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Town and Village

Putney gets a new road

PUTNEY—How do you turn a driveway into a road?

Normally, you don’t. But, sometimes you do.

Putney’s Fire Chief Tom Goddard recently sent a memo to Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard and members of the Selectboard explaining the unusual circumstances leading to a driveway becoming a named road.

The new owners of a piece of property needed an address. In keeping with Vermont’s Enhanced 9-1-1 (E-911) regulations, they contacted Goddard.

This property was a result of a subdivision from one of its neighboring parcels. As Goddard explained in his memo, “the property is located between #210 and #212 South Pine Banks Road."

“As such,” he continued, “there is no allowance for a sequential address to be inserted.” As selectboard members and Stoddard noted, 211 Pine Banks Road, if not already assigned, would have to be on the other side of the road. Partial addresses are also not allowed, so 210 1/2 would not work, they said.

Goddard noted only two options in his memo: assign new E-911 addresses to the four buildings beyond #210, which he said “would be very disruptive and unfortunate for those impacted."

The other option, which Goddard deemed “more practical,” is to assign the new driveway an official private road name, and give any buildings on it their own address.

In his memo, Goddard concluded with the recognition that “the municipality does not typically endorse the official assignment of street names to private driveways,” and noted “this is an exceptional case brought about by specific and unforeseen circumstances.”

He stated, “we are not establishing a precedence with the approval of this request."

After receiving confirmation from the property owners and representatives from the Vermont E-911 Board that the second solution is the best, Goddard sent the memo to Stoddard and selectboard members for their consideration.

After some discussion, including which entity pays for the road sign — Putney — and which entity is responsible for maintaining the road — not Putney — the selectboard unanimously voted to assign the driveway the owner’s requested official road name.

Putney, you now have a Morse Lane.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #349 (Wednesday, March 23, 2016). This story appeared on page A4.

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