Sand Pit Plans Described

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This view looking down from a turn on the existing Lake Road shows the region where the planned new road is to be built.

Photo by Lester Smith

This view looking down from a turn on the existing Lake Road shows the region where the planned new road is to be built.

Recognizing that many residents of the South Pond region were interested in what would be happening to Lake Road, First Selectman Melissa Mack invited the proprietors of Lake Road Materials to attend a public meeting and describe their plans. Scott Guilmartin and Frank Bauchiero agreed, and the meeting was held at Suffield Middle School on July 25.

First Selectman Mack made clear that the subject was to be future plans, not rehashing old grievances. In that vein, Guilmartin announced that construction of a new road required by the now-updated 2014 permit was planned to start within the next 30 days. It will be better than before, and located in the wide pit excavated years ago to the south of the existing road. A new turning circle for school busses will be built at the end of the new road.

He said Lake Road Materials will eventually grant permanent access on the new road with an unconditional easement or simply transfer the road to the Town for one dollar.

The portion of the old road on sand pit property will eventually be removed, trees and other landscaping will be planted, along with other restorations. Eventual use of the full parcel is uncertain.

Public questions began with a query about controlling dirt bikes and ATVs that frequent the property. Guilmartin said gates and barriers were planned; Mack added that police patrols would be increased.

When asked about timing, Guilmartin promised that the old road would remain available until the new road was ready. There were questions about two-way traffic problems, in the meantime, especially on the first, quarter-mile, segment of Lake Road, which has been abandoned by its previous owners. Town Attorney Derek Donnelly explained that the Town was in the process of acquiring ownership. Cars must share this section with trucks throughout the sand removal operation. Here, when two vehicles approach each other, one may have to pull off and pause, especially for the trucks. At this time the meeting became a bit raucous, with shouts of “It won’t be me!” and the like.

Mack warned that she might adjourn the meeting, and she mentioned that police were present. The meeting continued with only minor shouting. Complaints included hours of operation, the volume of truck traffic, the effect on land values, potholes on Pilgrim Road, and some general expressions of distrust.

One major concern was the danger of collisions at the Copper Hill Road corner where Lake Road begins. Mack asked Sergeant Justin Nelson, one of the policemen present, to comment on this. He spoke of the difficulties of realigning Copper Hill Road at this spot and reminded us that the basic responsibility for safety falls on the driver.

Other issues included the Town’s occasional paving of some private roads though paving is not now planned for Lake Road, and a possible connection of Lake Road to Pine Road (part of the Griffin Road neighborhood),

By mid-August, there had been no visible activity on site except for some Town surveying on the problematic first segment of Lake Road. ζ

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