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Garwin Falls parking final hearing on Sept. 10

  • A grave at Vale End Cemetery in Wilton. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, August 30, 2018 10:35AM

After taking public comment, the Wilton Select Board has proposed an addition to the parking ordinance with steeper fines for those parking at the Vale End Cemetery to walk to Garwin Falls.

Garwin Falls in Wilton, part of a trail that can be accessed from Isaac Frye Highway, only has space for a few parking spaces at the trailhead. Parking spilling onto the roadsides has been a major issue for the town since last year.

The town has already tightened parking restrictions for the roads surrounding the falls, leading to people parking at the nearby Vale End Cemetery instead.

A new ordinance outlines Burns Hill Road, School Drive and Pellerin Road, near the Horseshoe swimming hole, and Isaac Frye Highway and Puntnam Hill Road, near Garwin Falls as “problematic” parking areas. Those that park on those roads will be subject to fines of $100, instead of the $25 fine for parking violations in other parts of town.

The town’s cemeteries, including Vale End Cemetery, are also subject to the same $100 fine for unattended vehicles.

During its Monday meeting, the Select Board approved the wording of the ordinance and agreed to move forward with the final public hearing before making it official. 

Selectmen Kermit Williams noted that the Vale End Cemetery has a posted sign stating unattended cars will be towed. He said that sign isn’t enforceable without a town ordinance to back it. 

Residents will have the opportunity to give final input on the ordinance during a public hearing on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at the town hall, prior to the regular Select Board meeting.

Resident Deb Mortvedt spoke with the Select Board about a community meeting she’s led the week before, where parking and trash issues at both Garwin Falls and the Horseshoe were discussed. 

Resident Ruth Smith, who attended the beginning of that meeting, but left after seeing that Williams was in attendance, told Williams and Selectman Matt Fish that she objected to Williams and members of the media attending that meeting, which she said was intended for residents, not elected officials. She said Williams’ presence was “inappropriate.”

Williams told Smith that the meeting had been held in the Town Hall, and was thus a public forum. In future, he said, if meetings for residents were held in someone’s home or another private venue, organizers could invite or exclude anyone they wanted.