Hilt Hollow: Meeting heated Tuesday as Poland Selectmen meet

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POLAND — Following a tense discussion between the Board of Selectmen and the Hilt family Tuesday night, Selectman Walter Gallagher hastily resigned from his position on the board.

A day later, Gallagher said he had reconsidered that decision and would not resign after all.

The Hilt Hollow Road conversation, according to those involved, has been a long, drawn-out issue that was temporarily resolved in January when the town agreed to plow the road for that winter.

Larry and Ricki Hilt addressed the board in December because the town had voted to stop plowing the road. The Hilts, both retired veterans with medical issues, were unable to plow and relied on the town.

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Hilt Hollow Road is just off Route 26 between Bakerstown and Poland Corner roads.

The issue originated because the Hilts live on what some on the board call a “paper street” near the Heart of Poland trail. The land is part of a failed subdivision that was never finished and the Hilts shouldn’t have been given an occupancy permit in the first place.

“This is the town’s fault,” Selectman James Walker said.

Town Manager Matthew Garside on Wednesday said the road is drivable but because it doesn’t meet the land use code standards for a private road, it hasn’t yet been accepted as a private road.

The road is owned by the town.

The town wants to come to a more permanent agreement between the Hilts and the other family on the road, the Lalibertes. But for the time being, Garside said, the matter is in a place where no immediate action is required.

To try and remedy the situation, the town decided to put a parking lot at the end of the road, near the Heart of Poland trail.

Poland doesn’t legally have to plow the road, but the board said the town will if there’s a public lot at the end of it.

Larry and Ricki Hilt were upset about the amount of time it has taken. After Ricki spoke to the board at the meeting Tuesday night, Larry yelled at the board.

“You’re a bunch of bastards,” he said. “You’ll never be done with me.”

Immediately after the verbal lashing, Gallagher stood up, announced his resignation, and left.

Gallagher was the board’s chairman when this issue initially came up in December of 2016.

Garside said Wednesday that Gallagher was entitled to reconsider the resignation, which was never made official.

Those who were at the meeting said a lot of the drama was based on misunderstandings about the way the Hilt Hollow Road matter was handled.

“The agreement has to be worded a certain way for legal reasons and (the Hilts) think they’re not getting what they want, but they are,” Selectwoman Janice Kimball said.

They wanted road frontage and to have their street plowed by the city, both of which they will get when the agreement is signed. The road frontage is needed for their property to be fully legal.

In addition to the plowing, they will also be granted the 100 feet of road frontage needed to legally reside on their property.

The Lalibertes, who own the plot of land next door, also got the road frontage needed to live on the land. They previously had none.

A final version of the agreement needs to be made and signed by the town and at least one of the families. The board hopes to get that done at the next meeting on Oct 4.

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