• Change needed ?in land law
    September 20,2013

    In the wonderful city of Barre, there are situations that arise that can prove problematic for residents who may not know exactly how the city runs. We live adjacent to some city property, an undeveloped road. It is grassy, lined with old cedars, and enhances the aesthetics of the neighborhood. It was un-maintained when we purchased the home, and we were told by our agent that the owners of our home had historically maintained the grassy area.

    This spring, we were shocked to receive a lawyer’s letter, from our neighbors of five years, detailing their purchase of a special city license to use the land, and specifics of what we could and could not do now that they owned the license to the land that we had long maintained. We were further surprised that this city license can be granted without any written notice or consideration for abutting neighbors.

    We attended city council to express our concerns, and to see if we could change anything. We were given the explanation that there is not a requirement for notification beyond the posting at city hall, and in the newspaper. The situation has been tense, escalating to the level where the city officials and even police have been involved. I would like to see a change, on the books, of the process of granting licenses to use city land.

    Neighbors have a right to know what is happening near them, and have an opportunity to express concerns that may prevent future harassment and anxiety. A written abutter’s notice might have prevented the challenges we have been facing and seems like a reasonable and wise policy in a growing city like Barre.

    April Jolley


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