Cheri and John Grovesteen appeared before the Mason Select Board on December 8, 2015 to respond to a written selectmen’s order that they stop building and remove part of a stone wall they were restoring on Jackson Road.
Mr. Grovesteen indicated that the stone wall wanders all over the place and he didn’t consider it a boundary for the road. Selectman Moser stated that 99% of the roads in Mason are 2 rod (32 foot) wide roads, and if a layout cannot be found the town would use the walls as a boundary.
The Grovesteen’s intent is to restore the walls for use of their original purpose. They grow their own food and intent to use the walls to pen animals. He cited Mason’s master plan about wanting a community of “scenic roads”, and that the rubble created by the town plowing was not harmonious with that (full disclosure, on this point we agree with him).
What followed was an explanation that the 12′ width Mr. Grovesteen considered the road was only the travel surface. The actual right of way (ROW) was stone wall to stone wall (rubble or not). In the absence of those, the town would measure the average width of where there were walls, and use that as the width of the ROW as measured from the middle of the travel surface.
One of the photos that Mr. Grovesteen presented to the selectmen was of a ditch with rocks “placed here and there on the other side”. “That’s not a wall” Mr. Grovesteen stated “and I intend to move them off my land”. Selectman Moser advised against further activity until the original question is settled.
Given the old walls current locations, “the town would own my well, my porch, etc”. He cited that existing stumps indicate the road was really as narrow as he claimed. “We did not narrow the road, what there was was a pile of rocks that the town plowed over”.
Mr. Grovesteen formally requested that any documents about Jackson Road be provided to him. The selectmen thought that that information might not exist, but they would respond to his request.
In the mean time, the order to remove the new construction within 10 days was held in abeyance.
Mr. Grovesteen indicated that since he has heavy equipment, for him it would not be a big deal to move the wall, it was a matter of principle.
This is not the first instance of road creep, but it just happens to be in reverse. The general issue boiled over into a warrant article in 2015 which was defeated.