LIVERMORE — Selectperson Tom Gould on Tuesday provided an update on the town’s easement-road maintenance issue.

Selectpersons voted 4-1 in March to discontinue winter maintenance on 10 roads the town had been plowing. Since then, it has been determined that some of the roads are private, some public and some are considered easement roads.

Earlier this year, Peter Coughlan, director of the Community Services Division of the Maine Department of Transportation, asked to review a map of the town’s roads while working on the proposed sand/salt shed. At the time, he told highway foreman and Selectperson Tom Gould that the town, by law, has no right to be on private roads. 

The vote was taken because of the liability concerns for the town. 

Gould has further researched the matter and was told by Maine Municipal Association legal staff that the existing easements are not legally binding. 

In addition, articles concerning road maintenance at previous town meetings did not state specifically the roads being voted upon. “Roads such as Keith Street” was listed in the remarks section, but nothing specific was recorded.

The lawyers didn’t like that, Gould said.

Selectperson Wayne Timberlake said he wanted to do what could be done to make it right.

Gould referred to an article in a previous town meeting dealing with the plowing of private roads. The minutes state the vote stipulated it was only for roads currently being plowed. It also stated that the Road Committee would be instructed to come back with a solution to make it unnecessary to accept easement roads.

“I am not sure that was ever done,” Gould said.

Some residents asked questions and shared their concerns.

Resident Brenda Merrill said she has attended town meetings for years. A separate article on the five easement roads was voted on every year from 1989 until 1995 or 1996. The roads were incorporated into the road budget in 1998, she said. 

“When you see the folder with signed easements for five roads, what does that mean to you?” Merrill asked.

Gould said none of those roads had been specifically voted on and the easements weren’t binding.

Legal easements, recorded on property deeds, must be obtained for the roads in question: Marcus Street, Keith Street, Cozy Cove Road (formerly known as Haskell Road), the end of Richmond Hill Road and Bartlett Pond Road. All property owners on each road must be in favor of the easement, Gould said.

Zach Braband, who recently bought 32 Keith St. said, “I don’t know what and why this is being driven. Are you folks working for or against us?”

Braband was given a copy of the letter mailed to residents on easement roads Tuesday to inform them of their options for winter maintenance. They are:

• Arrange for private plowing and maintenance;

• Ask the municipal legislative body to accept the road as a public easement; or

• Ask the legislative body to accept the road as a town way, which is unlikely.

Gould said he is working for the town and is happy to do what residents want.

“We need to make sure the easements are legal,” he said.

Once the new easements are in place, a special town meeting will be held. All roads will be specified, Gould said.

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