standing letters

An open letter to the Westerly Town Council:

I have continuously appeared before you since February 2019 to request a solution for the dangerous potholes that exist on Yosemite Valley Road and to drive on the road itself.

Despite my latest Oct. 21, 2019, email request for an immediate response to address the deplorable condition of Yosemite Valley Road, I heard only from Councilor Cooke.

Councilor Cooke’s response, though kind, failed to acknowledge the fact that the town manager has NO AUTHORITY to take it upon himself to declare that the town would no longer maintain those apparent private roads.

Hasn’t this council learned anything from the previous town manager’s behavior?

I am sure there are others, but I cite again three Rhode Island state laws regarding this matter.

Section 24-2-1. Creation of public highways by use. All lands which have been or shall be quietly, peaceably, and actually used and improved and considered public highways for the space of twenty (20) years, and which shall be declared by the town council of the town wherein they lie to be public highways, shall be taken and considered as public highways to all intents and purposes as fully and effectually as if the lands had been regularly laid, recorded and opened by the town council of the town where the lands may lie.

Section 24-2-5. Platting of highways previously declared. In case any lands have previously been declared public highways under Section 24-2-1, and no such plat was made and recorded as provided in Section 24-2-4, the town council may cause the lands, appropriated by such declaration as a public highway, to be marked out, platted, and recorded as provided in Section 24-2-4 in which case they shall give notice and their proceedings shall be subject to the appeal provided in Section 24-2-3.

Section 24-5-1. Duty of town to maintain highways. (a) All highways ... lying and being within the bounds of any town, shall be kept in repair and amended, from time to time, so that the highways ... may be safe and convenient for travelers ... at all seasons of the year, at the proper charge and expense of the town.... (b) In addition, the surfaces of all highways...shall be maintained in such a state of repair as to make them safe for bicycles.

I have already given the town manager a copy of the deed and plan for 200 feet of Yosemite Valley Road that the town has owned since 1994.

More to the point, I have not been given the courtesy of an immediate, nevermind a proper, response from the council acknowledging its obligation to resolve this matter.

I expect this matter to be given me and Yosemite Valley Road the attention both demand. God help us, should the storm that is expected on Friday drop inches of snow on Yosemite Valley Road, making it truly impassable.

Hatsy H. Moore


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