Placed at the very end of the public hearing handout, you will find the proposed changes in Article V Operation of Off Highway Road Vehicles Chapter 120:15-19. (read here page 83-88)
The primary changes that the Board of Selectmen (BOS) are considering will allow Off Road Vehicles to travel ALL of Western Ave from Route 114 to Hillsboro town line, Hall Ave., Davison Road from Liberty Hill to Mobile Station, Gulf Road and Emery Hill Road.
The history: the off road vehicle trail system has been quietly developed on Rural Residential property for many years. In March of 2014 the BOS adopted Article V Chapter 120:15-19 sanctioning the use of these Rural Residential properties for this extremely large interconnected recreational roadway. It is been said that this behind the scenes roadway system now stretches through numerous towns.(read here Item #2) (read here Item #1)
Some of the comments regarding limited use by local’s only, made by residents in support of adoption of this policy and found in the minutes linked above, are extremely misleading.
Last summer, I spoke directly with several Weare residents who were passing through Henniker on this roadway system heading north into Sutton.
However, many properties are posted and the system at points is interrupted. It is at these interruption points that many towns allow these Off Road Vehicles to travel town roads to reach the next entry way onto the trail.
Billed as a system of recreation trails in the sparsely populated sections of the town, this system did not draw the attention of the residents of the much more densely populated town center.
However, in May of 2016, the BOS held hearings where the trail system’s numerous problems, which have recently developed, were discussed: (read here Item #4)
- “Martha Sunderland stated the trail is great and the Club is great however if we expand then there are costs to this. She spends thousands fixing her road. She thinks the trail network has expanded so fast that the town has not caught up with how to handle it.”(read here item #1)
- Mike Schoenegge stated that he knows the Club is working hard on this. He wants to express his formal concern again. He and his family have been Henniker taxpayers for four decades and he has had to expend quite a bit of money for repairs to the roads.The Barletta property considerable damage and then was shut down by Fish and Game. He does not think the town has budgeted appropriate resources for this issue. He would like to see a cost analysis done. How does the town decide what roads to open and are the abutters notified? We never were. If you open more paved roads, it will drive the users to unpaved roads. (read here item #1)
Leon Parker stated that we have the same arguments every year. He had 10 people recently near his homeboth adults and kids. This requestis for a change in the ordinance and is separate than the other issues. Hewould like the Board to find a way to deal with inappropriate activity. (read here Item #1)
Pat Fuchs asked for help as she is having problems with 4wheelers who are digging up the driveway and in their pool. She has called the police and they referred her to the Town Administrator. (read here Item #1)
- Comments from June 21, 2016 BOS meeting
It is clear from all of these discussions that these trails have created destruction and vandalism. Private property owners who have property on the trail system have shared their stories of the loss of peace, tranquility and personal property.
Important questions that need to be considered:
- Why are we even considering bringing these types of vehicles into the center of town, where the population has a higher density and much more automobile & pedestrian traffic? How much peace and tranquility will the residents of Western Ave, Hall Ave and Davison Road lose?
- Did any of these homeowners, along these downtown routes, ever expect the roads right in front of their homes to be used for Off Road Vehicles?
OHB doubts very much that homeowners in the downtown area ever thought that Off Road Vehicles would be traveling right in front of their homes.
OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…PEACE!