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Lanesborough Creating Five-Year Plan For Lake Access Points

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
09:55AM / Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Robert Barton presented the committee's finding to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Lakes and Rights of Way Committee is proposing to spend nearly $150,000 in the next five years to improve the areas around Pontoosuc Lake.

The town committee outlined a five-year plan to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night that calls for infrastructure improvements as well as changes to the roads — such as no longer maintaining some roads and formally accepting others.

"This goes into detail on the next four or five years. We've had two or three drafts of this," committee member Robert Barton said.

Barton is proposing the town accept 18 roads that are currently unaccepted but are being maintained by the town. By accepting those, Barton said the town can boost its state Chapter 90 allocation slightly. Additionally, he is asking that an array of "paper roads," which were planned but never built, should be given back to the nearest landowner and back onto the tax rolls.

"We're going to recommend that we go through a process of having those paper roads become private property and taxed," Barton said.

While those doing those two things may boost revenue, Barton is proposing that the town spend more over the next five years. The goal is to improve safety, reduce gravel runoff into the lake and improve access to the lake. The committee proposes an array of project — from creating parking lots near the town beach and causeways — to re-engineering the drainage systems.

To meet those goals, the town will have to acquire some easements and land to create the parking space. Overall, the committee is looking at $20,000 in expenses from the town's Highway Department for gravel and sand to redo the roads and then another $120,000 in future capital projects.

"We hope that there can be a clear way to apply for grants," said Barton.

Immediately, the committee wants a town staff person to be appointed as the "go-to" for issues with the lake. Then the committee hopes town meeting will accept Wabasso, Wabun and Bena roads, which are currently "unaccepted."

The committee is asking the town to be "more cautious" with the grading and filling in in dirt roads this spring and to clean out the catch basins.

Meanwhile the committee is hoping for signage to raise awareness about the rights of way. There are 15 access roads to the lake but many are illegally blocked.

"These are an issue now because the ones off of Narragansett gets blocked," Barton said. "It requires signs to be posted so the public is aware that this is a right of way and it has limits to what you can do in it."

Also immediately, the committee hopes to get estimated costs on the engineering of certain areas for improved drainage to reduce the amount of dirt and gravel that runs into the lake.

In total, the committee is making 12 recommendations over the next five years.

1) Sustain progress by having a staff person be appointed as the go-to person for issues around the lake.
2) Finalize acceptance of Wabasso, Wabun and Bena.
3) Create an engineering plan for cost-effective maintenance of roads and drainage.
4) Comply with state law for plowing and maintaining unaccepted roads.
5) Assure applications for grants for these and other town priorities.
6) Be more cautious on dirt roads with grading, filling and drainage.
7) Accept 18 private roads maintained by highway department.
8) Convert paper roads to private ownership.
9)  Prevent blockage of rights of way, per bylaw.
10) Create safe parking at town beach, causeways and park.
11) Slow traffic near causeways and park, open condo gate.
12) Install signage for rights of way, safety and parking.

Tags: lakes, ponds,   Pontoosuc,   roads,   

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