Friday, September 21, 2001
Planning board still unwilling to bless Tall Pines roads Stone walls and pillars in right-of-way called potential hazards
"It seems to me that the board of selectmen has asked you to confirm whether [Hutchins Road] has been constructed correctly," David Freedman of Hutchins Road commented at the September 10 planning board meeting. Freedman was noting the board's reluctance to take any action on the request by the selectmen to accept the Tall Pines roadways.
Subdivision roadways must be approved as public town roads by Town Meeting vote. In preparing to draft an article, the selectmen have requested in a letter that the planning board determine whether Hutchins Road, Kimball Road and Barnes Place were constructed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the planning board."
The concern of the board is that five or so structures have been built in the right-of-way of Hutchins and Kimball Roads. The structures run the gamut from granite mailbox posts to stone pillars to extensive stone walls.
Following a discussion, chairman Michael Abend polled the board. All were unwilling to recommend acceptance of the roadway. They referred to a November, 2000 memo from George Mansfield describing the structures as "potential hazards to public safety."
Board member Michael Epstein outlined possible remedies stating that liability for the town is his largest concern. He proposed that the town require the Tall Pines' homeowners to indemnify the town against any liability for the "potential hazards to public safety" prior to roadway acceptance.
Member Dan Holzman countered, "the issue is not liability; rather the issue is whether you have been delivered a clean house" and that "the town is under no obligation to accept the structures."
Freedman reminded the board that the Tall Pines subdivision was approved under different rules and regulations than those that govern today. There was never a requirement for a final plan; such a plan would have identified this problem. The board formally released the covenants for Tall Pines this spring, thereby acknowledging that the ways are completed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the board, as they are required to do under the state Subdivision Control Law.
Abend closed discussion with a suggestion that the homeowners make accommodations to plow the road this winter and that the board would defer action on this request to their next meeting.
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