Casco officials to decide on deadline for public easements

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Local elected officials did not yet vote on a deadline for people living on plowed public easements to get the roads in line with the 1972 standards.

It is likely that decision will not be put to a vote until Aug. 8, the next meeting of the Casco Board of Selectmen.

However, during a roads workshop on July 10, Casco’s selectmen got some feedback on preferable timelines in 2018 for those road improvements to be wrapped up.

Selectman Mary Fernandes spoke during the workshop.

“We won’t vote on anything during the workshop. But I can guarantee that we won’t vote on a deadline — not until we have heard from these other associations,” Fernandes said.

The Town of Casco is one of the municipalities in Maine that still provides plowing of private roadways by declaring them to be public easements. The ultimatum put forth by the town is: If a road is not in compliance with the 1972 road standards, it will not be plowed by the town contractor. After all, plow equipment can be damaged while working on roads that are too narrow, have dangerous obstacles, or that do not have a proper turnaround.

Some of the road associations present at the workshop had their road association annual meetings scheduled for later this summer.

Chairman Holly Hancock expressed concerns that, in parts of town, residents living on a common road have not created a formal road association. So, they might lack an organized group that addresses problems with the road. Those residents should agree on someone to be a road representative who contacts the road commissioner and puts forth a plan of action. She did not want people to be left in the dark about the town’s recent stance regarding the plowing of public easements.

This winter, “we are going to take the phone calls, ‘You didn’t plow our road.’ Again, we want to do this service,” Hancock said.

The board’s decision to set a deadline for road work to be completed on public easements should not come as a surprise. Road associations have been notified, and an initial road workshop was held last summer. Additionally, the roads’ improvement mandate was brought up at the annual town meeting in June.

The road workshop on July 10 was held to get a better handle on what work is still left for various road associations to bring their roads up to the standards.

According to Chairman Hancock, “The purpose of the workshop is for information gathering. We will take this information. We will get answers to some of these questions.”

“We had a request to move the deadline to October 2018. We have a request for waivers that we may or may not grant,” she said.

“For any of you who haven’t met yet or folks watching who haven’t had their road association meeting, please contact the town,” Hancock said.

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