NORTH STONINGTON — The town is preparing to turn over ownership of a bridle trail to the new homeowners association of the Chester Main Estates subdivision. Voters approved the transfer of the Chester Main Bridle Trail at a referendum in October.
“The town decided that this trail ultimately should have been managed by the association and not the town,” said First Selectman Mike Urgo, who recently toured the path. “We look forward to finishing up the process in the next few weeks.”
Key in the process was the formation of a homeowners association, which was the missing factor that led to the town’s ownership of the property. The trail was conveyed to the town in 2008 by Dwight Kettlehut, who owned property in the subdivision, which was developed in 1994-95. The 30-foot-wide trail winds behind 31 properties in the subdivision.
In 2016, Jonathan Edwards, whose winery is in Chester Main Estates, learned that the town planned to open the bridle path to the public as a multiuse trail. Edward, who had purchased nine parcels in about 2001, produced documentation of a covenant showing that use of the bridle trail usage was restricted to abutting landowners. He said residents of the subdivision had the right to vote on any changes to the covenant.
In the original plan, a homeowners association was supposed to own the path privately, but it was never formed, and the covenant had been overlooked when three parcels were conveyed to the town in 2008.
A title search in 2008 showed that the path was owned by Development Associates, a group headed by the Kettlehut family.
Before the property was conveyed to the town, the Board of Selectmen took it to a special town meeting in April 2009, where residents voted to accept the trail as town land. But no covenant was mentioned at the time.