SKOWHEGAN — Charles and Helene Bolstridge, both 78, say they’ve lived on Moody Street for more than 25 years and the town has always plowed the street, even though it was never accepted as a public way.

The street was plowed to one travel lane after a winter storm this week dumped 2 feet of snow there. Charles Bolstridge, a Vietnam-era military veteran who served in Korea, said he and his wife are afraid town snowplows will stop coming. They want Moody Street to be a town street, just like all the other streets in Skowhegan.

Now the Bolstridges will have to wait another couple of weeks to find out what’s going to happen. The Skowhegan Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night postponed a decision on the question, and the matter might be taken up Feb. 28 at the next selectmen’s meeting.

“There’s five people that use this road — their mailboxes are on it and they send taxes to five different people — their address is Moody Street and their driveways are on Moody Street,” Bolstridge said in an interview when the question of the town taking over the street first was raised in December. “I just want them to take it over and maintain it. There’s a lot of traffic here.

“They’re been plowing for 20 years. How can they stop?”

His neighbors agree.

Moody Street runs in an arc from Hanover Street around to Smith Street, crossing property owned by the Madison-Skowhegan Elks, which has a parking lot there. For the town to take the street over as a public way, property owners on Hanover Street would have to agree to easements for their backyards.

The problem, according to Road Commissioner Greg Dore and Skip Hodgdon, chairman of the Elks lodge board of trustees, is that the Elks club actually owns not only the parking lot, but the whole stretch of paved street to Hanover Street, including one of two houses there. The other house is on Hanover Street, an accepted town road, not Moody Street.

Hodgdon said in a letter to the town that his board “has no interest” in seeing the section of Moody Street that crosses their property becoming a town-accepted road. They oppose giving up any of their parking lot behind the lodge, which is on Silver Street.

Moody Street fell through the cracks when the last six private streets to become town-accepted roads were taken over at Town Meeting in 2010.

“They took over the others a couple of years ago, but they missed this one — it was here,” Bolstridge said.

The difference between then and now is the fact that all of the landowners in 2010 benefited from the move. This time, there are abutters whose backyards are on Moody Street and might not want to provide easements to allow the street to be a town way.

Skowhegan selectmen agreed 5-0 at their last meeting three weeks ago to have the town manager send registered letters to three property owners in the area and to get a cost estimate on a survey to see what the results of making Moody Street a town way would mean to residents and abutters.

In the meantime, the town will continue “in good faith” to plow the street. A legal opinion from the town attorney said it is against the Maine Constitution for a municipality to spend taxpayer money maintaining or cleaning up private property.

Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand said the town has limited options if officials are unable to obtain easements from the abutters to Moody Street. She said the estimated cost of the survey would come in at about $1,950, a cost that could be picked up by the town’s legal fund. She said town officials are not sure, without a survey, where the property lines are and how much of Moody Street is on Elks property.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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