Kelley Stand to reopen

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In a meeting held Monday, Sept. 8, the Sunderland Select Board heard an update on the condition of the road and the work left to be done.

According to the Kelley Stand Road flood repairs project information, written in August, 2012, the road suffered severe damage as a result of Tropical Storm Irene the year before.

"The town of Sunderland incurred significant financial expense to repair the western 2.3 miles of road for year-round residents access immediately following the flood in the fall of 2011," the document states. "The eastern 4.2 miles of road received comparatively minor damage ... the portion of the road between these sections has not been repaired and remains closed to the public."

Portions of the road have been closed since 2011. In 2012, the Forest Service released a memorandum about the repairs to be done to the road. This project was paid for by the Federal Highway Administration, through the Forest Service.

Now, those repairs are nearing an end and the road will soon be opened. Cubby Ennis, select board member, said there are a few more updates, like some guard rails going up on two bridges, before the road will be reopened.

Peter Luca, a Sunderland resident, said there are a few more things that need to be done before the road is reopened. Specifically, he has concerns about one location, known as site 11, where the embankment of the road has shifted.

"I'm concerned that those rocks are going to come tumbling down in the winter time," Luca said. "And the town's going to end up with a blocked road."

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Mark Hyde, chairman of the select board, said they are aware that portions of the road may have some unstable land where rocks will come down for a few years, while it all settles. Ennis said the Forest Service will be adding signs to alert travelers to falling rocks. Luca was also concerned that at night, the road will be difficult to see. He said he would like to see reflector poles to be added. Rick Goddard also said the site Luca mentioned concerns him. He said the embankment is very steep. Trees were removed, so it makes it difficult for drivers to see at night.

"It would be nice, if there was something, even temporarily until stuff started to grow up to delineate between the road and the river," Goddard said. The board agreed to wait until their next meeting, on Sept. 15, to officially re-open the road.

In other business, Hyde said there has been discussion lately on Front Porch Forum, the social media site regarding information about town government and happenings, about how to get more people involved in local government. He said Sunderland has been having trouble filling open positions, some of which include compensation. Some of the discussion on forum suggested a survey be circulated, but the board decided the survey idea would not help them gauge why participation is low.

The current open positions in town include two openings on the planning board, a lister, an auditor and zoning administrator.

"These are positions that are open routinely. The lister hasn't been filled for years," he said. "We just can't get people to come in. the lister is a paid position. The auditor is a paid position, it's 20 bucks an hour ... it actually pays something. No one wants to do it."

Hyde said if these positions stay open, contractors would have to be hired. After some discussion, the board decided to post meeting agendas to Front Porch Forum, to help disseminate the information.

Finally, the town hall construction is ongoing. Hyde said the walls and ceilings are up. A November opening is anticipated.


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