LIVERMORE — A 2004 agreement to allow part of the Batten Road to be
gated while sand is mined there is set to expire Saturday, Aug. 1, but a
two-year extension has already been requested.

The Batten Road, a portion of which was discontinued by voters as a
town way in 1988, has remained gated the last five years with the
intent that property owners — Kenneth and Norma Constantine of
Livermore, and Ralph and Monique Walton of Hartford — would rebuild the
easement for full public access after mining was complete.

The town maintained a public easement, which continues to exist
within the right of way of the discontinued portion. It has remained
open to recreation vehicles and pedestrians.

The road, which is off Route 108 in Livermore, became a concern in
2003 after some residents complained they had to drive through Turner
to access their residence and get into town. The other end of the road
is accessed off Route 219 in Turner.

The Board of Selectmen voted in 1992 to allow Walton to gate the
road, and shortly after, entered into an understanding with Walton, who
owns Walton Mountain Crushing, to allow him to mine sand from the
Batten Road right of way on the condition that the road be
reconstructed over an indefinite period of time. However, there was no
vote by the townspeople, which govern road actions, on that particular
agreement, board administrative assistant Kurt Schaub said.

Walton’s mining operation is being conducted on land primarily owned
by Constantine. Both Walton and Constantine have made improvements to
portions of the right of way through the installation of culverts and
partial reconstruction of the road surface.

In June, the Constantines and Waltons asked selectmen if the
agreement could be extended for two years due to sand materials not
moving fast enough because of the weak economy. Walton said Monday that
he has been working to move the sand but it is slow going and there is
still a large pile left.

The selectboard has no authority to extend the agreement or do
anything more than what voters agreed to in 2004, Schaub said. The
Constantines and Waltons do have a right to petition the board to hold
a special town meeting and ask voters to extend the agreement, he said.

If the 2004 agreement is not upheld, then it calls for Constantine
to convey an easement for a public way to the town over an alternate
route to be approximately 66 feet wide.

If Walton and Constantine default on their obligations under the
agreement, the board may choose to re-establish the Batten Road public
easement by condemnation and town meeting vote. If they choose to
proceed in that manner, the Constantines and Waltons agreed to waive
any claim for damages and agreed not to contest in any way the
establishment of the easement either over the original route location
or an alternate one.

The town’s attorney, Lee Bragg, has advised town officials there is nothing they can do until the agreement expires, Sc

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