TURNER — Robert Harlow, contractor and summer resident of 33 Big Bear Lane, asked selectmen Monday to overrule the recommendations of the Planning Board regarding the private road he owns.

Neighbors who use the road by right of way have contacted the Town Office and raised concerns about Harlow’s project to improve Big Bear Lane. 

In 2015, then Road Commissioner Roger Williams and engineer Robert Prue inspected the site and were concerned about possible drainage issues. 

The original plan did not include the use of a retaining wall but instead incorporated gradual slopes to avoid a potentially dangerous issue with excessive runoff water onto Route 219.

When one of the walls under scrutiny proved to be unstable with an apparent shift of half an inch tilt, a stop-work order was issued.

The Planning Board asked Harlow to hire an engineer to advise him on whether or not the walls could be fixed.


Harlow complied, stating that the solution was to install a geogrid to stabilize the walls, but he has not been able to complete the repairs because of the stop-work order.

Code Enforcement Officer Bob Boutin said Harlow’s engineer failed to sign off on the project.

Selectman Kevin Nichols said he sympathized with Harlow, but asked if Harlow had sought the opinion of a second engineer.

“I didn’t feel the need,” Harlow said.

Town Manager Kurt Schaub said Town Planner John Mahoney had requested that Harlow complete a checklist of items for review at the October 2016 Planning Board meeting, which was only partially finished.

Boutin reminded Harlow, “You did agree to take the walls out and return to the original plan.”


Harlow admitted that he made that agreement but said, “I want to keep the walls. It will be a lot easier to fix them than to take them out.”

Selectman Steve Maheu said, “I think if we override the Planning Board, it defeats the purpose of having a planning board.”

The board tabled the issue to confer with the Planning Board.

Harlow’s project to improve the private road has been an ongoing issue since 2015.

In other business, Schaub handed out a copy of the final School Administrative District 52 budget that showed Turner’s obligation as $5.87 million, an increase of $264,188 over the previous budget.

The board also discussed details of the three-year contract to hire Bartlett Appraisal Services as the town’s new tax assessor.


Turner Timberlands ATV Club member Adam Steven asked the board for ATV access along Cobb Road and Back Cove Drive on behalf of the club. Adams and other members of the club agreed to poll the neighbors and present the results at the next selectmen meeting June 19.

Selectmen approved resident Rachel Pack’s request for a town-managed bank account for the fireworks fund. Residents will be able to make donations at the Town Office.

Residents are also reminded that the town beach is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Labor Day.

Before adjourning, the board voted unanimously to hire someone to strip and refinish the floor tiles at the Boofy Quimby Memorial Center after missing tiles are replaced.

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