, Derry, New Hampshire

August 15, 2013

Derry councilors sign off on 'paper road' issue

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — One of the town’s oldest “paper roads” will no longer be under any town control.

Town councilors voted to relinquish all town responsibility over a portion of Lawrence Street, one of Derry’s oldest roads.

Residents living on Lawrence Street will now have to take over and do any title research or other work now that the road is released from public servitude or obligation.

Last week’s decision was the third time the issue came before the Town Council. It took longer than expected for neighbors to agree on how to move forward.

Councilors had tabled the discussion from last month until residents could agree on a final plan.

Steve Robichaud lives at 12 Lawrence St. and originally brought a request to Town Council hoping a section of his street — a right-of-way connecting Beacon and Sargent streets — could be released by the town.

That section was dedicated in a 1902 plan, but never approved as an official town road.

“There are some cloudy issues,” Public Works Director Michael Fowler said. “It’s complicated and not as clear an issue as was brought forward.”

Fowler said since the land is so old, town records don’t show any clear path on how this was road was ever accepted by the town, if it ever was.

He said the town could just walk away and take no action, leaving it all up to the abutters.

The area in question is approximately 180 feet by 40 feet. With the town giving up any control, will now take control of the property and decide what to do. They would pay all fees associated with any future surveying of the property or other improvements.

Abutters will also have to prepare a deed to mark new property boundaries. There would be no cost to the town for anything.

Fowler said it will be mostly up to Robichaud to research the property as he moves forward.

He wants to eventually square off the properties in the area to someday have space to build a garage.

Another neighbor, Nancy Trow, was against Robichaud’s plans and wants the land to remain intact.

“I take good care of it,” she said. “It also serves as an access to my last property.”

She said Robichaud hasn’t shown support to care for that section of the street.

The town also uses some of the undeveloped area for snow storage.