PARIS — Paula Hakala said she’s “thrilled” with the Board of Selectmen’s 3-2 decision to rescind permission for ATV riders to use Parsons Road. Access to East Oxford Road, which runs near the Hakalas’ home, was also barred.

For Hakala, who said she first complained shortly after the ATVs began appearing on her road, it was a hard-won victory.

“The board gave it a lot of consideration and thoughtfulness and they came up with the right decision,” Hakala said.

She and her husband, James, told selectmen Monday night they had no problem with ATVs. “I think it’s a wonderful recreation,” she said. “I think that their place is just not on Parsons Road.” The road is 54 feet from the Hakalas’ front porch.

Paula said she and her husband bought the house she calls her “little piece of heaven” about seven years ago. Since a committee was formed to find alternate routes, she said she and James have attended every meeting.

“We’ve had many sleepless nights,” she told the board Monday night. “It ruined our summer. It ruined our fall. It hasn’t done a thing for my blood pressure.”

In June, at the request of ATV riders, selectmen agreed to open stretches of Parsons Road, Elm Hill Road and Brett Hill Road to connect trail systems. The Hakalas and other residents complained of the noise from passing ATVs.

Philip Tarr, town manager, said that in committee meetings, members of the X-Tra Mile ATV Club “tried very, very hard so that the Halalas’ section of the Parsons Road could be avoided.”

“The alternatives just aren’t there,” Tarr said.

“We did all we could do,” Mark Strearns of the ATV club said. He said club members were well-behaved and obeyed the 10 miles per hour speed limit for ATVs on Parsons Road.

The club did make several compromises, he said, when they could find alternate routes. The Hakalas’ section of Parsons Road was impossible to avoid, he said.

To Stearns, the issue was about land-use rights and control. He said the Hakalas “want to control property that they don’t own,” meaning the road.

About a dozen ATV riders were at Monday’s board meeting representing the ATV club. When the board made the 3-2 decision, ATV riders immediately stood up and left the Paris Town Hall.

Selectman Jean Smart argued that while ATV riders can move their vehicles, residents can’t easily move their houses. She said if the club sought access to other roads, and residents there didn’t mind, then she would vote to grant them access.

Selectman Lloyd Herrick acknowledged that Stearns and the ATV club had worked hard to do the right thing and not disturb residents, but that he would vote to rescind access to the road.

Selectman Ted Kurtz and Selectman Kenneth West voted to allow ATV use on Parsons Road and East Oxford Road; Herrick, Smart and board Chairman Raymond Glover voted to rescind access.

Before the vote, Kurtz read aloud Maine’s statute on ATV operation, which he said allows ATVs to operate on public ways and that the town could only block access if ATVs were blocking traffic.

“Very clearly, the Legislature has created a public use of ATVs on public ways which is a counter to the rule that you can’t go on a public way and you can’t go on people’s land without permission.”

[email protected]

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.