the key provisions was that York Haven Power, if the licensees did not remove their structures, would then come in and remove the structures,” said township solicitor Jim Diamond.

The compliance agreement notes that the power company’s removal plan could take one or two construction seasons because of variables such as the river flow, soil and road conditions on the islands, how many cabins were on the islands, the ability and capacity of the vessels, contractor availability and any legal proceedings.

Diamond said the township has been told that the majority of the structures on Shelley Island have been demolished and removed.

“FEMA is very pleased with the progress,” he said.

Diamond said the township was alerted a few months ago that the company likely would look for an extension. He said that as the company was removing the structures, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection temporarily halted the project because it wanted to analyze if asbestos was present.

Asbestos was found and had to be abated. That delayed the project, but now it’s back into “full demo mode,” Diamond said.

Amending the deadline to July 31 was taken to FEMA, and Diamond said the agency “wholeheartedly” agreed.

“They actually reported to me last week that if they get really lucky with weather they may actually have all of Shelley cleared this season. Although, there’s the possibility it’s going to spill into next season. They haven’t gotten to Bashore yet. That would be done next spring,” Diamond said.

When FEMA conducted an audit, it was determined that Londonderry failed to “properly administer and enforce its flood plain management regulations,” the compliance agreement said. The township was to particularly enforce properties over the past 20 years that had been constructed, improved or damaged without proper permits or “adherence to flood plain standards.”

If Londonderry didn’t enforce the regulations, the township would be suspended from the National Flood Insurance Program by FEMA, the compliance agreement said.