and all corrections to the following minutes will be made at the 02/06/03
Board of Selectmen's Meeting and are considered unapproved until then.
Corrections will be noted in the minutes of that meeting.
MINUTES - ROAD DISCONTINUANCE HEARING
JANUARY 23rd, 2003
NEWFANE TOWN OFFICE
Selectmen: Piet van Loon, Jesse Anderson, Gorty Baldwin, Lynn Bedell and
Also Present: Susan Daigneault, Jennifer Kearney, Dennis Landers, Patty
Landers, and Wendy Johnson as abutting property owners, Richard Wilson,
Jr., Edward Druke, Sr., Carleen Pelsue, Merrilyn Van Gelder, Paul D. Van
Gelder, John Spicer, Larry Robinson, Patricia C. Smith as interested citizens,
James O. Gray as Road Foreman, and Doris Knechtel as Administrative Assistant.
The hearing was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Chairman Piet van Loon.
The Legal Notice for the hearing was read by Chairman P. van Loon. The
notice was published in the Brattleboro Reformer, posted at the Town Office,
Newfane Store, Williamsville General Store, South Newfane General Store
& Deli, www.newfanevt.com,
and sent by certified mail to all abutting property owners, interested
and those required by law.
1. SEARS ROAD (TH#44) - Beginning at the intersection with Grimes Hill
Road (TH#5) and proceeding in a southeastly direction for a distance of
0.20 miles to the intersection with Vermont Route 30.
P. van Loon explained that the request to discontinue Sears Road (TH#44)
came from a letter signed by the property owners abutting the highway.
If the highway is discontinued, the three rod road reverts to the abutting
owners or to the owner of record from whose property the road was originally
The Road Foreman, J. Gray submitted a written report, stating the reasons
why he is opposed to the discontinuance of Sears Road (TH#44) from the
town highway system. The report was read by P. van Loon.
The members of the public were asked to speak to the public good, necessity
and convenience of the effect on the general public and the individuals
if this road were to be discontinued as proposed.
M. Van Gelder and P. Van Gelder indicated that vehicles entering Route
30 from Sears Road should not be allowed to make a left hand turn as the
sight distance is limited. They have witnessed three or four accidents
there. If Sears Road is closed, vehicles would have to use Grimes Hill
Road to get to VT Route 30 with the exception of the Johnson and Daigneault
abutting property owners.
J. Spicer spoke of the intersection of Grimes Hill Road with VT Route
30 as being dangerous. There is no breakdown lane coming off of VT Route
30. When entering VT Route 30 it is difficult to see vehicles coming over
the brow of the hill by the Log Cabin Gift Shop. He often uses Sears Road
to enter VT Route 30 rather than Grimes Hill Road.
Susan Daigneault supports the closing of the road. She indicated that
she had asked the Sheriff to observe the vehicles that speed down the
road. The Deputy Sheriff indicated that the road was not posted so he
could not issue a ticket. Children are playing in the yard which is close
to the highway. The speed limit on the road is 30 mph. S. Daigneault feels
that 20 mph is too fast. She would like to see the speed limit changed
to 15 mph. Drivers are not respectful of others. People don't need to
use Sears Road as they have an alternate route to get to VT Route 30.
R. Wilson stressed that he would not like to see the town give up a right-of-way
that is being used. If the problem is speeding, then the speed limit could
be changed and enforced.
J. Kearney indicated that the traffic has changed over the years. People
used to use the road for walking and jogging. Now with the increased speed
of the traffic, it has become too dangerous to walk or jog.
W. Johnson supports the reasons of concern for safety. She also understands
the reasons that the Kearney's desire to discontinue the road as it goes
right through their yard, bisecting their property, leaving little or
no privacy. She also indicated that she is not strongly for or against
the closing of the road. The Johnson's access the road about midway on
the road. They will incur some costs for maintaining the road if it is
discontinued and becomes their driveway.
E. Druke indicated that he didn't think it was an unsafe road. If it does
become a private road, there is still the issue of a left turn onto VT
Route 30 for those who live on the road.
C. Pelsue sympathizes with the issue of the speed, which maybe should
be addressed first. She indicated that the Town Highway crew takes wonderful
care of the roads and she gives a lot of weight to the opinions expressed
by the Road Foreman. Those that acquired property within the last few
years knew the road was there when the land was purchased.
J. Gray indicated that the road could be posted for 25 mph with engineering
studies of traffic use and speeds. There was a study done for eight days
in October which showed 312 vehicles, of which 19 were trucks, that showed
the average speed of 240 vehicles to be between 21 to 30 mph.
L. Bedell stated that the road could be used in an emergency but be closed
to through traffic.
D. Landers does not want to have to incur any costs for the closing of
the road. He also does not want to give up the right to continue to walk
up to Grimes Hill Road should Sears Road is discontinued. Is Mr. Kearney
going to accept the liability of people walking on what would become his
There was discussion about who would be paying for the costs to give an
easement to the Johnson's, who would become landlocked, and other costs
that may be associated with the closing of the road and come to some agreement.
Some indicated that Mr. Kearney had agreed to pay for the costs. The abutting
owners will need to meet as a group to determine that issue.
P. van Loon suggested that the town look into the possibility of lowering
the speed limit and also look into the possibility of making the road
"not a thru way". The Board will not be making a decision at
this meeting as there needs to be an inspection as part of the process
to discontinue a road. A date and time for a site visit will be determined
in the near future.
Motion was made by G. Katz and seconded by J. Anderson to recess the hearing
at 8:09 p.m. until a date to be determined in the near future for the
examination of Sears Road (TH#44). Unanimous.
Doris A. Knechtel,
Newfane Board of Selectmen
Posted: Town Clerk's Office, Newfane Store, Williamsville General Store,
and South Newfane General Store & Deli. www.newfanevt.com
TOWN OF NEWFANE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT
SEARS ROAD CLOSURE HEARING - 01/23/03
1. Sears Road is a through route not a driveway. It is used by town highway
vehicles, mail service, many Grimes Hill Road, Newfane Hill, and Newfane
2. When Depot Road or Grimes Hill Road is closed, Sears Road is used for
a detour to Route 30. It has been used many times in the past during emergencies.
The Grimes Hill Road/Route 30 intersection is dangerous.
3. Drainage relating to Grimes Hill Road should not be changed. During
heavy rains or floods existing drainage is needed. This drainage was reviewed
by Bill Noyes, District 2 Highway Technician, VT Department of Highways
and approved by Bill.
4. I am opposed to the closure of Sears Road for the above reasons. It
is my recommendation that Sears Road remain as it is, a one way through
James O. Gray