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AYER — Citing incomplete information and potential legal issues, the Planning Board has deferred action on the so-called Kohler Place subdivision off Wright Road until July.

The decision followed the recommendation of Planning and Development Director Christopher Ryan.

At issue is whether the four-unit subdivision has sufficient road access and frontage, said Ryan. The questions dovetail into an ongoing dispute over an easement between the developer, Sandy Pond Investment Trust, and a neighboring property owner, Tom Cowley.

Ryan advised that more time be taken to clarify the town’s position vis-à-vis those issues.

“I am confident when we meet in July we will have all of this resolved,” he said.

Central to the dispute is whether the developer can establish a road to the subdivision that crosses Cowley’s property. While there’s an easement in place, Cowley said it doesn’t allow for establishing a road there.

Though nobody from the trust was present June 7, its representatives expressed the opposite opinion at the board’s May meeting. They also indicated that resolving the question isn’t the board’s concern. They asked the plan be reviewed on its merits and the potential legal issue be handled separately.

Cowley advised against that.

“If you approve their plan, I can take you to court,” he told the board.

“We were in negotiations with the developer,” he said at another point. “We didn’t like their offer so they decided to pursue other avenues. We’re prepared to litigate.”

Even so, Ryan advised the board listen to the applicant’s case and go from there.

“My feeling is we hear their argument and then send that to town counsel,” he said.

The board then voted to resume the matter at its July meeting. – Nathan Lamb

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