Path to TL road dedication smoothed out

TUPPER LAKE — A new town law updating standards for road dedication was passed at a town board meeting Thursday, making it the first local law passed by the town this year.

When someone dedicates a road to the town, it becomes the town’s responsibility to maintain it, and the municipality is able to add utilities to the right of way. The new specifications put more of the work building the road in the hands of the dedicators and lay out requirements for a road to be accepted.

Town Highway Superintendent Billy Dechene said at the meeting that the current specifications for what the town will accept are from the mid 1970s and need updating.

“It protects the taxpayer,” town Councilman Michael Dechene said of the update.

The town will not have to put down gravel and install drainage, lowering the maintenance cost paid by taxpayers. The new rules also set specific diameters for culverts. And while gravel roads have been accepted in the past, now they will need a hard surface of at least 3-and-a-half inches of asphalt binder base.

These updates are supposed to make the road adoption process more clear for the dedicators, having them provide data for the project, from the locations of surrounding property lines to the density of the compacted sub-grade. Plans must be accepted by the highway superintendent and town board before the road can be accepted.

The law also leaves room for the town supervisor’s digression, allowing the supervisor to waive portions of the requirements if compliance would cause “extraordinary hardship.” The law also states that “The town reserves the right to not accept a roadway,” even if “all portions of these standards have been met.”

Before a road can be incorporated, the law says, it must be certified by a professional engineer, hired and paid for by the designator.

Before the law was passed unanimously, a public hearing on it was held, with no members of the public commenting.

A committee organized by Dechene, town attorney Curt Gagnier, town councilman John Quinn and town code enforcement Officer Paul O’Leary worked for months to put together this list of standards.

Gagnier said much of the language was taken from the Cornell Cooperative Local Roads Program, with recommendations specifically for Tupper Lake-sized towns taken into consideration.

The committee also borrowed languages from copies of other towns’ and villages’ versions of road standards, obtained through the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages.

When town Supervisor Pattie Littlefield was asked if there was any specific road in mind with these new requirements, she said there was nothing specific and said it was a law for anyone looking to dedicate a road in the future.

Littlefield said anyone with a road he or she is looking to dedicate, or part of a road he or she is are looking to finish, should take a look at the new requirements from the town clerk.

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