SKOWHEGAN — The little street that wasn’t a real street is now a public way following a unanimous 5-0 vote on an agreement Tuesday night by the Board of Selectmen.

Moody Street, a short dogleg with three houses on it that was scheduled to be closed to winter maintenance because it’s not an accepted road, is now subject to a public easement, meaning it can be plowed and sanded in the winter, as it has been for decades.

“All of the abutters have signed it,” Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand said Wednesday of an agreement to be recorded at the Somerset County Registry of Deeds. “It’s all signed; they’re all on there.”

Helene Bolstridge, who with her husband, Charles, both 78, first raised the matter with selectmen in November 2016, said the agreement works for them. She said they finally got what they want, but they had to get a lawyer to do so.

“That’s what we wanted. That was our main concern — for them to plow,” she said Wednesday afternoon by phone. “Everything’s resolved. Everything’s fine. The neighbors were cooperative. No complaints. It was a hard fight, but we made it. The lawyer cost enough; they don’t come cheap.”

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. In exchange for the winter maintenance, the town agrees that it will not be responsible for street maintenance or road repairs during the summer, or the condition of the street surface caused by plowing and sanding or wear and tear over time.

“There’s been an agreement drafted by the attorneys,” Almand said in October when the agreement was first presented to the board. “Basically, it’s a compromise where we plow the road, but they’re still responsible for maintenance by having selectmen name the road a town way — a public easement.”

Tuesday’s vote came with no fanfare and no public input despite having been an issue raised by residents a year ago when they feared being snowed in for the winter.

Selectmen discussed the matter last November and asked Almand to get legal advice from lawyer Ken Lexier, the town attorney. The Bolstridges and other abutters got their own lawyer, Bill Lee, of Waterville, when it appeared they would not be getting what they wanted.

Lee said Wednesday that the Bolstridges took the agreement and met with their neighbors and they all approved it.

“The selectmen, of course, have approved it; and once they vote it a public easement, it is now legal for the town to be able to plow the road as the town has done for at least a couple of generations,” Lee said.

The filing fee at the registry, which is to be paid by the residents and had been a bone of contention, amounts to $125 to be split three ways, meaning the Bolstridges and two other property owners who use Moody Street to get to their properties are to pay $41.67 each for the filings.

“This whole mater worked out exactly how municipal law should be done, with the parties negotiating in good faith and looking at various possibilities and then coming to a solution that everyone is happy with,” Lee said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]



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