FREEPORT — The Town Council Tuesday eliminated three of the town’s 178 paper streets.
The council also voted 5-1 to extend the town’s rights to the remaining paper streets for another – final – 20 years.
Paper streets are roads, streets, or plots of land that appear on a map, but do not exist in reality. Chairwoman Sarah Tracy said Tuesday that the correct terminology for a “paper street” is a “proposed unaccepted way.”
“Paper street being the colloquial term,” Tracy said.
In order to be considered a “paper street” the land must meet two requirements: it has not been built or used and has not been permanently accepted by the town.
“If (a street or plot of land) doesn’t satisfy both of those requirements, it ceases being a … proposed unaccepted way,” Tracy said.
The council received three formal requests from town residents to remove certain streets from the list.
“There is a process for those who feel that … there’s a question of the town’s listing of the plot,” Tracy said. “There can be a request made through the formal vacation process and the town is committed to going through that … there’s a way of resolving those issues without giving up interests that … may (be of) value to the town.”
The first request was made by Joyce Veilleux, of Island View Lane, to vacate paper streets on a plot of land listed by the 1997 Paper Streets Committee as “Plan Index 106” on Flying Point Shores.
According to a Sept. 14 memorandum from Town Manager Peter Joseph, the first street on Flying Point Shores, known as Island View Lane, is a “private, paved roadway.” There are approximately 12 residences located solely on Island View Lane, and another three to four appear to have access to the developed road.
According to Veilleux, Island View Lane was built in 1947 when the first homes were built on it and has been used ever since, meaning it does not meet the criteria of a “paper street” of being unbuilt or unused.
“From 1994 to the present (Island View Lane) has been maintained by the owners with no intervention from the town for … any maintenance whatsoever,” Veilleux said.
Two more “paper streets” lie in Plan Index 106 that Veilleux called paper street one and two. She requested that both paper streets be removed because the plots they lie on were purchased and are used by the owners of four properties abutting the street.
Veilleux said that neither streets appear on the town’s tax map and should never have been on the town’s list.
The council amended the 1997 list by removing the three “paper streets” on Plan Index 106 as a whole.
The second request to the town came from Michelle Seacord and Helen Clarkson of Maquoit Road.
The paper street is an unpaved portion of Maquoit Drive, which is approximately 640 feet in length, is part of “Plan Index 88.”
According to their request, the unpaved portion of Maquoit Drive “does not and did not meet the definition of a paper street … because it was built and has been used since at least the 1930s,” and has been used and maintained by abutters ever since.
A final request to eliminate a paper street on Retriever Lane was made by Robert and Trisha Wakefield.
Retriever Lane, shown as Ridge Road on the original subdivision plan, abuts eight properties. A portion of this – the paper street – remains unbuilt, wooded land.
Still, at the request of residents, the council voted to eliminate the street from the list, as they have no appetite to develop the way in the future.
Tracy stressed that, although the town was extending their rights to the remainder of the streets, they do not have any plans at the time to develop the ways.
In 2037, the town will have the option to either permanently accept or vacate any paper streets.
The council had until Friday, Sept. 29 to grant the extension.
Joseph said in the next 20 years, the town has the right to permanently accept or vacate any or all of the town’s remaining paper streets, should they see fit. The extension simply grants them more time to look into the feasibility of developing streets and any potential benefits they could lend to the town.
Councilor John Egan opposed the motion to extend rights and Councilor Lee Arris was absent. However, Chairwoman Sarah Tracy noted that Arris had spoken in favor of maintaining the town’s rights to the streets for an extended period of time.
Councilor Scott Gleeson said he was “absolutely unwilling to (let the town’s rights to the streets expire) until he had more information on what (the town) would be doing by letting them expire.”