New parking set up for Quarry

DORSET - Just along Route 30 in Dorset, drivers can get a small peek into the upper portion of the Dorset Marble Quarry, the first marble quarry in the country. On a hot summer day, those looking for a refreshing swim have been known to park along Kelly Road to reach the cold waters of the now-flooded quarry.

However, this parking arrangement has posed a problem for residents along Black Rock Lane, who grow concerned that parallel-parked cars along the road will prevent emergency vehicles from reaching them if needed.

"As use increases, the area off [Black Rock Lane] becomes clogged, especially as it gets hot," said Dorset Town Manager Rob Gaiotti. The lane provides access to upwards of 10 homes, and even more potentially developable lots.

"There has been a lot of talk about trying to do something," said Gaiotti. "We met with owners to come up with options."

Through work with the residents of the lane, and owner of the entity that owns the quarry Richard McDonough, the town of Dorset was able to find a resolution to the parking problem.

"We ultimately decided it was the best solution... to give the northern part of the island to the town," said McDonough.

He participated in a land-swap with the town, which resulted in him receiving the rights to the southern part of Kelly Road.

Rather than merging with Kelly Road, Black Rock Lane has been altered to come straight down and connect with Route 30. The northern section of Kelly Lane has been removed, and has become a dead-end at its former intersection with Black Rock Lane.

"This makes the Black Rock Lane neighborhood readily accessible for emergency vehicles as well as personal vehicles," said Gaiotti. "The new intersection with Route 30 is also safer and conforms with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) guidelines, whereas the old Kelly Road intersections did not meet current AOT guidelines."

In addition to changes in the flow of traffic, the parking along the roads have changed. There will no longer be parking on Black Rock Lane, a private road.

"At this point, Route 30 and Black Rock Lane will be tow away no parking zones," said Gaiotti, "and the only area for quarry goers to park will be along the southern portion of old Kelly Road."

McDonough explained that at one time, parking along Route 30 posed a problem for motorists, even causing some accidents. The choice to eliminate parking on Route 30 forced visitors to park farther down Kelly Road, closer to Black Rock Lane.

In places where the roads have been removed, there will be seeding and planting of trees. The northern half of Kelly Lane, where there will no longer be a road, will be seeded and mulched, along with the planting of trees such as white cedar and spruce, according to survey maps of the area. The now dead-end of the road will also be seeded and planted with trees to provide a barrier between its termination and the edge of Black Rock Lane.

"The town did most of the construction and removal," said Gaiotti. "The equipment was lent, rent-free, for two weeks from Brent Herrmann [of Herrmann Construction] ... and Michael Connors donated the road material. If it wasn't for [the donations] and the assistance from McDonough, we wouldn't have been able to make a solution. Everyone has been very great to work with."

Gaiotti explained that thanks to the donations of road material and equipment, including a large excavator, roller and bulldozer, the town was able to turn an approximately $40,000 project into an approximately $10,000 project.

"If we had hired Brent [Herrmann] as a contractor, it would have cost the town around $20,000 for the few weeks of equipment rental," said Gaiotti. "We also used old road material [from the northern half of Kelly Road], which saved us a lot of money."

In addition to the work done to alter the shape and termination of these roads, McDonough has plans to widen the southern half of Kelly Road to better accommodate parking. He also said that the town has given him the right to rename the road, which he expressed he does not consider a road anymore, but rather a parking lot.

"We are doing all of this voluntarily... we don't have an obligation to allow parking," said McDonough. "We are counting on people to demonstrate good behavior... it is private property and we reserve the right to close it off. We are doing this to be good neighbors."

The project will be wrapped up within the next couple of weeks, according to Gaiotti, but the roads are currently accessable. There are still some signs to be installed, and by mid-summer they plan to have the apron of Black Rock Lane paved where it meets Route 30.


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