A large dot marks the only home on the dead-end Wyman Road, off Federal Road, in Livermore. Selectmen made no decision Thursday on closing a section of Wyman Road to winter maintenance. Google maps screenshot

LIVERMORE — Selectpersons on Thursday night took no action on closing a section of Wyman Road to winter maintenance, after the property owner and his attorney questioned the legality of doing so.

“I think we need to look at this more,” Selectperson Brett Deyling said before the meeting was abruptly adjourned.

Selectpersons held a special meeting Sept. 20 and voted to pursue the closing.

During a public hearing prior to the board meeting Thursday, several people spoke against the closure.

“We’ve been going through this since 2010,” Christopher McHugh, who lives on Wyman Road with his wife, Addies McHugh, said. “In 2010 the board said as long as we lived there the road would be plowed. That’s why we bought it.”

The road is the only way to get to Federal Road from McHugh’s residence. “I have done all I can to help,” he said. “I’ve cut down 10 trees, had the power lines raised up. I have created different, more places for them to plow and places to put the snow.”


McHugh said there is 25 feet open where the turnaround is near the garage and another 25 feet on the other side of the road. Only two vehicles are in the yard anytime it snows, he noted.

He said he learned about the possible road closure from a friend who saw a post on Facebook.

Notice of the hearing was posted in all the normal places, Deyling noted.

“This is the only way I can get to my house,” McHugh said.

Citing the law, Ron Guay, an attorney representing the McHughs, said, “When any ways are blocked or encumbered with snow the road commissioner shall forthwith cause so much of it to be removed or trodden down as will render them passable.”

“You have a choice — roll the road or plow it,” Guay said. “It has to be passable. You have residents that live there 365 days. The driveway does not connect to Federal Road. It’s necessary for that family to be able to get to Federal Road.”


If the town is considering discontinuance of winter maintenance, the road is recognized as a town way, Guay noted. “It is not a driveway,” he said. “Even Google has a town roadway there.”

The length of time for the discontinuance — 10 years — was also to be considered, Guay said. “There is no opportunity to unring the bell,” he said. “The law says if you vote on this tonight, this can’t be changed for one year. If you vote yes on this, you can’t undo it.”

A person has the right to property access, Roberta Manter, a Fayette resident and founder of Maine Residents and Owners on Abandoned and Discontinued Ways, said. “To have that access taken or damaged, you are required to provide just compensation.

State law says the town has an obligation to keep roads safe and convenient for travelers with motor vehicles and that includes winter maintenance, Manter said. Private individuals can’t plow a public way, it is a question of liability, she noted.

“If he can’t plow the road there is no way for him to get out. You have landlocked him, his access is totally destroyed for winter,” she said. “He is due just compensation.

A few years ago the town had said either a road is a road or not, and if so, the town needs to take care of it, resident Andrew Sylvester said.


“I would just ask you to do the right thing,” resident Dave Damon said. “There’s a right thing and a wrong thing.”

Board Chairman Mark Chretien noted Wyman Road is 135 feet long.

“The town is responsible for the first 135 feet, has to plow (McHugh’s) driveway because there is no way to turn around, it is so steep,” Selectperson Scott Richmond said.

There are a lot of driveways in Livermore longer than 135 feet, Deyling said. “All of those people maintain their driveways, they don’t complain about the town not taking care of their roads. Our next move should be to discontinue the road and revert the land back to the landowner.”

“It is a road,” Guay said.

“Wyman Road is not a road,” Deyling insisted. “I have searched for it, can’t find it so that is completely untrue. I think that we just need to figure out how legally we can discontinue the road and give the property back to the appropriate landowners.”


McHugh said he doesn’t own all the property.

“The law changed a few years ago,” Manter said. It is a yearlong process, everybody on the road needs to be contacted to try to reach easement agreements, she noted. If unsuccessful, landowners need to be compensated, she added.

“It is not just the property owners either,” resident and former Administrative Assistant Amy Byron said. “It is all the abutting landowners, which if you review a town map it’s more than just McHugh. There is a process to notify them legally before you just stop plowing.”

When the road was given to the town in 1945 it was a right of way, Chretien said.

Has the town executed a turnaround agreement with the landowners, Byron asked. “My guess is it is a no,” she said.

“When you were here did you execute (an agreement),” Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller asked.


“It would be in the town records,” Byron said.

“The bottom line is, if you vote tonight you will landlock (McHugh) and you will be subject to damages,” Guay said. “This is outrageous.”

“It is outrageous to plow these private driveways,” Deyling said.

“It’s a town road,” Guay said.

“If it was a road, the Post Office would go down there,” Chretien said.

Information provided by the town notes Wyman Road was part of the Cottage Terrace subdivision dating back to the 1920s, according to Sept. 30, 2010, special meeting minutes. The subdivision was never built, the road is very steep and finding room to put snow is an ongoing issue, according to the document.

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