HOPE – A group of Hope residents want the town to take over maintenance of a 600-foot portion of Hackleburnham Road.

About six residents of the privately owned road attended the Select Board meeting July 27, said said they plan to upgrade the section of that road, then would like to turn it over to the town to continue maintenance from then on.

Select Board members said they would need more information before moving forward with this. Any ultimate decision of whether the town would take over the portion of the road would have to go before voters at a town meeting.

The group said there are about nine year-round residents and 18 seasonal residents living on the road.

Town officials will need to know the history of the road’s ownership, whether it previously belonged to the town and how it became a private road. Whether or not it was part of a subdivision could also be important as part of the process, since the town ordinance has specific requirements for subdivision access roads.

“We as citizens here are looking to bring it up to a standard,” said resident Blaine Richardson.

“I think that the past history is really not important. If we end up with even more houses out there because one of the gentlemen, he’s thought about subdividing the property and putting houses along there, and I have a surprise for him, he comes to the Planning Board to do that and he’s going to bring the road up to standard and pave it.”

Richardson is a member of the Planning Board.

He also brought up concerns about safety and whether the road is passable during mud season. “Safety trumps everything,” he said.

Members of the group also argued that, collectively, they pay $87,000 per year in property taxes, and do not receive services for that money since they are on a private road and do not have children in the school system.

Select Board members noted, however, that everyone must pay their taxes, and those taxes provide for services including the fire department and EMS, among other services the government provides.

Select Board Vice Chair Richard Crabtree said he must look at things from the point of view of what is best for the entire town, not just the group of residents on this road. He posed the question on whether the town could just take on the whole road.

Richardson said the town does not have resources to take on the whole road. He said the group is just asking to have it plowed and sanded.

Crabtree noted that the group said they were planning to bring the road section in question up to a certain standard and asked, “Why haven’t you accomplished your purpose?”

The residents answered that they want the town to take over the ongoing maintenance and trimming trees going forward from the point of taking the improved road.

Crabtree asked what the advantage is to the people in town in taking on this road.

Crabtree and Richardson disagreed and went back and forth on some points, including whether it was a public way and whether it was a part of a subdivision.

“We’re not saying no,” said Chair Sarah Ann Smith. “We’re just saying we need more information. Don’t go away mad.”

She also warned members of the group that it would be an ongoing process, and the board might have more questions when some of the information is brought back. Richardson asked for a list of the items needed, “So it’s not an Easter egg hunt.”

The board also said it would be good to have a letter from the property owners signed by all of those in support of the change.

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