Jamaica board addresses Town Hall easements


JAMAICA -- The Murrays, who have resided next to Town Hall, sold their home but needed an agreement signed before the closing could be final.

"In order to sell the property, the bank needed something in writing from the sellers to the buyers that the town would share in expenses if anything happens to the leach field," said Jamaica Selectboard Chairwoman Lexa Clark, who had her signing of the agreement approved by the board on June 9.

Board member Judy Flower said the agreement's most important paragraph stated that maintenance or replacement of the leach field will be shared by the town and property owner. Both properties use the same septic system.

The current water system in Town Hall produces unpotable water. Flowers and resident Steve Clark have dedicated their efforts to replacing the water system. Obstacles they have faced so far involved permitting and funding. Now, an easement will be needed from the Hines family in addition to Ralph Smith in order for trucks to get onto the Town Hall property for a well to be drilled on site. Town Hall sits between both houses.

"Basically what the Town Hall rests on is just literally from the drip of the building," said Flower. "So all the land on the other side belongs to other people."

Steve Clark had no luck getting Smith to agree to signing an easement. They talked about the matter but Flower said Smith was not happy about giving the town an easement.

Lexa Clark contacted town attorney Paul Gillies to see if an easement through eminent domain could be obtained. And it can.

"Because of the safety and health, we really have to have that access. So in the process, an easement deed was written. It was sent by certified mail on May 15 with the request that the easement be signed. We have not heard anything at all from this person," said Flower.

The Selectboard decided not to go ahead with the easement through eminent domain just yet. It was suggested to Flower that the town see if an agreement could be reached with Smith, where a new well could be shared between both parties.

Board members agreed that would be a good course of action. Lexa Clark mentioned that this could make Smith's house more salable as it too has water that cannot be used for drinking. The agreement could also open up the amount of options for where the well can be drilled.

"Free well. Minimum damage. It's a win-win," said Fraser. "We don't get that often. Everyone cross your fingers."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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