Off Prescott Street Residents Divided on Accepting Road as Public Way
Selectmen voted to postpone an article slated for Spring Town Meeting warrant regarding acceptance of Off Prescott Street as a public roadway following their public hearing. The decision to remove the article was based, in part, on division among residents of the street and the need for more detailed information on the actual status of the road.
Resident Nancy Woodle said it was her desire to have Off Prescott Street accepted as a town road, and that the residents there would be treated like others on the lake with safe access to their homes.
Off Prescott Street resident James Judge advised the Board that there is a plan for the area, entitled Groton Acres, that shows eight cabins on a private way. He wants the road to remain a private way, and does not want any development in the area. He noted that Grotonwood already has three lots there. He was joined by resident Chris Morin who said that the road is maintained and that he wants it to remain a private way as well.
According to a memo from Attorney Bob Collins, Off Prescott Street meanders over property owned by the American Baptist Church and the Grotonwood Camp. He stressed, "The acceptance of the road would not open up vast tracts of land" to development.
Judge told Selectmen that DPW stopped maintaining the road in 2002, but resident Dr. Jill McCaffrey countered that the deed to the house she purchased there in 1985 is on a town road and that the road has been plowed ever since, "thanks to Tom Delaney. "
DPW Director Delaney told the Board that he is the one who plows Off Prescott Street and stressed that a decision needs to be made as to whether this is, in fact, a public or private road. There are seven residences there and then a dirt road. He said he wanted to get Grotonwood to work on this also.
American Baptist Church representative Richard Wolfe advised the board that he is trying to figure out the real estate and the road. He acknowledged that Grotonwood stopped plowing because they did not have the heavy equipment and the maintenance they did was a temporary measure. "If we do any development, it will not be there," Wolfe said, adding that he would be willing to share expenses for the maintenance of the road.
According to Town Manager Mark Haddad, a plan of the area has been laid out by engineer Stan Dillis. Selectman Josh Degen said he felt it was clear on the deeds that this is a private way and suggested that Grotonwood Camp might consider a Conservation Restriction to ensure that there is no development on the land on either side of the street before he would consider supporting this as a public way. He suggested negotiating with the American Baptist Church and Grotonwood camp and bringing a decision to Fall Town Meeting.
Haddad advised that there are two steps to resolution; one is to complete a plan of the road layout and present it to the Board for acceptance and, two, go to town meeting for acceptance.
Wolfe told Selectmen that the Baptist camp will work with the town on resolution of the roadway issue and concern about development.
The story was quite different for a second road acceptance article, where residents of Paquawket Path were in full support of their street becoming a public way. Pequawket Path subdivision was built in 1979 but the road was never completed by the developer, and was never accepted as a public way. According to DPW Director Delaney there is some major capital repairs needed on the road, but that state funds can only be used on public roads.
In other business, the Board voted to issue a request for Proposal (RFP) for Prescott School, based on the recommendation of Prescott School Re-Use Committee. This follows more than two and a half years of work by the reuse committee which explored many potential uses for the old school building, including operating as an inn. The RFP will be published in the Central Registry as is required, but also in other publications in order to reach the broadest audie
The school was at one time considered as a site for the new Center Fire Station, and the Re-Use Committee waited until the fire station location was completed before they recommended moving forward with an RFP.