Town resolves hiking trail parking area dispute, tables appointment
by Lauren Harkawik
Jul 24, 2017 | 3016 views | 0 0 comments | 110 110 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Summer concerts are underway at the Dover Park on Route 100. This past Sunday featured the Miles Band.   The concert series, sponsored by the town of Dover, runs through Labor Day weekend.
Summer concerts are underway at the Dover Park on Route 100. This past Sunday featured the Miles Band. The concert series, sponsored by the town of Dover, runs through Labor Day weekend.
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DOVER- The Dover Selectboard met on Tuesday for what had originally been planned as chair Randall Terk’s last meeting, but in order to weigh in on who will be his successor, he will now stay on until August 8. At the meeting, town clerk Andy McLean was given the go-ahead to talk with an engineer and the town attorney about a proposed trailhead parking lot on Handle Road. The board agreed to sign a letter of support for the addition of a sidewalk on Bridge 59 in the town, as outlined by outgoing economic development director Ken Black. Incoming economic development director Steve Neratko was also in attendance at the meeting and introduced himself to members of the public.

Terk explained that due to an oversight in how the open position his resignation will create was warned, a new selectboard member could not be appointed at the meeting as originally planned.

“The appointment will not be taking place this evening,” said Terk. “We discovered that we had not made the proper notice of the availability of the position. There is a proper warning, and that also includes the ability for a petition to the selectboard to have a special Town Meeting and election, even though we had decided to appoint someone. So it’s a 20-day notice period, so assuming we approve it tonight it’ll go up and we will then have the appointment on August 8 at a special meeting.”

Terk said that although he intended to resign that evening, he wants to weigh in on the decision of who to appoint. “The other thing we checked on was whether the departing selectboard member can be part of the selection process and the answer is yes,” said Terk. “So I will be deferring my resignation until that special selectboard meeting.”

Terk said that thus far, two letters of interest for the seat have been received by the board, one by Sarah Shippee and one from James Desrochers. Since a new warning period has now been opened, it is possible that the board will receive additional letters of interest. Pending a petition to hold a special Town Meeting and election, the board will appoint one of the interested parties at the special meeting on August 8, which will begin at 6:30 pm at the Dover Town Office.

McLean updated the board about a proposed trailhead parking area on Handle Road. Originally, the National Forest planned an 800-foot access road between Bears Crossing and property owned by Jacob Brown. McLean said he had spoken to Bob Stone, of the Bears Crossing Homeowners Association, and to Brown, and both parties were excited about an alternate proposal to put the parking area on Handle Road.

“They’re really excited to have the parking lot on Handle Road,” said McLean, adding that they didn’t like the original plan because of headlights and cars driving on the access road and the secluded nature of the proposed parking area. “If we put it on the road, that eliminates those issues.”

McLean said he spoke to road commissioner Bobby Holland about the proposal to put the parking area on Handle Road. Holland said it looked fine as long as cars were able to do a three-point turn in order to get out of the parking area, rather than backing onto the road.

Toward the end of McLean’s comments, Stone arrived and said he had two requests. The first was that Bears Crossing and Brown share a more equal split of the land to be used, rather than the original proposal which had Brown contributing 75% of the land to be used. The second request was that the parking area be 30 feet deep rather than the proposed 50 feet. McLean said it was his understanding that 50 feet was necessary for the three-point turn requirement set forth by Holland.

Terk suggested that McLean call an engineer for an opinion, with the town covering the cost of the study. The board also gave McLean permission to engage the town attorney about easements from Stone and Brown to take to the National Forest.

Black said he met with Jon Kaplan, of the Agency of Transportation, regarding several grants the town applied for with regard to the Valley Trail.

“During our walk, I brought up the issue that there’s no way to walk across (Bridge 59),” said Black. “People were in danger of getting hit by cars that move fairly quickly. Jon Kaplan absolutely agreed. I also told him that during the engineering discussions the subject was brought up that we needed to put a pathway on that bridge, which quite frankly would avoid us having to bring a second bridge across the Deerfield River at an additional cost of maybe $200,000, which would take up federal funding, state funding, and local funding. It’s just not a good idea. Jon was very much in favor of (a pathway) and he spoke to some folks and is offering up a proposal that if they put in a 4-foot sidewalk on the bridge, would we agree to put a sidewalk piece from the Edwards Village start on one side of Stugger Road.”

Black said that current grant applications the town has open for the area were for blacktop trails more like the Valley Trail. “Although it would be nice if it was the same type of trail, having a sidewalk on either side is a small price to save the cost of another bridge,” said Black.

The board unanimously agreed to support the proposal.

Black also introduced Neratko, who is replacing Black as economic development director. Neratko introduced himself and described some of his background experience, which includes planning and zoning work in Allentown, PA, community development in Dunkirk, NY, and several other economic development projects in municipalities across New York state.

“My main job is to bring projects to fruition,” said Neratko. “Whether it’s my idea or other people’s ideas, I like to push ideas. I’m very thankful to be here today, and I’m really honored to be part of the community. I hope to make everyone here’s life better and to bring projects to fruition.”

The Dover Selectboard will be holding a welcome reception for Neratko on Wednesday, July 26, at the Dover Forge. The event is open to the public and will go from 5 to 7 pm.
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