GROTON -- Officials were briefed on measures being proposed for the Town Meeting warrant that will cover the status of two roadways and aligning regulations dealing with two historic districts with those of the state.

In the latter, Historic Districts Commission Chairman Daniel Barton told selectmen Monday that adjustments to the town's bylaw regarding what was allowed within the districts needed to be more specific.

Barton said the recent phenomenon of private ice-skating rinks being constructed on private property within sight of Main Street and Farmers Row raised questions about the nature of temporary structures the HDC never had to consider before.

New wording suggested for the bylaw dealing with the historic districts would not only give the HDC guidance but clear explanations to residents as to what was allowed.

A second amendment to the bylaw dealing with HDC's responsibility of maintaining the viewshed within sight of district boundaries would make explicit what is already well within the authority of the commission.

According to attorney Robert Collins, the change to the bylaw would not alter how the commission reviews cases, which is granted to them under state law, but puts down in black and white for anyone to see exactly what they are responsible for.

The changes to the bylaw will reflect existing state law.


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Although the amendments met with general approval from board members, no decision on recommendation was made at the Oct. 7 meeting. A public hearing on the issue has been scheduled by the HDC for next week.

Collins also explained to selectmen requested changes in the status of a pair of widely separated roadways in town, changes that are to be placed before voters at fall town meeting.

In the case of Cow Pond Brook Road, Collins said conflicting recordings of the road layout made changes necessary.

In an early conveyance, records showed that a narrow strip of land along the edge of the road was owned by the town so that legally, homeowners whose property fronted on the road had no frontage and to access the street, they were forced to trespass on town owned property.

Collins said that the warrant article dealing with Cow Pond Brook Road would clean up the records by eliminating ownership of the 6-10 foot wide strip and turn into a simple public right of way.

On Ridgewood Road, a recent survey by homeowner Thomas Doyle found that on paper, the street ran across his 61 Ridgewood Road property and through his house.

"This is to correct an accident of history down at the lake," said Collins of the discovery.

To straighten the books, Collins said a warrant article would ask residents to approve a trade between Doyle and the town that would shift the road over and off his property.

Doyle would give the town his property on the opposite side of the road and the town would give him the land upon which his house is located, legally shifting Ridgewood Road to where it currently runs.

Selectmen voted to recommend both requests to Town Meeting.

Fall Town Meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21.

Also Monday, selectmen:

* Learned from Town Manager Mark Haddad that a survey conducted of the lot upon which Squannacook Hall is located confirmed the town owns the full width of a driveway leading from the road to the rear of the property. Ownership of the driveway was called into question by representatives of the Christian Union Church next door. Right of way over the driveway is important if plans by a private developer to convert the disused building into residential units is to succeed.

"The driveway does not sit on church property," Haddad said.

Haddad also confirmed that a separate study found that a design for a new septic system for the building would be sufficient to support five bedrooms planned for four apartments.

* Voted to appoint Joan Talent as coordinator of the payroll and grant facilitator for the Police Department. Haddad said he chose her after posting the position internally and getting one response.