DOVER -- Selectboard member Linda Holland was not so sure about amending the board’s approval to widen Hathaway Trail.
"There are hundreds of snowmobiles going down that road on weekends," she said. "My concern is the safety of the snowmobiles. I’d like to see the 22-foot road in there for safety purposes."
Engineer Adam Hubbard and his attorney Bob Fisher asked to change the language to state the trail can be widened 18-feet rather than 22 feet. The Dover Selectboard previously approved the width for 22 feet in January.
"The 18-foot road is preferable for a couple of reasons," Hubbard said. "There’s less impact for neighbors and less impact to the environment in terms of widening. It allows for traffic control and all emergency vehicles."
There are currently plans for development along the upper portion of the trail. There was concern voiced about whether additional plans by other developers for that area could create a negative impact. Holland also mentioned that if the board approved, it could be setting a precedent for other town trails.
Hubbard represented the engineering firm Stevens and Associates. Dick Meduski owns the property in question. An application seeking a 10-lot subdivision will be considered by the Development Review Board on June 26. The plan is to build five homes on Hathaway Trail.
Hubbard handed out maps to the board on June 17. He had met with Road Commissioner Bobby Holland, West Dover Fire Chief Rich Werner and Dover Police Chief Randy Johnson. A municipal impact meeting was also held so that a questionnaire could be filled out and sent to the state for an Act 250 permit.
The trail as it currently is, Hubbard said, varies between 16 and 18 feet with sections as wide as 22 feet. He would like to make it consistently 18 feet and have areas to turn out to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Fisher mentioned that the safety of snowmobiles was brought up at the municipal impact meeting regarding the trail.
"Their developer agreed to appropriate signage so we take care of snowmobiles going up and down the road," he said. "If you put appropriate signage and speed limits with regard to snowmobiles, for what are five new houses, there shouldn’t be any problem."
Selectboard Chairman Randy Terk referred to the town’s trail policy, saying it was a vague policy. Given that Hathaway Trail was not a town road, Hubbard said it would remain privately funded and maintained.
"It will be a trail and public access will remain," he added.
According to Zoning Administrator Dave Cerchio, there was nothing in the zoning bylaws regarding width.
Selectboard member Victoria Capitani suggested the board warn Hubbard’s request for its next meeting. By looking at the agenda, she said she thought the board was receiving an update not a request.
"It gives us a chance to check with VLCT (Vermont League of Cities and Towns) and whatever else we want to do," Capitani said. "Reading this, I wouldn’t have known someone was asking for a change."
Terk asked that Town Administrator Carlo Pilgrim check if any of the town’s liabilities would change if it allowed for improvements on a trail.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.