Wilton Select Board hears highway concerns

WILTON – The condition of the gravel portion of Captain Clark Highway was again a topic of discussion at the regular meeting of the Select Board on April 1. The difference between impact fees and off-site improvement fees for subdivisions was also discussed at some length.

Residents told the Select Board Captain Clark Highway “is impassable” and is damaging their cars, and they want to know what will be done about it. They said “90 percent of the 2 ½ miles is paved and they live on the other part.” They wondered why a town would leave a portion unpaved. They also said the gravel being put on the mud “is damaging the underside of our car.”

Town Administrator Paul Branscombe said his office could find no record of when the road had been paved.

Board Chairman Kermit Williams read a letter from Monadnock Survey which had made a “composite map of the road” which defines the right-of-way for the Highway Department but contains no other information. Monadnock Survey has since closed.

Selectman Matt Fish said “people who live on dirt roads have unrealistic expectations.” (He lives on one and was told his road wasn’t muddy). Fish asked if town meeting should be asked if they want to get a bond “to pave all the roads.” He added that he “hadn’t seen a commitment to pave Captain Clark.”

Williams said there was no money in the budget for this year “so we can’t make a commitment.” He suggested the residents “bring a warrant article to the next town meeting.” They agreed to do that.

Williams said, “How roads are maintained is up the Road Agent, dependent on technology, his equipment, and current conditions.”

The board agreed that a comprehensive plan for road work should be developed for both paved and unpaved roads.

Selectwoman Kellie-Sue Boissonnault noted, “This has been a bad mud season.” No one disagreed.

The question of impact fees was raised because of work done on Goldsmith Road 11 years ago. Ten lots were approved but only two have been developed. Off-site improvement fees of $3,500 per lot, to be used to improve Marden Road, were determined by the then road agent. The town did not assess impact fees 11 years ago.

The fees were defined, and the definitions adopted. Off-site fees should be part of the subdivision approval process. That money is used for capital improvements. Impact fees are assessed with an occupancy permit and are related to the effect of the project on school, fire, and police costs.

The board will decide how to use money collected in the past that is in an account.

In other business, resident Ruth Smith asked if “something could be done about that big black pot” at the junction of Routes 31 and 101. “It’s full of weeds.”

Fish suggested talking to the high school about establishing an internship program that would introduce seniors to the town government. The student could sit in on various boards and learn the process and procedures. “I think it would be beneficial.”

Williams agreed that “it makes a lot of sense.”

Residents told Fish he needed to apologize to residents for his earlier comments, but he did not respond.