Jamaica board moves forward with Town Hall easement


JAMAICA -- Progress in replacing the Town Hall's water system slowly continues as project leaders keep it moving.

"We had Ron Bell, our engineer, come last Friday. Steve Clark met with him to look over where the well may go for the Town Hall and in the process, Mr. Bell is going to be reviewing some of the permit requests," said Selectboard member Judy Flower. "A lot of people ask me what's happened to the well but it's going forward. However, there's always a however. We've run into a slight glitch."

On April 28, the Selectboard was updated on replacing the system, which currently has nondrinkable water and the bathroom facilities at Town Hall cannot be used.

The new issue that Flower had mentioned had to do with obtaining an easement. An easement from a neighbor facing the Town Hall on the right side is needed in order for a truck to travel onto the property to drill the well. There were difficulties in attempts to reach the neighbor because he does not live in Vermont, Flower said. Calls to the man were not answered or returned.

"In the process, we have been trying to find out what we can do," continued Flower. "We are able to have a special easement because this is a town public property and also because it's a health and safety issue."

She said that two lawyers, including town attorney Paul Gillies, had confirmed that the town had "a very strong right to be able to have that easement done" and called for the board to vote on moving forward with getting the easement. Its members voted unanimously to do so.

Selectboard member Paul Fraser believed it was an appropriate action to take.

The town had run into other obstacles in previous months when it was informed that additional permits or review may be necessary. The Selectboard worried about incurring expenses but decided to continue with the project.

Upcoming activities hosted at Town Hall are a concern. Jamaica Village School graduation is held at Town Hall as well as a number of summer concerts.

Once the necessary paperwork for obtaining an easement is completed, Flower said the next step will be finding a well driller. Board members did not think the easement would cost the town too much money.

Fraser said that the plumber who had installed the original system will be returning for this project instead of hiring another person.

Residents Elaine and Charles Murray sent the Selectboard a letter on April 3 and attended the latest meeting. Their concern was an agreement having to do with a leech field and how expenses for maintaining it should be split up.

"There are two properties. Ours abuts the Town Hall property and each property has its own septic but shares the leech field," said Charles Murray.

When he told the board that there was likely a handshake agreement, Selectboard Chairwoman Lexa Clark said she had found paperwork from 1975 that established the leech field was constructed at county specifications and was accepted by the Jamaica Board of Health.

The Selectboard requested that the Murray's go back to their attorney and re-write an agreement they had begun to draft. Clark thought splitting the amount of expenses in half instead of determining it by usage would be the best option.

The board decided to wait until Gillies can review the agreement before voting on it.

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


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