Casco voters to decide on road standards

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Residents who live on roads that get winter maintenance from the town have no need to worry that services will end.

It is status quo on those roads.

Meanwhile, roads being added to the plowing list will be held to stricter standards.

However, the updated policy for accepting public easements that are maintained by the town-contracted plowing company will not be official until it is approved at the Town Meeting.

The policy has remained the same since the early 1970s, according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

The standards would not change for roads now receiving services under the standards that were originally approved unless the homeowners failed to maintain the road, he said.

“But, going forward, any new roads would need to meet the new standards,” Morton said.

The standards that could be adopted at the Town Meeting are the ones in the town’s Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances for minor streets, he said.

“That was chosen because that was a standard that already exists,” he said.

“Next year, if a road association approached the board and wanted to get listed for those services, they would have to meet new minimum standards,” Morton said.

Selectman Tom Peaslee sought some clarification of the amendment to the wintertime road maintenance policy.

“You aren’t going to ask the road associations to prove current standards, are you?” he asked.

Morton answered, “Nothing would happen unless they did not continue to maintain the road.”

“I don’t think it is fair to penalize the road associations that work hard to keep roads maintained. Essentially, they would be grandfathered,” Morton said.

If adopted, the updated policy “would ensure that the roads we provide service to would have a higher standard than in the past,” he said.

Also, the policy would protect the business that has the plowing contract with the town.

A re-occurring problem is that plow vehicles get damaged or stuck when operating on public easements that are not wide enough or that have uneven surfaces, Morton said.

Chairman Grant Plummer said the public easement policy was overdue for a revision.

“Our town attorney tells us every year, we are crazy to provide these services,” he said.

Most residents favor keeping those town services.

“It is time to do some updating,” Plummer said.


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