Old Two Rod Highway added to voting schedule

The Board of Selectmen on April 17 approved discontinuing Old Two Rod Highway as a town road, clearing the path to put the question of closing the old road on the ballot schedule for the Annual Town Meeting on May 2 and the adjourned town meeting vote May 6.

The question will be on the flip side of the main ballot, with the budget questions.

The April 17 meeting on the road drew about 15 residents to town hall, mostly interested in learning what kind of development could take place on the road after the town discontinues its use, even though it was not a public hearing. (A public hearing was held last month.) The answer was that property owners along the stretch will probably build a long driveway, which would not be the first such long driveway in town, said First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice.

The property is zoned for single-family houses on two acres. Some of the lots along the stretch are four acres, the selectmen told the residents in the audience.

At least one or two residents suggested selling the rights to the road to the property owners there so the town can make some money, but Town Attorney Ira Bloom explained the property owners already have the right to build driveways onto the old path if they want to, so there is nothing to sell.

Old Two Rod Highway is a dirt path that extends north from the dead end of Wampum Hill Road toward the old Gilbert & Bennett wire mill.

The Planning and Zoning Commission examined the question of Old Two Rod Highway under what is known as a Connecticut Statute 8-24 referral, which means the Board of Selectmen needed its opinion before moving ahead with the disposal of the town issue. It is an advisory recommendation.

A few years ago, property owners Christopher Montanaro and Laurie Ann Deilus sued the town and the Aspetuck Land Trust to get access to a 9.8-acre parcel of land near the Wilton-Weston border, which could not be accessed by any direct right-of-way.

The duo sought a declaratory judgment that the road was a public road because they wanted access to the 9.8 acres, which they are looking to divide.

During legal proceedings, Montanaro argued that Old Two Rod Highway is a public right-of-way, even though it has been effectively abandoned for at least 50 years. The court agreed with Montanaro that it was a town road that had not been legally abandoned.

This left the town with the option of either leaving the road as is or discontinuing it, which frees the town of liability for accidents and upkeep.