Falmouth council gives OK for road parallel to Route 1

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FALMOUTH — Motorists may soon have a town-sanctioned way to get from Clearwater Drive near Tidewater Village to Lunt Road without using Route 1.

The short-cut could happen if a public-private partnership between the town, Walmart and the Falmouth Plaza owners is negotiated.

Plans for Hat Trick Drive have been in the works for more than four years, but have been waylaid by high bids and Walmart’s proposed expansion. The road is already built, but not technically a town road.

The new arrangement, which grants Falmouth an easement over the Falmouth Plaza property, does not affect Walmart’s plans for expansion.

“It looks identical, whether the expansion happens or not,” Town Manager Nathan Poore said.

The project began when the town cited Walmart for a zoning ordinance violation for selling garden products outside the building. Instead of paying a fine, the town arranged for an easement for public access to Hat Trick Drive.

Plans to convert the road from an access road to a public road have gone out to bid twice. The second time, Chase Excavation was the lowest bidder, but then, Poore said, Walmart began planning its expansion and renegotiating its arrangement with the Falmouth Plaza owners, which added delays.

On Monday, the Town Council voted unanimously to let the town manager negotiate the agreement for the road. Councilor Fred Chase recused himself because his son owns Chase Excavation.

The town will pay 25 percent or $100,000 for the project, whichever is less.

Poore said the whole group would have to decide whether to go out to bid again, or see if Chase Excavation is still interested.

“This will create parallel inter-connectivity, something that’s been a goal for a while,” Poore said.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.