Shelburne, VT: Resolution of rights-of-way over crossings likely to be resolved

16 Nov

Private crossings to give access to farmland can become a bigger issue when residential property development takes place without addressing issues posed by level crossings over which home-owners have no rights to cross the railway. This scenario has posed difficulties for more than 30 home-owners whose property in Shelburne is officially rail-locked. Indeed, in some cases residents have faced considerable difficulties in securing mortgages and other financing.

Now, an agreement to change the status of the level crossing from private to public is in prospect for homes to the west of the level crossings on Champlain Drive and Pine Haven Shores Road. This is because the Selectmen (councillors) have approved adoption of the road and the intent to change the status of the crossings at a one-off cost to the residents who will share the costs of changing the status of the level crossings of the Vermont Railway right-of-way. A key part of the agreement is that the residents will agree that they and their successors will never petition for the status of the adopted road being raised from the lowest level as a class four highway.

The overarching lesson from this case study is the need for railway companies to be vigilant so that issues related to private level crossings are addressed before development takes place rather than many years later.

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