Government Bureaucracy Update

First of all, if you haven’t checked out Google Maps yet, I suggest that you do so. It’s very nifty. Its only downside is that it doesn’t support Opera yet, but I’m sure it will eventually.

If you look at the area surrounding our future house with most mapping services, including Google’s, you will see that Berry Corner Rd. comes southwest past Ten Schoolhouse Rd., and then curves around onto Ayers Rd. That curve is where my parents’ driveway ends. What you do not see on that map is that Berry Corner Rd. continues, eventually connecting (and ending) at Mcgilpin Rd. in Sturbridge. You do not see it on that map because the road has never been paved, and has not been maintained in any way for a Very Long Time. It is on this segment of Berry Corner Rd. that our house will be built on. Apparently, most maps have forgotten that it exists.

However, this has never officially stopped being a town road. We have documentation from the Town Clerk proving this. The Planning Board agrees and gave us permission months ago to build there. The town has been receiving money from the state for many many years for this road (local aid for roads is based on the miles of roads, and they count this segment of road in that calculation).

The Highway Superintendent, however, refuses to sign our Driveway permit. He doesn’t think that it is a town road, and apparently doesn’t want to be responsible for maintaining it. He has no legal grounds or authority for doing so. He is apparently holding a grudge for when the Planning Board refused to let a relative of his extend an existing road.

The chairman of the Planning Board has said that since they signed the approval for the lot, the Highway Superintendent has no choice in the matter. The Planning Board Chair is going to try to talk with the Highway Superintendent. If that doesn’t work, then we’ll need to go to the Board of Selectmen (the Highway Superintendent’s boss) and chat with them about it. We may even need to threaten a lawsuit against the town, and be willing to follow through on that threat if needed. The law is quite clearly on our side. We don’t want to take this to court, and they certainly don’t want us to do that either, so hopefully we’ll be able to reach an understanding.

I don’t want this to drag out for years in courts. I just want to move into a new house. *sigh*

5 thoughts on “Government Bureaucracy Update

  1. So, what happens if you go ahead and build the driveway without getting it signed off? Do you think the state would fine you?

  2. Then again from reading that bylaw, I see two possibilities:
    If it’s not a public way, in which case the bylaw doesn’t apply, or
    If it is a public way (which it is), then the Superintendent needs to sign it.

    But I’m sure that this’ll be a fun fight regardless…

  3. Of course, it’s very unlikely that we’ll actually need to go to court. Since the law is blatently on our side, merely threatening to sue should compel the Town Lawyer to tell the Highway Superintendent
    that he will sign it, and has no choice in the matter.

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