New Milford residents to vote on making road private
NEW MILFORD — Residents will soon have to decide whether to make a section of Great Brook Road private.
The Town Council approved setting the issue for a town meeting at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 22, which is just before the next council meeting.
The decision was made last week following comments from 10 Great Brook residents opposing making the road private and support from the two applicants who would take control of the road if it passes.
The section of the road in question is a paper road, which means it’s on a map but no longer in use.
The paved section of the road would still be a town road, and the maintenance would not be changed by this decision.
“I don’t believe the residents, despite their statements, are at any risk of any harm whatsoever,” said Jeff Sienkiewicz, an attorney representing the residents asking for the privacy or discontinuance.
Dan Daignault, one of the two applicants for the discontinuance, said people are traveling on his private property because they can’t walk on that section of town road, which he described as a washed-out gulley.
He said he has no plans to develop the property or create a thruway.
Neighbors worry that removing town control of the road could create a usable thruway and open it for a development, which would disrupt their quiet cul de sac. They want to keep the road as is, so that people can continue to hike on it and so they could have an emergency exit if needed.
“We’re afraid this will devalue our property values if he opens it up and it doesn’t become a cul de sac anymore,” said Chris Angione, a Great Brook Road resident.
At a previous council meeting, Public Works Director Mike Zarba said discontinuing that section of the road eliminates the town’s ability or desire to do anything with it.
This act would split the road between the two property owners bordering it and it would become taxable land.
He added discontinuing it makes it harder to develop the road because it adds three steps and means the town won’t have to pay for upgrading the road if a developer does put a project there, which has happened.
Several council members and Town Attorney Matt Grimes again said last week it would be harder to develop the abutting properties once the road is discontinued based on the needed applications and because it would no longer be on a public highway.
“It’d be more cumbersome than it is today,” Grimes said.