Plans for a proposed recreation trail located in the town forest land behind the Moretown Elementary School have been halted following the discovery that the trail crosses existing waterlines serving nearby property owners.
Members of the Moretown Select Board discussed the project at their August 2 meeting. Select board chair John Hoogenboom said he and property owner Eugene Grandfield walked the site of the proposed trail last week.
Hoogenboom said that the several planned switchbacks of the proposed
trail "looked as if it was planned to cross it," in reference to how the
placement of said switchbacks traversed several buried water lines.
The Safe Routes to School Committee was awarded a $19,000 grant to initiate and design the three-mile loop trail through the town forest. The grant was awarded by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and would not cost the town anything.
According to Safe Routes liaison Matt Strassberg, the three-mile loop trail through the town forest was intended to provide schoolchildren a safe way to travel to and from the school, as well as offer recreational, pedestrian and bicycle access to townspeople.
The trail was incorporated into the town's land management plan, according to Strassberg; the trail was to be six feet wide in order to accommodate traffic from two directions.
Some town officials discussed voting on the proposed trail on Town Meeting day to garner further public input before moving forward.
Following a year's worth of discussion, the town approved the proposed recreation trail in November with the contingency that the school board, planning commission and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife all offer their support.
While the school board initially approved the recreation trail, Hoogenboom relayed that they "didn't want anything to do with the liability" associated with the landowners' waterlines.
"You don't fool around with water rights," he said.