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Possible Wetlands Violation Halts Work on Garder Road

The dirt road has been deemed unsafe by the bus company, according to First Selectman Steve Vavrek.

A blue sign cautions drivers about a bump on Garder Road, a narrow dirt roadway running from Fan Hill Road to Pepper Street. The school bus company deemed the street a safety issue, according to First Selectman Steve Vavrek.

The Highway Department embarked on a project this summer to strengthen the road's foundation in preparation for paving the section from Pepper Street to Applegate Lane. But Vavrek halted the work after receiving complaints about alleged wetlands violations.

"I couldn't, as first selectman, let the work continue if there was a chance of a wetlands violation," Vavrek said during an interview in his office Wednesday.

When asked about the situation at the Town Council meeting on Monday, the first selectman said the town must follow its own regulations just as residents and businesses do.

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"I want the public to know that we're doing our best to follow our own regulations as written," Vavrek said.

He noted how the Planning & Zoning Commission is currently redoing the town's regulations, bringing them up to date and ensuring that they comply with state statutes. The public can share its input on that during a public hearing at Masuk High School Thursday night at 7.

Members of the Inland Wetlands Commission will walk the site on Garder Road to check on allegations that town crews have filled in wetlands. Then the issue will come before the commission at a hearing.

Vavrek has also heard concerns over whether alterations to Garder Road would comply with the Scenic Road Ordinance. The road cuts through a heavily wooded area. After Inland Wetlands handles the possible wetlands violation, Vavrek said the Planning & Zoning Commission will determine if there are any issues with the ordinance.

No matter what the outcome, the first selectman is determined to upgrade the street.

"It's no longer a 14-foot horse path," Vavrek said. "There is industrial development on both sides of Garder Road. Whether it's scenic or not, trucks are going through."

While Vavrek says he wants to get the work on Garder Road done the right way, one resident attending the Town Council meeting reminded him that the clock is ticking down on the paving season.

"It's a safety issue until it gets paved," said Steve Kirsch, who told the council that Vavrek had assured him that the work could move forward before delaying the project. "It needs to be done quickly as opposed to having several meetings. As a citizen who drives that road every day, I'm disappointed in how the government fails to work together."

Gerald M. Gaynor September 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Whatever improvements P&Z doesn't manage to slow down or stop we can count on the Wetlands Commission to follow through on...
jim laguardia September 27, 2012 at 10:36 AM
So let's protect some ducks, and skunk cabbage, and not worry about the human kids who ride on the bus????
Mitchell September 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Hmmmmm. The buses have been using Garder Road for 50+ years and NOW there is a problem? Something smells fishy.
Tanga September 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Honestly, what's so "scenic" about this road? Is it the lovely landfill located on it? No matter how many times I drive on that road, just don't see it...
Alex September 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Can't the bus just take Jockey Hollow instead? It's a little longer, but we're talking an extra mile at most.
jim laguardia September 27, 2012 at 01:05 PM
The new bus company seems more concerned about safety then in the past. It is either that or they are really land developers that plan on putting a country club resort and high priced homes on Garder road.... Yes you are right it is fishy, that seems more likely
D. Sickles September 27, 2012 at 01:59 PM
A member of the P&Z lives on that road and wanted it declared a scenic road so no other housing could be built there.
Scott September 27, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I live on Garder Road by Applegate and am tired of having my front end put out of line due to all the potholes that the town would just halfassed fill in. Just pave the damn road!!!!
Twisted Pumpkin September 27, 2012 at 03:37 PM
It was explained to me that a developer wanted to build condo's on that road. The Planning & Zoning had it declared a scenic road to prevent those condo's from being developed.
Steve Kirsch September 27, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Garder Rd was declared a scenic road in different sections over time. This section under re-construction here is not directly in front of where the proposed development would be. that developement would be located further up Garder Rd passed Applegate Lane. There are 5 homes on this section of road and the rest is wet lands.
Donna Gail September 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Yes, the P&Z member had to have it declared a scenic road - which seems laughable to me - and now it can't be repaired for everyone's safety and to prevent further vehicle damage - great job!
Christine E. September 27, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Not for anything, but did you not realize the road was unpaved when you bought your home? I mean...were you told it was eventually going to get paved, or were you just expecting it to happen?
Jethro September 27, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Just another example of brilliance exhibited by the P&Z. No wonder their inept decisions have resulted in a record number of lawsuits totaling close to $800,000. Throw them all out!!
D. Sickles September 27, 2012 at 06:27 PM
OK I get it that this is a republican town. And republicans will win every election no matter what. I get that. But could the leadership of the republican party in Monroe PLEASE nominate people who have a clue as to what they are doing. It is clear that the people on this commission have no clue and are hurting the town. Please find better candidates. The not so hidden agenda's and incompetence is embarrassing.
Scott September 27, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Christine E nice smart ass comment!! Of course i knew it wasnt paved but it was dirt like the other half of Garder road, not the combo dirt asphalt that it is now with all the potholes being filled in with patch
Christine E. September 27, 2012 at 09:36 PM
It was a legitimate inquiry. Garder Rd has never been paved. If paving was of concern to you, then perhaps you should have purchased a home on a road that was paved. This town can barely keep up with roads that are already paved - and you expect the town to shell out funds to pave Garder Rd? If they pave Garder, they should also pave all of the other dirt roads in town.
Christine E. September 27, 2012 at 09:36 PM
and quit swearing.
blackie September 27, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Tanga, agreed! Scenic it is not. But it is a mess. I won't drive on that road, I go all the way around. The rippled heaves are murder on my car!
Steve Kirsch September 28, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Just to be clear, the section of Garder Road from Pepper St to Applegate Lane was paved using multiple levels of a chip-seal process around 1995. It received one or two additional layers of chip seal up until around 2000, after which nothing was done to maintain the surface (just like most roads in town).
Chief Waldo September 28, 2012 at 11:45 PM
How is Garder Road a safety issue to this new bus company, but wasn't with previous companies? I think they're just trying to get out of spending any extra money washing the few buses that drive on it.
jim laguardia September 29, 2012 at 01:12 AM
You mean the fleet of all brand new busses they have?? They are cheap they don't want to wash them??
Alex September 29, 2012 at 02:06 AM
They dug up some of the road a few months back and that makes a part of it pretty rough. I'm guessing that's the problem they have with the road.

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