GROTON — The original plan didn’t agree with the town’s driveway bylaw, so a compromise was proposed.
But the plans on the table didn’t reflect the compromise, so the Board of Selectmen couldn’t vote on it.
“I don’t know what we’re supposed to be voting on,” said a frustrated Selectman Stuart Schulman who had once served on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“There’s nothing we can do,” added board chairman Joshua Degen, after selectmen spent a half hour trying to understand what homeowner Sarah Hopkins wanted from them.
Hopkins was seeking a waiver to the private driveway bylaw. That statute requires all new driveways at a certain pitch to be paved and accompanied by proper drainage and catch basins, if needed, to prevent erosion in heavy rain. Such erosion often leaves a collection of sand and dirt on public roads.
Hopkins said paving the whole length of the 425-foot driveway would be too expensive.
According to Hopkins, she was forced to construct a new driveway onto Smith Street in order to divide her property into two lots. When completed, her existing unpaved driveway would be located on the empty lot and would need to be moved.
That was when she ran into the town’s private driveway bylaw.
Highway Surveyor Thomas Delaney said the reason the bylaw applies in Hopkins’ case, where siltation will collect on the street when it rains. The town will have to clean it up and dig out clogged drains.
Delaney, however, was amenable to a compromise that would require Hopkins to pave 50 percent of the new driveway.
The compromise idea came after Hopkins rejected a suggestion that the existing unpaved driveway be maintained as a shared driveway between the two lots. The owner claimed that such an arrangement would not be accepted by prospective purchasers of the empty lot.
However, Degen noted that the plans submitted to selectmen for the public hearing showed only the paved driveway. Because board members can only vote on plans before them, they could not make any decision on the compromise proposal.
Faced with an outright rejection of her application or the opportunity to return at a future date with revised plans, Hopkins asked that the hearing be continued.
No date was scheduled for the continuation.