Gilford accepts responsibility for Area Road

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to accept the portion of Area Road that goes to the Gunstock Mountain Resort gate as a public way after getting a verbal assurance from Gunstock Commissioner Bob Durfee that the resort would either reimburse the town or work with the Public Works director for the work that needs to be done.

That works includes building a cul-de-sac for plow turnaround, filling two potholes and two fixing minor washout spots.

While the plan for that portion of the road to become a town road has been in the works for about a year and was approved by the Belknap County Commissioners earlier this week, some nearby residents still had reservations mostly about easements, maintenance, and speed.

Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan made note that while the proposed cul-de-sac for plowing was not exactly as he would like it, he said his department could work with the Gunstock proposal. He noted also that the two potholes and two washouts must be fixed "almost immediately" but, other than that, he was generally satisfied with current condition of the road.

"In a perfect world, I'd ask for an overlay," Morgan said, adding his crews would "make do with what we've got."

Last night's vote means that officially the town of Gilford owns the now-designated Class V road and is responsible for its maintenance and upkeep.

Technically, said Town Administrator Scott Dunn, the paperwork filing will take some time, but once the vote was made, the town accepted responsibility. The only additional costs to the town would be in salt and sand and future road repairs beyond what was agreed to last night.

Although Gilford now owns the road, Gunstock will maintain an easement that would allow them to plow it in an emergency and to unlock the gate for letting people out during big events. Police and Fire will have the keys to the locked gate for emergencies.

Selectmen needed some explanation from Dunn about why Gunstock would still have an easement if the town owns the road and agreed to take the vote after he assured them that the town has the power and full authority to regulate it.

Selectmen also suggested to the Gunstock Commissioners that they should rename only entrance road to the resort to eliminate confusion for emergency responders.