Stitt Road neighbors are celebrating the long-awaited conveyance of a private road to the Town of Guilderland. At a recent Town Board meeting, some residents even gave hugs to landowner Timothy Larned.
The Guilderland Town Board proceed with plans on Tuesday, Oct. 15, to acquire Stitt Road through eminent domain after Fred Wagner, owner of Helderberg Excavating & Trucking, Inc., requested additional time to finalize a land purchase at the board’s Sept. 17 meeting. The proposed easement was not negotiated, however.
Wagner at the previous meeting said he was looking to purchase a right of way to access his landlocked property. He feared Stitt Road might not meet standards for heavier vehicles and equipment.
Fewer than a dozen homes are along the secluded roadway owned by William M. Larned & Sons, Inc., which decades ago was used to access several quarries.
Larned’s special use permit required him to convey the roadway over to the town, but approximately 1,400 feet of the road was located off of his property. Two property owners along the right-of-way refused to hand over deeds to the land, which required the town to pursue eminent domain proceedings.
“We have exhausted all possible avenues of negotiating the realignment of Stitt Road and bringing it up to town specifications short of bringing the eminent domain proceedings,” Town Supervisor Ken Runion said. “As we have seen, Stitt Road is deteriorating very quickly and if something isn’t done soon, we are going to have school buses that are not going to go up and down Stitt Road that could jeopardize safety of some of the children.”
The Guilderland Central School District agreed to continue picking up students living on the private road since the town was proceeding with plans to take over the roadway, according to Runion. The district recently declined to pick up students along Stitt Road because the road was not owned and maintained by the town.
Wagner could still negotiate purchasing the right-of-way from landowners despite resident objections, because it is a private land purchase. The town could regulate how the land is used in that scenario.
Larned also read a letter five neighborhood homeowners sent him opposing Wagner’s initial proposal.
“In spite of their claims that only light traffic would be using that proposed new easement,” the letter read, “we feel that it is inevitable that large gravel haulers and heavy excavation equipment would be using that route, in view of the presence of unexploited valuable gravel deposits in the immediate vicinity.”
Runion said Wagner has since expressed to him a different option of upgrading an “old haul road” to access his property and exit onto Osborn Road.
Steve Wilson, a longtime Stitt Road resident, said it has been a long process and he was “ecstatic” to see the end nearing. Neighborhood residents also thanked Larned after the meeting for sticking around during the process and making repairs when needed.
Stitt Road resident David Hubbard, like many others, said he didn’t expect the process to take more than 30 years.
“This has been going on for too many years,” Runion said.