Gorham Selectmen Vote Down OHRV Expansion

Focus shifts to finding a better alternative

Kirstan Lukasak
Berlin Daily Sun

May 27, 2014


GORHAM--The selectmen last week unanimously voted down the proposed plan to allow OHRV use on Crestwood Drive. The meeting drew a large crowd of residents eager to hear the verdict on OHRV use on Crestwood Drive.

A tally of the numbers show that from those residents who would be directly impacted by the expansion, 11 were in favor, 15 were opposed and five did not comment either way.

"It was very helpful to get everyone's opinion. We had to look at all the options available to make the best decision for the residents in that area. I realize that there will be many resident who disagree with our choice not to open the road for use, but I really feel that there are better alternatives out there," explained Selectman Bill Jackson.

As promised the state did review the use of OHRV on Jimtown Road and a small portion of Route 2. The state did not have a problem with opening the section of Jimtown Road to the trail connector. However, the state said they would not allow use on Route 2 from the parking lot to Jimtown Road.

The Bureau of Trails and Department of Transportation cited safety concerns with traffic traveling at high speeds to and from Randolph Hill. It was suggested that the use of the rail trail be brought to the table for future discussion.

" The use of the rail trail would be a separate hearing, with an additional request made to the state for evaluation. From there we would be able to make a determination," said Town Manager Robin Frost.

Chief P.J. Cyr addressed concerns that residents have with the current OHRV use in that area. During the public hearing residents noted issues, like speed, noise, and trespassing and even public urination.

Cyr researched the complaints and found that there were only 15 complaints on record from January 1, 2013 to present.

"It is important that residents call with concerns about OHRV use. If we have that information on file we can respond accordingly to the complaints," stated Cyr.

The main consensus from the last Monday's meeting was a need for change. The selectmen agreed that it isn't fair that the town should have to choose between having trail access or putting OHRV trails in residents backyards. Several changes need to be made to better accommodate residents.

"The town needs to forcefully address the current location of the trail, parking lot and the area beyond the sand pit. At this point we need to talk to the state about making physical changes to the trail based on the proximity to residential areas," said Jackson.

Jackson stressed the importance that the state plays in the management and placement of trails, and believes that more responsibility needed to fall on its shoulders.


 

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