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Ancient Roads Committee

Municipalities across the State of Vermont have worked to identify and locate "Unidentified Corridors", or Ancient Roads, in their town that have been forgotten. The goal is to place these old roads on official town maps.

The Hinesburg Selectboard appointed an Ancient Roads Committee to research old town records looking for information regarding old roads that are no longer in use but were never officially discontinued in Hinesburg. State law dictates that towns retain the rights to these old roads whether they have remained in use or not.

Since many of these roads were established in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, the only evidence of their existence is often old handwritten surveys that are in the town vault. The Ancient Roads Committee has been reading through these old records and using them to map these old roads.

As a part of this research, the committee is charged with using on-the-ground observations to assess whether there is any physical evidence of where these roads were located. Once the committee has finished its records and on-the-ground research, it will present a report to the Selectboard and the Selectboard will hold public hearings to decide which, if any, of these roads the town wants to retain the rights to.

To learn more about this process in Hinesburg, or to become involved, contact the Town Administrator's office at 482-2096.


Ancient Roads Timeline

Spring 2006 Legislature passes Act 178, commonly known as the Ancient Roads Statute.
Summer 2006 Members of Hinesburg Trails Committee begin discussions regarding ancient roads.
Fall 2006 Trails Committee members attend training presented by VLCT regarding Ancient Roads Statute; application completed and submitted to fund research on Hinesburg’s ancient roads.
Winter 2006-07 Grant awarded to Hinesburg; Ancient Roads Committee (HARC) appointed by Selectboard.
Spring 2007 Eight hour training on “Researching Ancient Roads” provided to the committee by Paul Hannan, surveyor.
Spring 2007-
Fall 2009
HARC conducts research, primarily researching records in the town vault but also including on-the-ground exploration for selected roads (with prior notification sent to landowners as required by statute).
Spring 2008 Legislature extends deadline by one year to February 10, 2010.
September 2009 HARC presents results of it’s research to a meeting with members of the Trails Committee, Conservation Commission, and Planning Commission for input regarding desirability of available roads.
November 2009 HARC presents results of research to Selectboard.
November 2009-
January 2010
Selectboard decides whether it wants to include any or all of the available roads on our Highway map submitted to the state in February. A public hearing, with written notice sent to all landowners that these roads traverse or abut, must be held prior to any decision to either include these roads on the map as class 4 roads or to discontinue any of these roads.
February 10, 2010 The finish line! All class 4 roads and “legal trails” must be included on highway map submitted to the State.
February 10, 2015 Deadline for reclassifying “unidentified corridors”, otherwise they are automatically discontinued as of July 1, 2015.
 

Selectboard Options

  1. Adding some or all of these roads to the town highway map as class 4 roads submitted to the State by February 10, 2010. Doing so requires that a publicly warned meeting be held with written notification sent to all landowners that these roads traverse or abut.
  2. Discontinue some of these roads which requires the above noted public hearing.
  3. Doing nothing in terms of adding any of these roads to our highway map in which case they become “unidentified corridors” until July 1, 2015 when they are automatically discontinued unless the town takes action to reclassify them prior to that date. Reclassification would likely require having to pay “damages” to landowners.
  4. Mass discontinuance of all ancient roads. This means that you would be discontinuing any roads that are not on our town highway map submitted annually to the State. This would require the above noted official public hearing.
 

Committee Members

Elizabeth Lee, Chair 482-6312 lizl@gmavt.net
George Bedard
Ann Brush
Suzanne Richard
Howard Russell
Ann Thomas
Don Wheater






 

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Hinesburg, Vermont – Chartered June 24, 1762

 

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