Friday, June 25, 1999
Berry Corner residents offer compromise
The planning board was on a roll on June 14. It was time to crack the toughest nut of allValchuis versus the residents of Berry Corner Lane. The board previously refused to endorse an Approval Not Required (ANR) plan for a sixth lot on Berry Corner Lane where Michael and David Valchuis wish to build a house on their 13-acre lot.
Berry Corner Lane was not built to modern standards and the board has insisted that the lane be upgraded to common driveway standards before they will approve the ANR. Valchuis is willing to pay for the improvements, but they can only be made with the approval of the residents who own the lane and that has not been forthcoming. Valchuis appealed to land court which refused to grant summary judgment and the case is now scheduled to be tried on July 9, 1999.
A glimmer of hope recently appeared for a possible settlement. The owners are now willing to agree to a less drastic improvement of the lane in order to terminate the pending litigation. They have agreed to accept some upgrading of the lane by adding gravel to the roadway, provided the width of the lane remains as at present. They also agree to the repairing or replacement of culverts, but no additional culverts or proposed drainage system and turnouts. They will not agree to any work that will result in the removal or damage to trees.
Before the board was able to consider this compromise, they received a letter from fire chief Bob Koning against the proposal. Koning said he feels that the lane poses a major access and safety problem for fire emergency vehicles. It is less than 16 feet wide in some sections and so narrow that an emergency vehicle and car cannot pass, let alone two emergency vehicles. Koning also faults the existing drainage system and states, "I personally have seen this road when it was difficult to remain standing because of the extremely icy conditions."
Town counsel Rich Hucksam of Kopelman and Paige approached the head table and litigation filled the air. Chair Bill Tice wisely chose to clear the room and go into executive session. The planning board can't be expected to solve everything in one night, but this meeting was auspicious and even peace on Berry Corner Lane now seems possible. The next board meeting is scheduled for June 28.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito