More Markham Lane residents attend Weston board with runoff problems

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

From left, Barbara Lloyd, Jenny Server and Jack Menzie explain the runoff situation. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

Seven residents of Weston’s Markham Lane showed up at the Weston Select Board meeting on Oct. 10 asking for more action on the excessive water run off on their street.

In early September, Markham Lane residents Barbara Lloyd and Jenny Server brought the problem to the attention of the board, saying that in the past seven years — but especially this year — water has rushed down from Orton Lane to Markham, damaging their driveways and garden beds. Then two weeks ago, several residents had attended a walking meeting with Agency of Transportation engineer Marc Pickering. But they returned to the Select Board saying that more needed to be done.

Residents Carolyn Mullet and Jack Menzie both said that there are ditches at their homes that should not be there — Mullet’s at her mailbox and Menzie’s in front of his home.

Rivulets along Orton Lane can be seen.

Road Foreman Almon Crandall summarized Pickering’s recommendations, saying that above the Lloyd driveway, the town would “remove some of the ridge and let the water sheet through the stone wall onto the lawn to see if we can keep some of it from running down the road.”

He also suggested that some homeowners install stone-lined swales to catch the water and prevent erosion from their property and the swales. On Orton Lane, the town would build the road up to direct the water toward a culvert.

Jenny Server and Butch Jelley both asked why landowners would have to bear an expense to lay new stone or paved driveways and line swales with stone to repair a problem they did not create .

Select Board member Ann Fuji’i says another engineer could be brought in.

Resident Ellie Smith said the situation got worse when a house above her got graded two years ago and sure pack was forced onto her driveway. Carolyn Mullet said since grading was done by Crandall, the water no longer goes into her driveway, but still pours onto her lawn. Server agreed, saying, “it is just our beautiful green lawns” at risk.  He added that there has long been concerns about runoff from a small subdivision that was added about five years ago, and “here we are. Why is it suddenly our expense and our problem?”

Crandall said his job is to get the water off the road into a ditch, but there are no culverts. He also said water used to flow down tire tracks, but they have been filled in, so without drainage ditches, the water runs onto private property. According to Crandall, Pickering said that one solution was to pave the road and the driveways.

Board member Charles Goodwin said when he visited the site earlier in the day he saw rivulets of water that were not coming from the development, but from Orton Lane.

Board chair Denis Benson said the board will explore the issue further and do some “creative grading.”

Fuji’i said bringing in Pickering was just a first step and did not preclude bringing in another engineer. Fuji’i told The Telegraph that the road had been one lane for many years, but new state regulations said it had to be wide enough for two-way traffic. With not enough land for a two lane road plus proper drainage, the water is instead running down residents’ property.

Following a meeting this past Monday between residents and Select Board members, it was decided that  the town will do some grading work that might alleviate the situation, according to board member Charles Goodwin. He added that Crandall will work to alleviate the problem of water flowing down Orton Lane right into Barbara Lloyd’s property by diverting it into an upper culvert.

But, Goodwin noted, more ditches would “not be attractive to the neighbors” and would narrow their lawns. He added that grading might help and “sure as Dickens won’t hurt.”

Water grant, trench box, snowmobilers and painting bids

Almon Crandall back tracked on a proposal to purchase a trench box.

In other business, Crandall said the town is the first in the state to have largely completed work on a clean water grant stemming from Act 64. In the process, there are now more than 500 spots to document, alleviate and plan for. Crandall said the state will sample and test water from every culvert in the village.

After a private citizen at an early October meeting said that he thought that the roads crew did not need a trench box — a safety appliances that protect workers while they in deep excavation — Crandall returned to this meeting to agree, although he had put in the earlier request for the $6,500 purchase.  If a ditch will be greater than 5 feet deep, Crandall can make the ditch wider and “shelf” the sides or bring in a contractor with his own trench box. The board agreed not to purchase a trench box.

The board authorized Benson to sign an agreement with Derry Sled Dogs that allows the club’s use of certain town roads that are also used for snowmobiles. Club member Mike Doane, who was at the meeting to answer any questions, said any member of the club can ride any VAST trail in the state.

And two contractors expected to bid on painting two sides of the Town Annex building, used by the Little School, did not submit bids. Little School Treasurer Christine Falango said the building has passed its essential maintenance inspection for this school year, but she would like to see the painting before next fall, preferably in the spring. She said she will contact one contractor and see who else she can get to bid on the project.


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