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Plan to address parking issues at Wilton reservoir moves ahead

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/29/2020 4:26:42 PM

The Wilton Select Board is moving forward with a plan to limit parking on Sand Hill Road by making it one-way.

Parking on the narrow road has become problematic as the town has cracked down on parking near the entrance to nearby Garwin Falls. Select Board Chair Matt Fish referred to it as like “squeezing a balloon,” where the excess simply pops out somewhere else.

Residents of the road have complained of litter, campfires, and in excess of 30 cars parking on both sides of the road, causing concerns about access to a dry hydrant on the road and blocking emergency vehicles from traveling down Sand Hill Road.

During a public hearing Monday night, the Select Board reviewed two possible amendments to the town’s ordinances. The first was to make Sand Hill Road a one-way street during the hot months, to cut down on the excessive parking on the street by people looking for access to the Garwin Falls and the Wilton Reservoir. The other, a more general order, gives police the authority to shut down or change roadway directions, with approval of the Select Board, during emergency situations. The shutdowns could stand for up to 90 days, and then extend with a review of the Select Board.

Wilton Police Lt. John Frechette drafted both ordinances and said the second ordinance would allow the change of direction on Sand Hill Road, while also giving the town flexibility in other, similar instances. 

Though the board had originally discussed an ordinance more specific to Sand Hill Road, the board appeared to lean in favor of the more general ordinance during discussions.

The board intends to vote on the issue during its next scheduled meeting, with a majority of the board indicating they were in favor of adopting the general ordinance.

The board also continued the discussion of the future of the reservoir. In previous meetings, the board discussed reviving a town committee to review the use of the reservoir, which is open for swimming, fishing and boating, and coming up with a firmer management plan. 

The board received 35 applications from potential committee members, and announced the appointees on Monday. Residents Deb Abrahams-Dematte, Gerry Coffey, Donna Crane, Dov Jaffe, Dan Ross and Karon Walker will join a representative of the police, Fire Chief Don Nourse, a representative of the emergency services, and Bart Hunter of the Conservation Commission. Meetings of the committee will be public and posted on the town’s website. 


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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