WILTON – It took more than an hour Tuesday night for selectmen to decide not to discontinue seven roads the town has been maintaining for years.

A crowd of nearly 40 people attended the meeting, many of them angry about the possibility the town might stop maintaining the roads. Most own property on the roads under consideration, which are Jeff Adams Road, Greenleaf Street, Tilton Road, Sanford McCrillis Road, Melcher Road, Parsons Road and Packard Road.

When motions were first made to discontinue the first road, the audience spoke up, angry that property values could decrease if the roads were discontinued. Many were also worried about safety and living on an unplowed road in the winter. Some were simply upset town officials were trying to change rules that seemed to have been in place for more than 100 years.

Sandford McCrillis asked selectmen what they plan to do with the roads and their residents once discontinued.

The older residents who live along most of the affected roads don’t have the money to maintain them, he said, with heat bills, light bills and doctor bills to pay.

“Are you going to leave them there until spring, and then go check on them?” he asked, to hoots of laughter.

“It’s been this way all the way through,” said Alan Parsons of Parsons Road. “To not grandfather these roads is just a travesty.”

But Selectman Terry Brann disagreed. “These are driveways,” he said.

But after drawing up a list of potential roads Wilton should either stop maintaining or discontinue, most selectmen seemed to side with the people living on the roads.

“And just because they’ve been plowed for 100 years, doesn’t make it right.”

It was Brann who first learned it is illegal to use town funds to maintain private roads, when he heard Augusta had faced the issue years ago. He brought the subject up with selectmen.

There are many roads in town with only one or two landowners still on them, and those qualify as driveways, not roads, he said. The town could save a good chunk of change by discontinuing town roads that should be driveways, or stopping maintenance on roads that aren’t listed as town roads in town documents.

Russell Black, Rodney Hall and Norm Gould, who is also road commissioner, voted against discontinuing the roads every time. Paul Gooch voted for and against, depending on the road. Even Brann voted not to discontinue one road.

In the end, all the roads remain town-owned and maintained – even the Packard Road. Randy Barker, who owns all the land on either side of the road, had actually come to the meeting to ask that road be discontinued. He will have to wait until another meeting to finalize that, selectmen said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.