Bernie Pepin, Road Foreman
5063 VT Route 105
West Charleston, VT 05872
HIGHWAY RIGHT-OF-WAY (ROW) POLICIES
The Town’s ROW. Vermont law gives towns a legal maintenance right-of-way (ROW) on all Town highways, which extends 24.75 feet in either direction from the center of the road. Within the ROW, the Town has the authority to perform maintenance like ditching, cutting trees, and altering the roadbed as needed. State law also specifies that items are placed in the ROW at the owner’s risk, and the Town assumes no responsibility for damage to these items—this includes mailboxes.
The Town is obligated to maintain road drainage networks—road crown, ditches, and culverts—according to new state standards. Proper drainage means fewer washouts, fewer costly repairs over time, and less road pollution and sediment in our waterways. The Selectboard has adopted the following policies to make sure the Town highway department can perform needed maintenance.
Driveway Culvert Policy: It is the responsibility of a property owner to buy, install, and maintain driveway culverts. For ANY driveway entering a town highway, property owners must consult with the Road Foreman, who will determine the required culvert specifications (never smaller than 15 inches in diameter per state standards). If a property owner fails to install the appropriately sized culvert, the town highway crew may cut a ditch across the driveway to maintain proper road drainage. (adopted June 11, 2015)
ROW Fencing Policy: Fencing in the Town ROW is installed at the owner’s risk. Fencing installed in the ROW, or which blocks access to the ROW, must be removed upon request of the Road Foreman for maintenance and construction projects. In such cases, the Road Foreman will notify the property owner of the deadline to remove fencing. If fencing is not removed, it will be removed by the highway crew or contractor, and the Town is not responsible for damage incurred. Owners are responsible for reinstalling fencing and must install it outside of the ROW. The Town cannot take responsibility for damage caused by necessary snow-plowing, so it is strongly recommended that fences be taken down before winter. (adopted 12/14/2017)
Policy on Utilities in the ROW: Any cable or utilities installed under the road or within the Town’s highway ROW must be buried at a minimum depth of four feet below the level of the road or ditch to allow the highway crew to perform routine ditching and culvert replacement without interrupting residents’ services. Keep in mind that ‘Dig Safe’ does not detect low voltage cables, like telephone and television cables. (adopted 12/14/2017)
No Plowing of Snow Across Highways. State law prohibits plowing, blowing or shoveling of snow across or onto a Town or state highway. It also gives Towns authority to levy fines and penalties, and to hold violators liable for damage to property, vehicles, and any undue cost to the Town for removal of this snow. By law, the actual cost for the specific equipment and manpower used to remove this snow may be charged to the private property owners, with a minimum charge of one hour per Road Department personnel and equipment.