PARIS — The Oxford County Commission will stay out of a disagreement over a large boulder in Hanover.
Hanover residents on both sides of a controversial issue attended the meeting Tuesday morning. Some, such as Suzanne and Glen LaForest, whose home sits behind the 12- by 17-foot rock, want it removed.
Others said the rock, which some call Pudding Rock, is an iconic Hanover landmark.
The boulder sits on Howard Pond Road at the end of the LaForests' driveway. Residents who oppose the rock's removal point out that only seven families live beyond it, and that the speed limit on the road is 20 miles per hour, making the traffic danger minimal.
However, Robert Brown, whose timber truck passes the rock going to and from his land, said the rock makes the road dangerous for the truck.
Both sides submitted letters and evidence. The LaForests included a letter from Main-Land Development, recommending the rock be removed as a danger to traffic. Also included were the minutes from an April 2010 meeting of the Hanover Planning Board, where “it was determined that the large rock in the road right of way needed to be removed.”
The Hanover Board of Selectmen, however, voted 2-1 last year against moving or destroying the boulder.
A group of 23 Hanover residents submitted a petition against moving the rock, stating that no one could remember a traffic accident near the rock.
The hearing turned out to be moot as commissioners said the rock was an issue for the town of Hanover and opted not to get involved.
“It's a town road,” commission Chairman Caldwell Jackson said. “It's not a county road.”
Commissioner David Duguay said that according to state law, town roads are town business unless there is a safety issue. Duguay said he had driven to Hanover to see the boulder to judge whether it could pose a danger.
“It would be more stressful getting back onto Route 26 from here than getting out of that driveway,” he told the Hanover residents in attendance.
Commissioner Stephen Merrill pointed out that the Maine Department of Transportation had not deemed the rock a safety hazard.
“If the DOT's not that concerned about it, I don't think I have any more concerns than they would.”