WILTON – Selectmen on Tuesday voted unanimously to conduct a study examining roads plowed and maintained by the town that may, or may not, be owned by the town.
Selectman Terry Brann brought the issue up, saying he recently became aware the town regularly plows and otherwise takes care of 10 to 12 private roads or driveways. If employing public money for private uses is illegal, Brann said, then Wilton’s practice of plowing private roads with town tax dollars should be stopped.
The board agreed with him, but wondered how the town should determine ownership of the roads. Scores of roads in town are more than 100 years old, and many of them have changed names more than once. Town records detailing the ownership of the roads often refer to roads by names no one remembers anymore, Nielsen said.
The town may not even have a record of who owns Main Street, an audience member noted.
Selectmen decided to categorize the roads into three groups: those thought to be private that should remain private and unplowed by the town; roads thought to be private but that should be made into public roads as soon as possible so the town can legally maintain them; and roads that do not fall cleanly into either category. A public hearing will be held about disputed roads, selectmen said.
Selectmen also voted unanimously Tuesday to create four Drug Free Safe Zones in parks. While designating a park a safe zone does not prevent drug use and trafficking there, police Chief Wayne Gallant said, penalties for drug use, sale, and possession in safe zones are higher than elsewhere. “We’re not always going to be able to stop drug dealers, but at least we can keep them away from our kids and our schools,” Gallant said.
Kineowatha Park, Bass Park, the Village View Playground, the East Wilton Playground, the East Wilton Little League Field and a park near the post office in East Dixfield have been designated Drug Free Safe Zones.
Gil Reed of Nichols Development Corp. asked the board to approve a public hearing asking residents to allow Wilton to act as a conduit for a state loan to help Reed’s company, Nichols Trailers, fulfill a more than $3 million federal contract to build trailers for military use in Iraq. Board members unanimously voted to grant the request.