While you might think most people in town have more than enough property, some push the limits and essentially take over abutting land either intentionally or not. As a result, the town has recently formed the Interboard Encroachment Committee, which has the mission of creating a uniform town-wide encroachment and enforcement policy to deal with with what can be a very sticky issue.
Ursula King, who is chairing the group, says the committee formed based on a suggestion from the town’s Trails Committee as well as increased concern by the Board of Selectmen over encroachment issues in town. The committee includes reps from various town boards and committees, including the Natural Resources Commission, Trails, the School Committee, Public Works and the Selectmen.
King says the scope of encroachment problems hasn’t been quantified but that several offices in town have raised concerns about encroachments, such as those that extend across the town’s public trails. The issue of encroachment was also raised during early discussions of the Fuller Brook Park Master Plan.
The committee is looking to categorize different levels of encroachment with the intention of putting most of its focus on egregious violations. It is investigating existing town by-laws to sync up what it is doing with what’s already on the books.
The committee plans to meet again this month and hold public hearings once things are more formalized, King says. If any by-laws regarding policies or enforcement procedures need to be changed King says she hopes the committee would have proposals ready by Town Meeting in March.
(Disclaimer: I’m on the Trails Committee)