Council Postpones Vote on Releasing ‘Paper Street’

The Town Council has voted to delay a vote on the release of a “paper street,” in order that abutters have a chance to weigh in.
The Council considered a request to release a portion of Schurman Drive, a 42-foot right-of-way, in accordance with RSA 231:52. The request was made by David and Rebecca Zbieg of 17 Schurman Drive, who want to use their share of the property to build a garage.

Derry Highway Director Alan Cote spoke to the motion at the Dec. 17 Town Council meeting.
The property is between 17 Schurman Drive, Parcel ID 38023, and 15 Schurman Drive, Parcel ID 38024, currently owned by Jonathan and Melissa Turcotte.
Cote explained that the release of public servitude is the mechanism by which the town discharges a dedicated way from public use. The right-of-way in question was dedicated in 1964 as part of Colonial Estates, but was never developed, he said.
The area for release is 210 by 42 feet, Cote told the Council and television audience.
Cote said the Highway Safety Committee and all department heads have reviewed the request and passed it on to Larry Budreau, the Acting Town Administrator. Cote said the only condition by the town is that it be granted a 20-foot easement in order to reach a buried drainpipe.
All legal costs will be borne by the abutters, Cote said.
Granting the release and granting the land to the Zbiegs would keep them from having to obtain a variance to build a garage, which would require setback adjustments, he said.
Councilor Tom Cardon clarified, “So the land will be split down the middle. There’s no money paid to the town?”
Cote responded, “We don’t own the right-of-way. All that’s happening is that we’re extinguishing public interest.”
Several Councilors noted they would be more comfortable with a written approval from the Turcottes, and Councilor Mark Osborne suggested they postpone a vote on the release until the Jan. 7 meeting. “It’s a small sacrifice – I’d rather be cautious,” he said.
The Council voted 6-0 to vote on the motion on Jan. 7.