GILFORD — Town Administrator Scott Dunn recommended to selectmen Wednesday night that they begin the process of declaring five roads in the town that are currently Class V and town maintained into Class VI roads that the town won't maintain.
Dunn said the five, Emerson Road, Wood Road, a portion of Pinecrest Drive, Foxborough Drive, and a portion of Woodland Avenue are actually driveways that lead to one or two homes at the most.
"When you drive (on one of these) roads, it's really a driveway," Dunn said.
Public Works Director Peter Nourse said his opinion mirrors Dunn's. He said each of the roads has it's own individual history but the town does spend money maintaining and plowing them.
He said they can be difficult to plow because of turn-around problems. One of them is paved and he said the town also maintains the pavement.
Nourse said that a renter got stuck at night on one of them and called the police, who in turn toned out the Public Works Department for assistance.
"It seems kind of crazy for the town to maintain driveways," said Selectman Chan Eddy.
"Yeah, there problematic and subject to maintenance problems," said Selectman Richard Grenier but said he was still "inclined to keep maintaining them".
Selectman's Chair Gus Benevides said he felt the selectmen should look at each road individually before giving Dunn the go-ahead to begin the often lengthy process of changing their classification.
Dunn noted that most of the roads are old and at one point in time led to somewhere else.
Typically, there are four ways a town road is created: the town builds it on its own, builds it as part of a municipal plan, or a deed holder dedicates the road to the town and the town accepts it. For a town to accept a road it typically must be up to town engineering standards.
The fourth way is governed by a state law that says a road must have been used without the permission (prescriptively) of the landowner for 20 years prior to 1968 (from 1948) to be considered public.
A Belmont land technician who went through the same process noted at the time that prescriptive uses rarely if ever appear on deeds and are often very difficult to determine.
Should the selectmen choose to go forward with the process, Dunn or his designated agent will have to research each road individually to determine it doesn't meet the 1948 standard.
Selectmen have scheduled a walk of all five roads at 5 p.m. on May 27. It will be posted as part of the selectman's regular meeting on the same date.
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