Dublin to discuss parking issues on Lake Road

  • Vehicles parked along Lake Road in Dublin. Courtesy image—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/17/2021 3:55:44 PM

Parking concerns on Lake Road in Dublin are set to be discussed at a public hearing later in April. Board members scheduled the hearing after several community members voiced concerns about parking along the narrow dirt road that runs along Dublin Lake at their meeting Monday night. This is not the first town’s run-in with the issue: just last spring, the town opted not to enforce “No Trespassing” signs that appeared on a piece of lake shoreline within the road’s public right-of-way.

A draft letter by the Dublin Lake Preservation Society prompted Monday night’s discussion. The letter, which the Society sent to the Select Board for consideration, proposes a parking ban on the waterfront side of the road to protect water quality in the face of eroding banks and heavy traffic, and was meant to be sent to property owners along the lake to solicit feedback. Resident Steve Baldwin requested a discussion about it with the Select Board over his concerns that the measure would “privatize” the public lake. Former Society Chair Felicity Pool refuted that claim. “This is purely ecological water conservation,” she said, based on an August 2020 water sample that logged a “concerning” level of phosphorus following a drought and a summer of extremely high activity at the lake, partly prompted by the COVID-19-related outdoor activity boom. The lake also tested high for phosphorus in 2018, according to the letter. There are a number of other water quality preservation efforts that could be enacted around the lake beyond parking issues, Pool said, citing improvements from the water bar that was installed at the Pumpelly Trail access point.

Select Board member Carol Monroe also defended the intent of the proposal. “This is really about the condition and quality of the lake, and keeping it high quality,” she said. “We’re not preventing parking [on] the other side of the road,” she said. The narrowness of the road precludes parking on both sides of the road, and such a proposal would give a consistency and clarity to the parking situation around the lake, Monroe said. She reminded attendees that the town had no authority over issues regarding Route 101, which borders the lake to the North, and that there simply won’t be enough parking on the busiest days at the lake, period. “We’re not talking about putting in a parking lot,” she said.

Last summer’s high traffic led to a variety of problems and concerns, attendees said: residents got their driveways blocked, and some local users couldn’t access their houseboats and private accesses along the lake. Resident Jeff Clough said that he didn’t want to see any parking on Lake Road. “I have a business to run,” he said, and that he drives through at least six times a day. “I don’t want to have to wait.” Clough said he would be willing to solicit signatures for a full ban.

The state’s Public Water Access Advisory Board Chair Thomas Quarles voiced particular concern over the Society’s intent to limit parking around the lake’s public water access area, referred to in the letter as the “boat launch area,” due to previous issues with the town’s following of the area’s deed, which permits swimming, fishing, and picnicking there, he said. “I see no environmental need for restricting parking access on the water side of the public water access area. It is wide open with little or no slope to the water, so there is no issue with erosion of banks that the Selectboard cites as justification for their proposal,” he wrote.

The Select Board scheduled the public hearing on the matter for April 19 at 7 p.m. They did not determine whether the meeting will be virtual, in-person, or hybrid.


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