Friday, August 27, 1999
Planning board wants no more town services for private drives
During the lengthy discussions on the Berry Corner Lane litigation, it was brought to the planning board's attention that the town is presently providing snow plowing services to this private lane. Statements made during these discussions also revealed that Berry Corner Lane may not be the only private way in town that is currently being plowed by the department of public works. In a letter to chair of the board of selectmen Doug Stevenson, the planning board is recommending that the selectmen direct the DPW to stop providing this service for all private ways immediately.
In addition, the board requests that the school department review its policy for school bus service related to private streets and cul-de-sacs. The letter cites many safety and service issues associated with private roadways, such as accessibility of emergency vehicles and school buses and maintainance of the roadwayincluding plowing snow.
Why is the planning board initiating this request? As developers come before the board to propose a private roadway, they sometimes argue that the street is to remain private and that the board should not require the same standards as might be required in a public way. Developers naturally prefer to reduce costs by providing less infrastructure. They say that while it's important to ensure that emergency vehicles can get in and out, there is no reason to worry about the DPW's maintenance or school bus access since it's a private way. As the board explained in the letter, when the town then proceeds to plow and maintain such a street, it results in an inequitable development process and inequitable use of town funds. It may also lead to a potential town liability for failure to adequately maintain these roadways after establishing a course of conduct.
The selectmen will need to hold a public hearing before any restrictions on the plowing and maintenance of private roadways are initiated.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito