Great Valley board addresses Eagle Forest Road maintenance issue

Responsibility for the maintenance of Eagle Forest Road, a DEC limited-access road to state land, may come down to an agreement between the DEC and town of Great Valley.

GREAT VALLEY — The question over who will maintain the condition of Eagle Forest Road — a state Department of Environmental Conservation limited-access road with a private drive and several homes built off of it — came to a head at the December meeting of the Great Valley Town Board.

During the Dec. 14 meeting, the town board approved pursuing entering an agreement with the DEC to have the town maintain a section of Eagle Forest Road for plowing this winter.

Although Eagle Forest Road is a limited-access road to state land, a private drive with houses was built off of it and approved by the town board in the 1990s. After the property owner who previously plowed Eagle Forest Road died, there was no plan to say who should maintain the road for the safety of the residents of the private drive.

In the fall, Brown approved sending town highway equipment up to clear brush and clean the ditch along Eagle Forest Road. At November’s meeting, Goode questioned if the town should have used equipment on a road that wasn’t theirs, citing a liability issue.

“I want to know if this town board thinks I did something wrong by sending these guys up there, weather permitting, to cut the brush and clean the ditch,” Brown said.

“I didn’t say liability for the trucks, I said liability. When I said that, I meant for the town to be on a road that we have no agreement with,” Goode said. “The attorney was going to look into it for us and let us know what we could do to get something in place so we could be up there.”

Town attorney Peter Sorgi said the town should enter into a temporary agreement with the DEC in order to plow the road this winter. He said the temporary agreement should include everything the town would want to do in a long-term agreement, such as cut brush and keep up the road conditions, in case the long-term agreement takes a couple of years to approve.

Sogri said the town maintaining the road has a public benefit because the houses provide a tax base revenue. He said there is also a public safety responsibility because if there was a fire and the road was in poor condition to access the houses, the town would be liable for approving building houses off a road that isn’t maintained.

“You would easily be able to justify the public benefit and the public safety obligation,” he added. “Your options are to do nothing and let it go as it is and let them figure it out or authorize the supervisor to execute the temporary permit application and the long-term agreement.”

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com)

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