Several residents of Jenny Lane attended the Dresden Board of Selectmen’s meeting Monday, Nov. 28 to respond to recent notification that the town would no longer take responsibility for plowing their road.
Selectmen agreed that if residents are able to repair Jenny Lane to make it accessible to plow trucks, the town will plow it for one final season.
Jenny Lane, a private, unpaved subdivision road off Middle Road (Route 127), has posed problems for the town’s plowing contractor in the past, with plow trucks twice getting stuck in the lane’s turnaround during the previous season, Third Selectman Allan Moeller said.
Because it is a private road, the town should not have been plowing it to begin with, although it had been the town’s practice to plow the road, Moeller said. In a previous meeting, selectmen agreed to discontinue plowing Jenny Lane.
“You could petition to turn it into a town road,” Moeller said. In order for a private road to become a town road, it would need to be paved, meet the town’s specifications for a road, and be accepted by voters at town meeting, he said.
According to residents, they received notification only about a month ago. “The timeline could have been improved,” resident Chris Dowdy said. “Just one month, that’s tough timing.”
The Jenny Lane Association has drained its funds to address problems with the road and repair the cul-de-sac that plow trucks have gotten stuck in, resident James Ford said.
“All our funds are going to fix the road. Can we get just one more season? We don’t have the funds to plow this winter,” Ford said.
While the Maine Municipal Association, the town’s insurer, will not back the town if accidents occur while plowing private roads, selectmen agreed to continue to plow for one more season, on the condition that the road is repaired.
“I think this little issue we had is solved,” Moeller said.
In a related topic, Dresden has several paper streets – roads which exist on maps but where no actual road has been built or maintained. With a September 2017 deadline looming, Dresden must decide whether to forgo its rights to the town’s paper streets and let them disappear, or retain its rights and eventually transform them into town roads.