MINUTES OF SITE VISIT
SEPTEMBER 24, 2008
PARISH HILL ROAD/DEER HILL ROAD
Selectboard: Joe Mandell, Guy Wachtel, Gary Katz, Piet van Loon
Also Present: Todd Lawley, Shannon Meckle, Barbara Reeves, Sally Callopy
& Steve Jerome of Vermont Local Roads
The site visit was called to order at 2:04 p.m. by Gary Katz.
The purpose of the meeting/site visit was to look at run off issues
affecting a landowner’s property.
A majority of the water was coming from the road, according to Steve
Jerome. The road was described as a 3 rod, Class 3 road. Deer Hill Road
was described as being a traveled way for 200+ years.
The drainage was also described as being a couple hundred years old.
The culverts were established since before the Road Foreman started
for the town.
There was discussion regarding the policy on Access Permits. The town
does require an access permit for each driveway installed.
Some scouring was noted at the end of the culvert, being approximated
at 3-4 storms. The culverts were noted to be 18” plastic, being
the town’s standard.
The trench at the top of the landowners’ property was noted,
and had existed prior to the Road Foreman’s time with the town,
longer than 15 years.
It was noted that the house is approximately 80 years old, by the landowner.
She noted having lived in the house for 2 years.
Vermont Local Roads stated that they would review the area, then follow
up and make recommendations to the board. They would cite state laws
and court cases.
Todd explained that he’d previously agreed to put a berm back
on the road to divert the water down under the guardrail instead of
down their bank. During the discussion it was also suggested, as a possible
option to replace the existing culvert with a new one, at a 45 ? angle
to divert the water away from the corner of the house.
Vermont Local Roads stated that they recommend keeping the natural
evolution and stream of water as much as possible, and that they do
not recommend changing culverts.
Steve Jerome noted that legal established drainage is defined as drainage
that has existed for 15 years or more; he also stated that to change
established drainage would create a liability for the town.
As to the berm, Steve Jerome stated that they are not generally encouraged
because they concentrate the water on the road, and that’s the
biggest complaint they receive.
It was noted that vegetation could be used to possibly filter some
of the water.
At this time, board members, Vermont Local Roads reps, and the property
owner entered the property to inspect damage claimed.
Property owner, Barbara Reeves stated that she believed the gravel
from the road had buried her well cap.
Steve Jerome stated that looking at the damage; the town didn’t
do anything to cause it.
Property owner also stated that water keeps shooting out, rotting the
sills of the house.
Steve Jerome stated that he saw no evidence that in the past, the water
went anywhere else, but where it is currently going. He noted that this
is something that’s been happening over many years.
Gary Katz, Selectboard chair, noted two stumps on the hill.
Steve Jerome and Sally Callopy recommended the Better Backroads Manual
and Paul Gillies’ Right of Water as resources for this type of
Sally reiterated that the natural evolution of the water remains the
key. Piet van Loon and Todd noted that in their time with the Town,
they had not seen this water course change.
Steve Jerome reiterated that Vermont Local Roads would be submitting
a report with solid recommendations.
Gary Katz asked if there would be recommendations for the homeowner
as well as the town, to which Steve answered that the Vermont Local
Roads program prefers to keep their recommendations for the roads.
Barbara Reeves stated that the drainage washes out the whole driveway,
and they’ve had to divert the water with shovels.
It was noted that the house is in a rough spot where drainage is concerned,
due to the fact that it’s at the bottom of a hillside.
Property owner, Barbara Reeves questioned who the town attorney was;
to which Gary replied that the town does not have a specific attorney,
and noted that any correspondence should be directed to the Selectboard.
Steve Jerome noted that they’d probably be able to have something
to the board by the middle or end of the following week.
The property owner, Barbara Reeves asked for clarification of the town’s
position, that they can put water wherever they want.
Gary Katz stated that the road had been in place for a very long time,
and that the town has done nothing to change it. Todd had stated that
they’d be willing to put a berm in, however Vermont Local Roads
cautions that by doing such, the town opens itself up to liability by
changing any drainage.
Property owner, Barbara Reeves wondered if the town needs to maintain
the area beneath the culvert that is on her property, stating that it
floods her house. Also, noted that in her opinion, the dropping of the
plow has changed drainage.
A motion was made by Guy Wachtel to enter Executive Session at 2:45
p.m. and seconded by Piet van Loon. The motion passed 3-1. Gary Katz
recused himself. The Administrative Assistant was present for the Executive
A motion was made by Guy Wachtel to come out of Executive Session at
2:58 p.m. and seconded by Joe Mandell. The motion passed 3-1.
A motion was made by Guy Wachtel to authorize Piet van Loon to communicate
with Elana Baron to get a report to the Selectboard as soon as possible.
The motion was seconded by Joe Mandell. The motion carried 3-1.
A motion was made by Guy Wachtel to adjourn at 3:00 p.m. The motion
was seconded by Joe Mandell. The vote was unanimous.
Posted: Town Clerk's Office, Newfane Store, W.W. Building Supply,
S. Newfane/Williamsville Post Office and the South Newfane General Store
& Deli. www.newfanevt.com (after approval)