The Morningside Cemetery and Morningside Drive are the focal point of a permitting issue that the Selectboard has been discussing all summer.Photo by Chea Waters Evans

Morningside Cemetery. Photo by Chea Waters Evans.

By Chea Waters Evans, News editor

The Selectboard Monday night buried an issue that has been on the agenda several times over the summer. After months of conversation and contention, the Morningside Cemetery Association (MCA) and their neighbors resolved their differences.

The MCA and their future neighbors, Will Bown and Megan Browning, reached an agreement with each other and the town regarding the trees that were cut prematurely on the roadway and resolved the issue of whether that small stretch is a town road or a private road and either way, who was going to maintain it.

The Selectboard essentially decided, Chair Matt Krasnow said, to keep things as they are regarding the highway access permit that Bown and Browning applied for and that was approved earlier this summer. “The Planning Commission granted that right,” he said, “and we support it through nonaction. What’s been approved has been allowed to move forward; apparently there is no objection.”

The MCA agreed to not pursue further action against Bown and Browning, and the Selectboard approved a motion to touch on four points. Board member Jim Faulkner brokered the peace deal by working closely with the association, Bown and Browning, and Road Commissioner Jr Lewis. “All parties are satisfied to the point that they want to move forward,” he said.

The first point is that the Town of Charlotte will work with civil engineer Jessica Louisos, an engineer from Milone & MacBroom who has already consulted on the project, to construct the westerly end of Morningside Drive with proper drainage and swale maintenance.

The second is that Bown and Browning will pay for the cost of any work that is done except for the cost of the culvert at entrance to cemetery. The town will cover those expenses.

The third point is that Tree Warden Mark Dillenbeck fined Bown and Browning $250 per tree for the five trees that were cut down on Morningside Drive, which is town property. Some of the money will be allocated to the cemetery association to replace the trees that were removed.

The fourth point of the agreement is that ongoing maintenance will be completed and paid for by the joint property owners.

Krasnow commended the time and effort all parties put in to finding a resolution and said, “It’s really encouraging to see this all come together.”

The matter was almost finished when meeting attendee Dave Nichols asked why the association wasn’t being fined also for clearing trees before an agreement was reached. “Why are some being fined and others not being fined?” he asked. Town Administrator Dean Bloch said he thought it was because they were technically considered brush, not trees. Krasnow offered to have Hollenbeck contact Nichols to discuss it further.