There are four criteria the town is looking at that would qualify a road for that emergency lane designation:
- Are there school bus routes that need to be kept clear
- Emergency services- is the road accessible from two ends. Some private roads are narrow and emergency vehicles could clog the road.
- Access to water
- Dead end roads where there is overall benefit to protect residential and taxable property
The list will be complete by the end of next week, and notices will be sent to to every one on those roads for a scheduled public hearing to be held in late July or early August.
The town is also planning to meet with the leadership of all the associations in town to be sure every one understands the process and is on the same page.
Per the NH Municipal Association, "A Class VI or private road may be declared an emergency lane by the governing body under RSA 231:59-a. An emergency lane declaration may only be made after a public hearing if the governing body finds that “the public need for keeping such lane passable by emergency vehicles is supported by an identified public welfare or safety interest which surpasses or differs from any private benefits to landowners abutting such lane." RSA 231:59-a, II. In other words, an emergency lane declaration should be made only when it is in the interest of the public—not just for the benefit of the abutters. If a road is declared an emergency lane, municipal funds may be spent to plow, remove brush, repair washouts or culverts, or do other work “deemed necessary to render such way passable by firefighting equipment and rescue or other emergency vehicles." RSA 231:59-a, I. The municipality then has the authority, but not the obligation, to maintain the road in that manner. An emergency lane declaration may be withdrawn or disregarded at any time by the governing body, and no one may recover damages from the municipality for failure to maintain an emergency lane. RSA 231:59-a, IV."