Brownville to continue maintaining fire lanes

Posted Jan. 15, 2009, at 11:51 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:03 a.m.

BROWNVILLE, Maine — Residents on Wednesday approved the laying and taking of easements on the fire lanes in Brownville Junction so the town can maintain the roads.

Until early December, the town had maintained the fire lanes over the years in the belief they were town property. That work ceased when research revealed otherwise.

The condemnation order approved by about 25 people at the special town meeting allows for public easements on Fire Lanes One, Two, Three, Four and Five.

“Essentially everything that we had been maintaining in the past we are now going to maintain,” Brownville Town Manager Sophia Wilson said Thursday. Selectmen however, did not include Whitten Lane in the order because they considered it too narrow for the town’s equipment. There are two homes on that lane.

“I think I’m speaking on behalf of the Board of Selectmen when I say that this is not an issue anybody wanted to have to tackle, but we are very appreciative of people’s patience as we found a legal way to continue the ongoing practice,” Wilson said. She said the town resumed its work on the fire lanes Thursday and will con-tinue on Friday. That work includes cutting overhanging tree limbs and the removal of snow to widen the lanes, she said.

Some residents at the special town meeting expressed concern about the continued use of the lanes for snowmobile and all-terrain traffic.

Wilson said lots of snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicle riders use the lanes in a very responsible way, but a few have little respect for property and rules. It is the latter who worry residents, and their concerns have been forwarded to the Brownville Police Department, she said.

Residents said some of the riders travel at high rates of speed through the lanes where children play and have damaged personal property, including garages and fences.

In addition to stepped-up enforcement, selectmen are researching what other options they have. The subject is expected to be addressed further at the board’s Jan. 28 meeting.

Also at the special town meeting, residents voted to raise and appropriate $12,000 to send three firefighters to training so they can become certified in interior fire attacks. Wilson said the funds would be included when town officials calculate the 2009 tax bills.

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