CHESTER – Though they’re not sure that they can do much of anything about it, the board of selectmen and planning board have been looking into helping the residents of Lincoln Lane with their unfinished road. According to discussions at both planning board and selectmen meetings, as reported previously by the Tri-Town Times, the road was never completed with a final wear coat. A few of the area’s residents have complained that current owner Abdallah Construction has been lax on winter maintenance and in returning phone calls from perturbed homeowners.
The usual process for a new subdivision involves the developer’s keeping a performance bond with the town to make sure different aspects of the approved plans are met. This usually includes a sum that is given back to the developer once the road is complete to town standards and can become town owned and maintained. In most cases if the developer defaults on responsibilities, there is enough money in that account for the town to pay for the work to be finished. In the Lincoln Heights case, only about half of the cost to finish the road remains in that performance bond.
It’s a problem the planning board is working to make sure doesn’t occur again, but for the time being Lincoln Lane remains private and unfinished. While some argue that the town should be able to challenge the developer on the defaulted roadwork, the planning board and selectmen have said they don’t see it that way.
The planning board and selectmen have noted that legally they don’t own the road and there’s not much they can do to force the developer to make it a public road. Both boards commiserated with the residents, but said that in many ways their hands were tied.
The planning board asked the town engineer, together with road agent Mike Oleson, to take a look at the road to determine whether there are any deficiencies and how much it would cost to complete it to town standards. A report of that inspection was sent to the planning board recently and a copy forwarded to the selectmen by Mike Weider. Selectman Chair Steph Landau read that letter into the minutes of the Thursday, May 2 meeting.
According to the report, the binder pavement appears to be in satisfactory condition, as are the roadway ditches and catch basins. A couple of issues to be addressed, aside from a wear coat and shoulder leveling, are needed to complete the road, including a drain hole access covered by erosion stone, a homeowner’s fence restricting access to a detention basin and outlet control, stormwater runoff issues that may require a driveway culvert on a homeowner’s property and “as built” plans to be submitted.
Estimated cost to bring the road to town standards, including the application of an inch and a half of wear coat and shoulder leveling, comes to $16,750.